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Staying in touch in times of COVID-19

In the last few months at Kinder, with the support of the Committee of Management, staff have put in place many safeguards at Yarra Warra Pre-school, as directed by the guidelines from the Victorian Education Department. This was collaboratively achieved via zoom meetings and with constant communication between staff, each other, and the CoM. The staff are extremely grateful for the support of the committee during these new arrangements.

Our online learning has incorporated an increased effort to provide our families who were using self-isolation to safeguard our community and support their learning between preschool and home. This included helping our parents extend on with the learning the children had undertaken in Term 1 in understanding the zones of regulation to help them to learn and interact with others and helping where necessary with correct pencil and scissor grip. We encouraged families to set up a learning area in their home for their Kinder child and then as staff we would email out the work each week to complete. Children were also encouraged to send in their show and tell each week via video to share with each other.

The learning sent out was the curriculum usually used at our pre-school at this stage of the year. In bush kinder the children also study Australian animals. This learning so far has included, the emu, the dingo, kangaroo, dingo, crocodile, and the wombat. Our families have interacted with us by sending support learning apps to each other, sending in the children’s work to the staff, and keeping us in the loop of how it was all going for them as a family.

Other online learning included making surprise gifts for our Yarra Warra Mums. Our dilemma was how to transport a Mother’s Day package for remote learning to each family. We asked parents if they were driving past to pick up the surprise for the ‘Mum package’ for the children to make at home. Some families received their package via post, but the majority were driven from Kinder family home to home by staff. Connie driving, Kym directing and Carla running up and down driveways!!! We learnt early on that Kinder was our bubble, just like our own homes (no 1.5-meter distancing possible in our kinder office or environment, especially in a car.) We also learnt that Carla could run very fast when dogs were involved, and that Kym was a Google maps sleuth!

Our Yarra Warra Kinder Kids a b c book was also introduced during this time. This a b c book is all about the 2020 Yarra Warra Kinder Kids. The beginning letter of each child’s name represents the letter being learnt. This is a fun way with the children to learn about letters and each other in a literacy rich play-based meaningful way. For example, our letter this week is the letter D d…and the story is ‘Delnaz is driving’ which is illustrated with a photo of Delnaz’s face while she is driving a car. Delnaz’s role as Kinder Kid of the week involves leadership roles around the kinder (and home) and we think of other words that sound like D…dingo, dirt etc. This is done through free play and fun ways to look at words and sounds. Each child is recognised and celebrates their sense of agency and specialness as we incorporate more formal learning into our play-based curriculum.

On Tuesday we saw many more children return to kinder and it was so lovely to see their beautiful faces. They were so happy to be back and spoke of all the things they loved doing at Kinder. Huge thanks to our families for being so supportive of the changes in drop off and the entry and exiting points and for helping keep us all safe. We are amazed at how resilient and secure our kinder ‘people’ are.


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