Guardian Childcare & Education

Water, Rainbows, Wind and More: Guardian McKinnon Reflects on Summer Rain Program

4th February 2020

Guardian Mckinnon children exploring wind during Summer Rain program

Throughout December and January, the children and team at Guardian Childcare & Education McKinnon participated in Guardian’s Summer Rain program, a five-week long exploration of all things water, rainbows, shadows, wind and rain.

Here, Educational Leader, Rosanna, reflects on the Summer Rain experience and what the children enjoyed most about each week’s focus.

The opportunity to participate in Summer Rain has been incredibly rewarding for both the Educators and children. 

The program and experiences were organised and hosted by a local artist, Heidi, who went above and beyond for the children, making it a magical five weeks.

Heidi’s choices of equipment and resources to support her program were inspiring. She explored each concept in new and novel ways and kept the children engaged with her entertaining and zippy style, jumping from one experience to another within a session. 

The children enjoyed trying resources and equipment they’d never used, such as an immense water jar, wind tunnel and light projector. 

Week 1 – Water

The focus this week was on water and water colours. The children enjoyed watching the ink drops swirling within the large jar of water that Heidi set up. The babies, in particular, were quite fascinated and pressed their mouths against the jar trying to see better. There was a discussion of colour but the main interest was the visual excitement that this experience provided. 

We did attempt to re-enact this experience back in the room later in the week, but struggled to find the right container to use for the experience. Instead, we collected toys and other resources to float or sink in a tub of water as an extension, adding water colours when appropriate for the children to explore.

Week 2 – Rainbow

children exploring colour and rainbow through song

We had previously explored rainbows with children but Heidi’s ideas and experiences offered a very different interpretation on the concept. Heidi asked the children what a colour sounds like, which led to a number of interesting and exciting responses. 

Some of the responses we documented, from the older children, included: red being associated with love and anger, black being associated with squid and coral, and blue representing the sky and water.

Heidi then used xylophones to ask children what colour the note sounded like. This was quite a difficult concept but the openness of it ensured that there was never a wrong answer, which I particularly appreciated.

The water colour exploration on recycled cardboard and later on newspaper was an enjoyable experience for the children, as many had never seen a newspaper before. 

Week 3 – Shadows

child sitting in front of projector to get his shadow traced during Summer Rain program

Without a doubt this was one of the children’s favourite experiences. By setting up in a dedicated space, it offered the children the opportunity to build up anticipation and experience something new.

The younger children explored shadows outdoors using the sun and their own and peers shadows as inspiration, whereas the older children experimented with a projector and tracing their shadows on walls. 

One of the children who was having her shadow traced had great difficulty sitting still, as all she wanted to do was watch the tracing being completed. There was a lot of that going around, pure giddy excitement and joy while participating.

Week 4 – Wind

toddlers testing if cotton wool can fly in wind tunnel during Summer Rain program

The children were encouraged to explore the concept of flight and the wind’s relationship to these objects. The older children created their own crazy flying creatures using recycled resources, which were later put to the test in a wind tunnel to see if they could fly. 

The younger children used cotton fluff in the wind tunnel to watch it soar and to see if they could catch it. The toddlers particularly enjoyed this experience and they have been exploring what other objects float in the air. 

Week 5 – Rain

children exploring rain and rainforests at Summer Rain program

This was a lovely session all about rain and rainforests. The children used musical instruments such as shakers and rain sticks to explore the noise that raindrops make. 

Heidi also used spray bottles filled with water to simulate rain drops falling on the children, and bubbles to represent how clouds float.

The older children then discussed rainforests and their relationship to rain and the current bushfire disaster. They created their own rainforest trees using recycled resources, which were later decorated using water colours and paint. 

In the Toddler room, the children read Little Cloud by Eric Carle, discussed floating in the wind, made sticky rain clouds using various types of cotton wool, and a group rain collage using lovely textured papers.

We hope to continue to extend the concepts explored during the Summer Rain program over the coming weeks.

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