6.2.3 Community engagement

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The service builds relationships and engages with its local community.

Community Connection
The element 6.2.3 basically says we need to build connections with community, strengthen them and use those connections to create learning opportunities for children. And don’t forget to share all of this information and learning with families.

Case Study – Excursion to Dubbo City Animal Shelter – Charlee
Charlee organised an excursion to the animal shelter as a follow up to our Responsible Ownership of Animals discussion with the RSPCA (31st August). The educators in Toddler 2 provided the children with access to the shelter and resources for them to investigate the impact of our actions on the animals (LO2.4). We discussed how adoption works and what happens to the animals that are left by their owners with the animal shelter workers.
Once at the shelter, we were greeted by a lady called Jane who unlocked the gate and walked us into a room then started to ask what animals we would like to see today. ‘Puppies!’ Ellie said excitedly. ‘Well what about some little kittens then I will bring a puppy in’ the lady said. ‘Yeah!’ the children yelled out. The children demonstrated care for the animals (LO2.4) as the kittens ran out of their cage and started to walk around the children’s feet demanding attention. Each child patted, held and played with the kittens. Carter, Jaiden and Ellie showed great interest in the kittens and loved the opportunity to care for them. The kittens were soon placed back into their beds and a puppy was brought out for the children to play with. The puppy jumped up and down, ran in circles and crawled onto Quentin’s lap for a cuddle. He was very excited. ‘We were hoping you guys could help us name this puppy because we haven’t decided on one yet?’ Jane said to the children. ‘Zeek’ Hadlee L suggested. ‘Hmm I like that name. It suits a unique puppy like this one’ Jane replied.
The children were then able to investigate new ideas around a puppy’s life experiences in a shelter (LO2.4) as we walked towards the cages and saw a little white puppy who was more than excited to interact with the children through the gate.
We then met Rob, who helped Charlee organise this excursion and find a way for the children to care for and learn about the animals (LO2.4) at the shelter. ‘Let’s go and make some beds, set out some toys and feed some of the puppies we have up for adoption’ Rob said. Rob and another worker handed the children some items then asked them to place the items in each cage for the animals. Churchill was handed a blanket to place on the bed, Rivah was given empty food and water bowls, Kyran was handed a scoop of biscuits to place in the food bowl and Hadley S was given a toy for the pups to play with.

Once the cages were set, the children were given the opportunity to feed the pups that were already in their cages. Rob demonstrated how we would feed the pups through the fence then each child was given a handful of biscuits and an option of which pup they would like to feed. After feeding the pups, we walked to a grassy area where the pups played and were able to run around with a Jack Russell that was up for adoption. This area provided the children with a range of natural materials (LO2.4) that the animals would play with, such as sticks and bones, as well as some toys the pups enjoy, such as balls and squeaky toys.

Exceeding theme 3: Families and community connection

Case study – Use community events
The excursions started when an educator saw a promotion for the NSW Firefighting Championship. She thought this would be a great opportunity for learning and an excursion. There were 72 children taken from the centre to the event. All went smoothly because all ages groups go on regular excursions into the community.

Fire Fighting Championships! (Rhiannon)
This morning Miss Rhiannon engaged the children in a group time, promoting a sense of community (LO 2.1) by asking, “what do you know about fighters and what they do?”
“They keep us safe, and they wear fire coats and they use the sirens on their trucks!” – Liam. “They use the hose.”- Aylarah
“They put out fires and wear special helmets.” – Jake
“They climb ladders.” – Ruby
“That’s right. They do all of those things. Can anyone tell me what the firetrucks have on them?”
“They’ve got ladders.” – Aria
“And a hose.” – Maddi
“They use the sirens so the cars stay out of their way.” – Brandon
“And they use the ladders to save people.” – Jake
“And cats too.” – Hunter

On our way to the firefighting championships
We then boarded the bus and made our way to the firefighting championships. When we arrived, Dominic (Rocky’s dad) had some activities for us to participate in but before we did that Fireman Sam shared lots of fire safety information with us.

“Who knows what number to call if there is a fire?” asked Fireman Sam. “000” said the children together. “Very good, now does anybody know what to do if they get too close to a fire?” “Run?” asked Hunter. “That’s not quite what we do. We have to get down on our hands and knees and crawl to the closest exit, so we get down low and go, go, go,” explained Fireman Sam. “Does anyone know what you do if your clothes catch fire?” “No,” said a few of the children. “Well what you do if that happens is we have to stop what we’re doing, drop to the ground and roll around. Does that sound funny?” “Yeah it does,” giggled the children. “I will show you. Now I might look silly but that’s what you have to do, ready? I’m going to stop, drop, and roll!”

“That’s it, good job guys! Do you think you’re ready to see inside of our practice drill truck?” “Yeah!” shouted the children. Inside the truck Sam and Dominic explained how they fill the truck with smoke and they have to find the people who are trapped inside. “Can we count how many people we find, and remember some of them might be hiding,” said Sam. “Here’s a person on the lounge” said Hunter. “And there’s one here hiding under the bed,” said Natasha. “And here’s another person!” said Maddi. “That’s 3 people in here!” counted Liam.

During this activity, the children explored the connections between people in the community (LO 2.3) as they understood that the fire fighters are there to help people.

Next, we moved outside so the firemen could show us a simulation fire. The fireman had set up a pot on the stove filled with oil. The fire chief explained, “if there is a fire and you are not confident to put it out ring 000 and wait for us to arrive.” “What happens if the door is locked?” asked Nicholas. “If the door is locked we will break it down so we can get in and stop the fire.” “Yeah or you can use a sledgehammer and go, bang!” explained Liam as he was demonstrating what to do. That’s right, we can do that too. Now we are going to show you what happens when you put water on an oil fire.” As a firefighter poured water on the pot the fire went from small to big and it went really high and got really hot. “Now we have to use a fire blanket because the water makes the oil hotter and makes the fire bigger,” explained the chief. The fire fighter then demonstrated how to put the fire blanket over the pot to stop the fire.

As we left the children said thankyou and waved goodbye to the fire fighters for broadening their understanding of the world they live in (LO 2.1).

The centre continued to promote the event to families
Dear Families, tonight there is a family fun night for all with a parade at 7.30pm and fireworks at 8.30pm. You are all welcome to come down and support your local and regional fire brigades. Come down and have a fun night with your family and with your local firefighters.

Providing Community Information
Does the service hold current information on relevant community resources/activities eg
  • Doctors
  • Dentists
  • Speech Pathologists
  • Libraries
  • Sporting Clubs
  • Music/drama/singing lessons
  • Swimming lessons
  • Parenting/Family Support Groups
  • Community fetes/markets/festivals
  • Child/baby health clinics
Is the information in a place where educators can easily access it?
Is the information in a place where families can easily access it?
Is the parent library/noticeboard appealing to look at?
Is there a person who is responsible for keeping this area tidy, appealing and up to date?

What does it mean to consistently maintain effective partnerships with other early childhood professionals and the community to enhance each child’s learning, wellbeing and inclusion?

Visit to the Accountants – Our GST needs submitting
“I know, we can visit the accountant’s office behind the centre” said Tash. This will really help with our learning about GST and promote a sense of community. Jobs placed into real life scenarios that children are familiar with promote a better understanding of the community we live in.
Off to the accountants we go. We were very lucky to have Frank give us a guided tour of his accountancy business. Frank showed us the office and where everybody works and we sat in the presentation room with a big screen. This is where the fun began. Max told Frank we have been looking at the GST, and Max said “Where does it go.”
Frank was impressed with Max’s question and told us about GST. Frank taught us that GST is goods and service tax, and just about everything has it except some food, education and houses. He said GST is 10% of the price. As a group we listed many items we buy to see if they have GST (see our list in the room). Frank went on to show how a person pays 10% GST, then a shop collects the GST and gives it to the Government. Frank gave us copies of BAS, which stand for Business Activity Statement. This is something we will be using now in our shopping setup in the room.

What does it mean to enhance the educational program for each child with the community?

Continuing to learn how to manage our emotions, Chelsea decided to extend children’s learning and established a partnership with local community member Pamma, a Buddhist Monk. Chelsea discussed with Pamma the need to teach the children meditation techniques to assist with self-regulation. Pamma explained to the children” all monks meditate, sometimes it’s to make negative feelings go away and sometimes to keep the happy feelings inside.” Pamma then showed everyone a special feelings jar made up of glycerine, oil, water, dishwashing detergent and glitter. “When we are sad or angry or frustrated or scared, we can have lots of things spinning around inside our heads like this jar. And when that happens there are things you can do to help you feel better.” Next, we read a book called ‘Moody Cow Meditates’ by Kerry Lee Maclean. It was about a cow named Peter who was having a really bad day. Having started his day missing the bus, wiping out his bike, losing his temper and getting into trouble, his school friends started calling him a moody cow. His day got worse until his grandad came over to his house and showed him the magic jar and then all his bad feelings went away. Ella, reflecting on her emotions LO 3.1 said, “I feel happy, ”Aria and Maddy said “I feel excited, ”Torah said “I feel ok, ”Landon said “cranky,” Xavier said “I feel bored.” Using this information Pamma taught the first meditation technique. “Can we all pretend we are holding a cup of hot chocolate? Now, when you’re feeling unhappy breathe into your pretend cup like your cooling it down to drink. Can everyone do that?” Now does everyone feel better?” asked Pamma. Everyone said yes. The next technique learnt was a bubble technique. “Can everyone pretend they are holding bubbles and are trying to make the biggest bubble they can” asked Pamma. “Now, blow that bubble as hard as you can and that will help you to feel happy.” The last technique was listening to the sound of a bell. Chelsea gave Pamma a big bell. Pamma hit the bell and said “now can you all hear the bell? Close your eyes and listen to the bell as the sound fades away. This is like when we watch the magic jar and see the glitter settle, our feelings settle as the bell stops.” “That is so cool” said Lewi. We thanked Pamma for her visit and will use these techniques as part of the program to enable all the children to self-regulate their emotions.


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