Building Learning With Family Day Care Outings
Family Day Care enables young children to gain important learning and social experiences through excursions and community interactions.
With small educator to child ratios, many Family Day Care educators take their children on outings on a regular basis.
“It’s vital to enable young children to get out and about in their community and form their own social and community connections,” says Andrea Carmody, Senior Educational Program Coordinator at Windermere Child & Family Services. Based in Melbourne’s south east, Windermere links its Family Day Care Educators into facilitated play groups.
The playgroups provide a safe place for children to expand their experiences and interact with others. Weekly activities designed to enhance early literacy and numeracy skills are also offered. These vary and might involve ball games, books or tactile activities with items such as sand and play doh.
“With regular attendance the children become comfortable with large group situations, develop relationships and expand their social horizons,” says Andrea. “For example, we had a seven month old who when she started was very attached to her educator and only wanted to sit on her lap. As time has gone by she is happy to be held by others and will now sit and play independently,” she says.
The interaction is an important aspect of the play groups as it builds the children’s social, emotional and coping skills.
“Playgroup broadens their worlds. They interact with others in a culturally diverse setting,” says Family Day Care Educator Katrina Pritchett.
Katrina takes the pre-schoolers in her care on regular excursions and to a weekly Windermere-facilitated play group. Being based in the Dandenong Ranges, she makes use of what is free or low cost and is available to her locally. This includes weekly trips to storytime at the library and various parks and reserves.
She says the excursions are valuable because “children learn by being hands on and doing things for themselves,” she says.
Last year Katrina teamed up with another Windermere educator to take a day trip to the Melbourne Zoo. Two support staff from Windermere also attended this excursion due to the logistics involved. Other outings include the local swimming pool, Myuna Farm, the Tesselaar Tulip Festival and the Rhododendron Gardens.
Katrina uses the excursion to extend the children’s learning. “Last year for example we did a ‘snow week’ theme with the children. We did various activities such as make snow with crushed ice and backed it up with a research trip to the library which was also running a wintertime theme,” she says.
Family Day care is a home based education and care service that takes place in an educator’s own home. Numbers are kept small, which allows educators to plan outings and cater in depth for children’s individual interests. Katrina cares for eight children on a weekly basis, with four attending per day.
Windermere Child and Family Services facilitates two weekly playgroups in Melbourne’s south east which are attended by Family Day Care educators and children.