Relationships & Social Skills—Mapping our community at SDN Paddington

Children learn about themselves and the minds of others through their relationships.

The ‘Kookaburra’ children at SDN Paddington are 3 and 4 years old. At the beginning of this year, Early Childhood Teacher Jeong and her team of educators invited families to fill in a short document, sharing information about themselves and their child. The colourful pages were carefully placed in a book which was used with children to spark conversation – educators asked questions, encouraged children to talk among peers, and noted what children knew and wanted to know.

Children and families responded enthusiastically to these experiences, and the team planned more to build connections between children, and with the families. Soon, families began to visit the centre to read, and share skills, interests and resources.  Families brought photos and props from a traditional Chinese wedding, ran a sports program, coordinated expert visitors from workplaces, and initiated creative art experiences.

Throughout different planned experiences, children talked about familiar places. So the team supported them to map out their local community, thinking about where they live, what their houses are like, and familiar landmarks in the community. Gradually the children’s educators helped each child build a bigger picture of where they fit in their family, in the classroom, the centre and in the neighbourhood.  

Going on local excursions together allowed the children to notice the people and places they’d included in their maps, and think about how they all relate to one another.  Some children took their outings very seriously, practicing talking and listening, being patient, and being respectful. Seeing the local Fire Station while out and about led the team to connect with the Fire Brigade who shared resources for the classroom before attending the centre. The children explored other ‘community helpers’ and ‘jobs’ like construction workers as well.

The Centre’s local community has responded really warmly to seeing the SDN children out and about, and the connections the group is making locally strengthen with each trip.  

“The way parents are embracing our program, so many doors have opened. Our relationships with families develop day by day and we learn so much by just having conversations,” says Jeong. 

As children develop their relationships and social skills, they need real life experiences where they can watch the world, and then practise what they’ve seen. In this case, children have seen partnership, negotiation, generosity, flexibility, positivity and resourcefulness demonstrated in the adult relationships around them, and in the interactions adults have with them. 

Preschoolers at SDN Paddington have a safe place to develop and test their social skills, to express ideas, be proud of their family, and to form a confident view of themselves and their place in the world.

To learn more about our preschool program and curriculum pillars, visit this page here.


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