September 2020
"Children learn how to make good decisions by making decisions, not by following directions."

― Alfie Kohn
Welcome to September.

We continue in Level 2 – thank you to everyone who is following the hygiene procedures with Pick Up and Drop-Off in the foyer.

This September it will be 5 years since Happy Hearts first opened its doors to the very first group of children. We move into the next 5 years with excitement and anticipation. 

We look forward to celebrating with a covid-busting get-together when the time is right.

Next week is Maori Language Week, so there will be extra special focus on crafts and activities based on our national language. Try a few Te Reo words at home if you can.

The other focus is Self-Help Skills.
Helping the children learn how to help themselves is an ongoing part of the routine – flowing from room to room

Scroll down to read more about what the teachers plan and implement, as well as ideas to help you include self-help skills at home.

There are some great photos of our Little Learners concentrating on an independent activity.

Enjoy the rest of the month.

John & Alina Cook

September 14-20

Te Wā Tuku Reo Māori

at Happy Hearts
Happy Hearts will be celebrating Maori Language Week.

We will have an extra special focus on songs, stories and activities featuring Te Reo.
August was an interesting month with some of our children staying at home throughout Level 3. For those children who attended Happy Hearts, we did lots of fun activities like arts and crafts, music and dramatic play. 

The children missed their friends, so we had great fun writing to our friends at home and were very excited to receive letters and messages back. Thank you so much for sharing your photographs and neat stories about what you were up to during that time.

Room 3 had their very own post box which miraculously delivered and received all the mail.

We had a fun Daffodil Day, raising money for the Cancer society. The children all dressed up as their favourite characters. We played games, danced dances, and ate lots of special party food.

A joint focus across all three rooms at the moment, is Self Help Skills.

We constantly offer opportunities for children to develop their self-help skills and give them ample time to work on these important tasks. Remember that we as adults are important role models. We model self-help and independence; children learn a great deal from watching us.
It can be challenging to slow down and allow the time to let your child try to do things for themselves. However after a few days you will see that they are refining their skills and getting so much better at doing these things. Consistency and repetition are needed for this process, but it will be so worth it.
The pride and empowerment your child will be feeling as they learn, succeed, and celebrate with you is incredible.

Our 3 rooms work together on this programme, ensuring foundations learnt in one room are developed and built upon in the next. It is great to watch a child grow in self-esteem as they take pride in achieving at each level.

Click on the attachments below to see the specific self-help tasks appropriate at each room and age level.

Each room at Happy Hearts is different.

Each age group has specific needs, so every room will focus on their own curriculum tailored to the children in that class.
to read more about what is the current focus in ROOM 1
to read more about what is the current focus in ROOM 2
to read more about what is the current focus in ROOM 3

Daffodil Day was a great day at Happy Hearts.

Thanks to everyone who got into the spirit of things and took part in the dress-up fun, and by sending along a donation.

We made our own daffodils as our craft activity for that day, and they are still on the walls making our rooms bright and cheerful.
This activity is ideal for little hands – babies or young toddlers who are coming to terms with their fine motor skills.

Choose a strong piece of cardboard and some old zips of different lengths. You can pick up some zips from the local opp shop for next to nothing.

Use a hot glue gun to attach the zips to the board.

And that’s it – let your little one have fun opening and closing to their hearts content.
If you manage to get some coloured zips this can be a great ‘learn the colours game’ at the same time.
Setting the table is an ideal job which helps a child to feel part of the team and have a task for which they are responsible.

Make this easy-to-follow template using the back of an old place mat and some coloured paper.

Help your child select the items needed for a place setting. Choose utensils your child most often uses. Perhaps a spoon and fork, or a bowl if they are not used to a plate.

Then, together, trace around the different shapes.

Younger children may need help with the cutting out – but let them have a go.

Finally, glue the place-settings into the correct order for your little helper to follow.

Self help skills are an on-going part of the ECE curriculum.

You will probably have read previous newsletters where we mention the importance of helping children to find their independence.
This is because self-help skills are not just a box which needs to be ticked. Each phase a child enters introduces a new level of independence, and new tasks to be learned.

This is why our Head Teachers work together when transitioning a child from one room to the next. They communicate the level of self-help skills evident in each individual child, so the new teacher can continue to develop them at the appropriate speed.

Room 1 sets the scene – for example, children are introduced to the idea of staying seated while eating. Carrying their bowl from the table, (with or without help depending on the child), or helping to pick up toys and place them in containers.

As a child grows and transitions, Room 2 empowers them to take charge through a wide range of opportunities.

Their bags are placed in the same spot, so they begin to recognise their own belongings and can help themselves to fresh clothes etc. Bed-time is always set up in the same format so a child can walk over to their own bed.

Self-help skills are developed through the use of language so Room 2 introduces more communication - helping the children to make decisions rather than just giving instructions. “Where do you think we should start looking for your lost shoe?” or “If you are hot, what top would you like to put on?’

By the time a child reaches Room 3 they are established in some of the expectations.Dress for outside play, table manners and independent hygeine.
In Room 3 the children have ‘jobs’ to do when they arrive. At this level they are allowed to choose their own locker space, but they must find their name tag, label their locker and keep it tidy. The children ‘sign in’ and are encouraged to decide which of the prepared activities they want to undertake, rather than being told where to go.

All rooms encourage the older children to support and help the younger ones. This then empowers the older children to help themselves also. 

At home you can implement any of these ideas, especially if you have more than one child.

Encourage decision-making like “Which toys do you want to pick up first?” or “What do we need to pack in your Happy Hearts bag."

Your child’s Learning Stories will tell you what level of self-help they have reached – and what the next goal is. Have a chat with their teachers about self-help activities at home which will best suit your child and their individual development.

Enjoy September!

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