Encouraging Multi-Age Interactions Through Leadership Program
Inspired by the older children’s eagerness to spend time with their younger cohorts, the team at Guardian Childcare & Education Marsfield have launched a leadership program.
As the Centre features a spacious open-plan interior, it was easy for Educational Leader, Bitu, and the team to organise the leadership program for the children.
“As we have a lot of siblings in our Centre, we noticed how much the preschool children were enjoying spending time with the younger ones during family grouping,” shares Bitu.
“Related or not, we found many of the older children keen to engage and play with the younger children, and decided to put some structure around their interactions so we could extend on their interest in each other.”
“After observing the nurturing and caring behaviour of the preschool children, we thought a leadership/buddy program would be the best format to encourage their interests, empathy and friendships.”
The program itself is quite fluid and is based on the interests of the children and activities they find mutually enjoyable and interesting.
During dedicated buddy groupings, the preschool children connect with the younger children to sing, read books, play games and assist with feeding.
“Through the leadership program the children had the opportunity to practise the important values of respect, care, valuing difference, responsibility and friendship,” says Bitu.
“We have also been exploring appropriate behaviours around young children, such as gentleness or patience, and how we can take care of our younger friends.”
“So far, we’ve witnessed some really beautiful interactions between the children, and are happy to see that one of our main goals for the program, for the younger children to feel safe and cared for and the older children to feel valued and respected, is being achieved.”
Although the leadership program is still in its early stages, it has explored several learning outcomes:
- Children develop knowledgeable and confident self-identities.
- Children learn to interact in relation to others with care, empathy and respect.
The team has received positive feedback from both the children and their families, who are excited to see that the preschool children are spending quality time with their siblings and younger peers at the Centre too.
Bitu and the team plan to continue building on the leadership program in the coming months, and look forward to organising an outing to their local park with the leaders and their younger buddies.
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