Guardian Early Learning – Caulfield North is a wonderful childcare centre in Melbourne offering high quality programs for children from six weeks to six years old. Among these are some exciting projects that the children have been working on in recent months. These include harvesting vegetables in the toddler room, watching eggs hatch and caring for chicks in the kinder room and eating up a (healthy) storm with the centre’s onsite chef. It’s been a fun-filled few months at the centre!
Hatching program in the Kinder Room
The centre’s kinder children were showing an interest in pets and living things, so the educators hatched an idea to bring in a hatching program into the centre. Brooke says, “While the program is in our kinder room, other rooms have the opportunity to visit the chickens and spend time cuddling and watching them grow.”
There was a lot of excitement when the eggs arrived at the centre. Eggs take 21 days to hatch, so the children made a calendar to count down to the expected hatch date. Through counting the days, children were immersed in numeracy learnings that involved counting (backwards!) and writing the relevant number in the sign.
Once the eggs hatch they have the chicks for two weeks. During this time the children made a house for the chicks to live in using a large cardboard box and gave each of them names. According to Brooke, “This program gives children an opportunity to take ownership and responsibility in caring for living animals.”
They feed and water the chicks to help them grow and practice holding them gently so as not to hurt them. They use their words to discuss what a chicken and a hen is and discuss the colours of the chicks, how they feel and engage in multi-age experiences when they explain the “rules” to the younger children at the centre.
It’s all about good nutrition!
Good nutrition is important for growing, active bodies and the Food Culture Program at Guardian Caulfield North helps children to develop a love and appreciation of healthy eating.
Nimmi, the centre’s much-loved cook leaves the kitchen and goes down to each room on a regular day each week to work with the children on food culture. During these visits Nimmi holds cooking experiences with the children where they make delicious baked good for the whole centre to enjoy, discuss healthy eating and where food comes from and harvest herbs and veggies to use in the centre’s meals.
The children enjoy their time with Nimmi and love exploring the different textures, colours and shapes of the ingredients they work with. By keeping conversations light and open about nutrition and giving children a relaxed and supportive environment in which to try new things, children are given a fantastic opportunity to develop a love of good nutrition.
Guardian Caulfield North has wonderful outdoor spaces perfect for gardening and harvesting a range of plants – including many edible ones! Centre Manager Brooke Garwood says children take on the responsibility of taking care of the plants and vegetable gardens both indoors and outdoors.
Working with the educators, children pot, water and harvest the plants. This experience helps children to understand where some of our food comes from, learn about sustainability and to take care of the natural world around us. Plus, children get to harvest some delicious, fresh produce to eat at the centre!
“Our chef Nimmi spends time in each room having discussions about the importance of growing our own vegetables and herbs,” comments Brooke.
To extend on sustainability learnings at the centre Brooke says, “Any leftover water from their cups that they don’t finish is recycled back into watering the plants.”
In April, the toddlers at the centre embarked on a planting project of their own. Working with Nimmi as well as Taylah, a Toddler Room educator, children began planting herbs and vegetables for Nimmi to use. Children made holes in the soil with their fingers, carefully placed the seeds in the soil, patted down and watered them to help them grow and, as a result, were developing their fine motor skills and listening skills in the process!
Learn more about Guardian Early Learning – Caulfield North
To find out more about the centre’s fun-filled projects and to explore the centre for yourself, we invite you to book a tour here.