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Bairnsdale Reception teacher Sommer Lea Collins: The children have been talking about how the weather has started to get "cold after kinder time" (Fleur), and how we have to wear "warm jammies and drink hot choccies" (Harper). We discussed that the seasons are changing and the children have observed that some of our deciduous trees lost their leaves during autumn while others still remain. After reading We're Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger, we decided to work with the Year 3 & 4 students and travel around the Junior school campus to collect some Autumn leaves. We later created some artwork and leaf crowns with our special finds.

St Anne’s Reception teachers Jess Love and Candace Membrey:
Sharon from the Wellington Shire Sustainable Living Education Program attended to educate the children about our worm farm. Sharon explained to the children that worms have no bones in their bodies; however, they do have muscles that allow them to stretch. She used giant earthworms to locate the body segment or 'saddle', where a cocoon is formed. The children were intrigued and eager to learn more! Sharon talked about what food worms like to eat (apple, watermelon and banana scraps) and informed the Cygnets that worm wee is pure liquid gold and an excellent plant fertiliser We ventured outside and sat in a circle. Each child was allowed to hold the worms. This was a wonderful experience that the children thoroughly enjoyed! As an extension, we read the story titled Yucky Worms written by Vivian French and illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg. The Reception children will now be in charge of caring for the worms in our newly refurbished worm farms, and we are hoping to create some fertiliser for our garden.

St Anne’s Transition White Swans teacher Kristy How: We walked to Lake Guyatt to join the Wellington Shire Sustainability Education Officer Sharon for some tree planting. Before we headed off, the children heard the story Where the Forest Meets the Sea by Jeannie Baker. The story helped children to explore how old and valuable our natural environment can be and what happens when we clear and develop it. This idea was discussed in relation to the indigenous perspective of 'give a little, take a little' in caring for country. We met our buddies and walked along the shore of the lake, noticing the plants and wildlife as we went. When we arrived at the planting site, Sharon showed the children how to plant and protect the saplings with tree guards. The children showed much care when planting, and their Year 5 buddies helped them to follow the correct procedure. Collectively, the children planted 100 trees along a stretch of the Lake Guyatt walking track. It is lovely to think that as the children continue to visit the area, they will see their contribution and talk to their families about how they helped to care for our community.

St Anne’s Transition White Swans teacher Lisa Burgess:
This term, the children and their Year 5 buddies have participated in a 'buddies in nature' program. This came out of our desire to encourage authentic and caring attitudes toward the natural environment and for the children to begin to appreciate the impact of humans upon it. Each Friday afternoon, we explored a different natural environment close to the campus, including lakes, the SEED community garden, our own St Anne’s grounds and the Port of Sale. Other activities have included tree planting and a waste reduction incursion. The absolute highlight of this experience was our 'bush kinder' visit to the Knob Reserve in Stratford. The ELC has been visiting this area for more than 10 years as a part of our environmental and sustainability programs, and it was lovely to see and hear from the Year 5 students how much they remembered from the visit they made when they were at the ELC. The children were well cared for by their Year 5 buddies and enjoyed a bush walk, meditation listening to the sounds of nature, and were able to explore and learn more about Gunaikurnai culture.

St Anne’s Transition Black Swans teacher Danielle Carpenter:
National Reconciliation Week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements and explore how we can contribute to reconciliation in Australia. Reconciliation week has been acknowledged in many ways within the ELC; the Transition children have been exploring the connection to Country that First Nations people have. They eagerly listened to stories including Finding Our Heart, Respect and Back On Country. We talked about the Aboriginal flag and the significance of the colours used. The children then painted their hands using red, black and yellow paint to create a handprint on calico fabric. These handprints will now be made into bunting to hang in our classroom. The children have loved looking at Indigenous artwork, especially modern artists. We explored the work of Saretta Fielding , who uses a sand-based medium. We invited the children to create their artwork using paint with sand in it on brown craft paper. They were encouraged to tell us about the story of their artwork.

Bairnsdale Transition teacher Sommer Lea Collins: Last week we welcomed the Flying Bookworms Theatre Group. The Flying Bookworms explore popular stories and poems using theatrical presentations. Some of the children were able to participate as characters in the stories. The children enjoyed acting out The Little Red Hen, The 3 Billy Goats Gruff and Jack and the Beanstalk stories while wearing costumes with the support of the actors. They were very excited to become the characters in the show, including our billy goats, who got to use their skills to escape the troll! This experience will inspire many literacy-based activities in the coming weeks.

Lisa Burgess

ELC Director