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Adapting to Change

Our youngest Grammarians come to Melbourne Girls Grammar curious about the world, and eager to make connections.

In the Barbara Tolson Early Learning Centre (ELC), our 3 and 4 Year Olds develop skills for life, while teaching the rest of us a thing or two about staying inquisitive and being open to new things. Alongside their educators, the students from the ELC have embraced new technologies and remote connections with zeal.

As Loris Malaguzzi, best known for his role in the creation of the Reggio Emilia approach, once said; “The wider the range of possibilities we offer children, the more intense will be their motivations and the richer their experiences.” And what a rich experience it has been with the changes in delivering play based learning remotely due to COVID-19.

For all educators there was a learning curve to move to remote learning at the end of Term 1. Some might say a harder curve than others at the ELC as educators had to figure out how to teach play based learning, remotely. Utilising the , educators could set tasks for students via video that continued the students’ inquiry projects. Our young learners explored ecosystems and their interest into Australian animals.

Into the Unknown

Before the continuation of their inquiry at home could begin, we needed to explain what was about to happen to ensure that our youngest Grammarians felt safe, calm, informed and heard. Learning how they could contribute included lessons on hygiene, and how to keep our germs to ourselves. A crowd favourite in the Mitchell Room, to help make sense of the changing needs, was the ‘Germ Song’.

Germs are lurking all around,
In the air and on the ground,
You’re the one they like to meet,
So wash your hands before you eat!
The Germ Song

The power of music to break down topics into easy to understand catchy tunes is a tried and tested method that works. The focus on self awareness extended to cleaning up after ourselves, packing our own bags and caring for others, as well as the obvious hand washing. These self help skills are so important to reinforce both in the classroom and at home to ensure that developmental learning continues.

Into the Unknown

Before the continuation of their inquiry at home could begin, we needed to explain what was about to happen to ensure that our youngest Grammarians felt safe, calm, informed and heard. Learning how they could contribute included lessons on hygiene, and how to keep our germs to ourselves. A crowd favourite in the Mitchell Room, to help make sense of the changing needs, was the ‘Germ Song’.

Germs are lurking all around,
In the air and on the ground,
You’re the one they like to meet,
So wash your hands before you eat!
The Germ Song

The power of music to break down topics into easy to understand catchy tunes is a tried and tested method that works. The focus on self awareness extended to cleaning up after ourselves, packing our own bags and caring for others, as well as the obvious hand washing. These self help skills are so important to reinforce both in the classroom and at home to ensure that developmental learning continues.

Into the Unknown

Before the continuation of their inquiry at home could begin, we needed to explain what was about to happen to ensure that our youngest Grammarians felt safe, calm, informed and heard. Learning how they could contribute included lessons on hygiene, and how to keep our germs to ourselves. A crowd favourite in the Mitchell Room, to help make sense of the changing needs, was the ‘Germ Song’.

Germs are lurking all around,
In the air and on the ground,
You’re the one they like to meet,
So wash your hands before you eat!
The Germ Song

The power of music to break down topics into easy to understand catchy tunes is a tried and tested method that works. The focus on self awareness extended to cleaning up after ourselves, packing our own bags and caring for others, as well as the obvious hand washing. These self help skills are so important to reinforce both in the classroom and at home to ensure that developmental learning continues.

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A Holistic Approach

Once the School made the decision to move to remote learning it was time to think strategically about how to continue the rest of the program while still linking the girls interests and developmental needs.

Within the Early Learning setting, the holistic approach means educators can effectively scaffold skills for life with our young Grammarians to help them become bold global citizens. Educators have been considerately planning activities and leave recordings giving their feedback and instructions to the girls.

A Holistic Approach

Once the School made the decision to move to remote learning it was time to think strategically about how to continue the rest of the program while still linking the girls interests and developmental needs.

Within the Early Learning setting, the holistic approach means educators can effectively scaffold skills for life with our young Grammarians to help them become bold global citizens. Educators have been considerately planning activities and leave recordings giving their feedback and instructions to the girls.

This wonderful quote from Thomas Group Educator, Ms Sharne Rees speaks to the dedication of the School as a whole collaborating to bring the same quality education to our Grammarians via digital platforms.

“It has been sensational to be part of a school that has been so prepared for remote learning, not just in response to the health situation but to strive towards providing forward moving educational programs,” said Ms Rees. “To have technical support from the Information Technologies department and from various colleagues around the campus has made it possible to troubleshoot the challenges of using new technologies and adapting to changing needs."

"It is a privilege to be investing time into ensuring the programs we offer are of the highest calibre rather than trying to figure out IF we can do it at all.”
— Sharne Rees, ELC Thomas Group Educator

Beyond the basics of caring for our external world, was the importance of managing our emotions and our internal feelings. Within the groups, the wellbeing learning experiences ramped up to prepare the girls for their extended time at home. This included mindfulness and breathing exercises to help the girls learn self regulation tools to practise in times of uncertainty.

Our observant learners started to ask questions about their changing world, their absent friends and family and their frequent handwashing. As is so often the case with young minds and sensitive topics, it takes time to develop their understanding. We took time to explain how their learning would work at home and explained that each girl would receive a learning journal to share their learning and development.

This wonderful quote from Thomas Group Educator, Ms Sharne Rees speaks to the dedication of the School as a whole collaborating to bring the same quality education to our Grammarians via digital platforms.

“It has been sensational to be part of a school that has been so prepared for remote learning, not just in response to the health situation but to strive towards providing forward moving educational programs,” said Ms Rees. “To have technical support from the Information Technologies department and from various colleagues around the campus has made it possible to troubleshoot the challenges of using new technologies and adapting to changing needs."

"It is a privilege to be investing time into ensuring the programs we offer are of the highest calibre rather than trying to figure out IF we can do it at all.”
— Sharne Rees, ELC Thomas Group Educator

Beyond the basics of caring for our external world, was the importance of managing our emotions and our internal feelings. Within the groups, the wellbeing learning experiences ramped up to prepare the girls for their extended time at home. This included mindfulness and breathing exercises to help the girls learn self regulation tools to practise in times of uncertainty.

Our observant learners started to ask questions about their changing world, their absent friends and family and their frequent handwashing. As is so often the case with young minds and sensitive topics, it takes time to develop their understanding. We took time to explain how their learning would work at home and explained that each girl would receive a learning journal to share their learning and development.

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Everyone in the Barbara Tolson Early Learning Centre is so grateful for all our families, and the kind words we have received. Considering the current pressure we are all dealing with, the valuable feedback of how to provide continuity of care remotely is so important.

As one of our parents said, “I just wanted to say thanks for a great Term 1 in very challenging circumstances. The first few weeks of term were a busy and crazy time for us and having the loving and happy environment you created at school was amazing!”

Everyone in the Barbara Tolson Early Learning Centre is so grateful for all our families, and the kind words we have received. Considering the current pressure we are all dealing with, the valuable feedback of how to provide continuity of care remotely is so important.

As one of our parents said, “I just wanted to say thanks for a great Term 1 in very challenging circumstances. The first few weeks of term were a busy and crazy time for us and having the loving and happy environment you created at school was amazing!”

Everyone in the Barbara Tolson Early Learning Centre is so grateful for all our families, and the kind words we have received. Considering the current pressure we are all dealing with, the valuable feedback of how to provide continuity of care remotely is so important.

As one of our parents said, “I just wanted to say thanks for a great Term 1 in very challenging circumstances. The first few weeks of term were a busy and crazy time for us and having the loving and happy environment you created at school was amazing!”

Article written by

Early Learning Team

Barbara Tolson Centre

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