Fostering a hand response in kindergarten

Fostering a hand response in kindergarten

Thursday, 1 November 2018  | Wendy - Kindergarten Director

“We aim to nurture children’s hearts towards God’s Kingdom.”

This statement is a part of our kindergarten philosophy. It is this development of Christian attitudes that lead us to the work of our hands by expressing values such as caring for others. We look for opportunities to foster a ‘hand response’ that comes from our kinder children, to show care for others either for the environment or in another community. This ‘Head, Heart and Hands’ learning, as described in the book, ‘Transformational Education’ (page 57) is described as formation - Education is for the formation of the whole person: intellectual, emotional, physical, spiritual and for the development of character and the learning of wisdom.

Each year our Year 10 students and staff visit central Australia and the township of Yuendemu. Our school has a unique relationship with this community, having visited for over 30 years. This year our own Lynda Barendregt, who runs our Busy Bees playgroup, went along in the special role as cook, and what an amazing adventure she had! As I listened to her story I heard her heart for the Early Childhood Centre and the parents. The following is Lynda’s reflection:

Headthinking and talking

I have recently come back from the Year 10 Centre Trip camp, where we stayed at Yuendemu, an indigenous community. I had the opportunity to talk to an Early Years educator who worked with the Maternal and Child Health Centre.

Heart – a listening response

The educator explained some of the issues facing the community, and one of them was that there is a huge need for infant and young children’s clothes. When the indigenous Mums come to visit, they bath their child(ren) and don’t have any clean clothes to dress them in again. With only two food shops in the community and the drive to Alice Springs over two hours away, clothes are hard to get. 

Hand – responding

I felt the need to help out, so I asked the kinder community: if you have one or two second hand or new clothes, infant or small sizes that you would like to donate, please look out for the donation basket in the kinder and we will send them up to Yuendemu.

From one early childhood community to another, we are currently in the process of creating this hand response. Families have been bringing along new and good quality second-hand clothing for children from birth to age 5. We have encouraged parents to include the children in choosing their donations.

We led some discussions with the kinder children about helping others. As educators we are concerned with children’s development, and therefore, we have the ‘head’ as an important part of the process in learning. We opened up the problem that faces the Yuendumu Early Childhood Centre community with the children. Roger Fernando (and Grandpa to Noah from Possum group) came to show some photos of the town and talk to the children about how people are same, but different. We are all created by God.

Throughout this journey an interesting discussion has arisen with our educators – does our thinking change our heart or our heart influence our thinking? What is in the heart, is what we think about; what we do is shaped by what we know; what we believe determines our self-understandings. This complex interplay of our thinking, values, actions and desires form the real us. It’s the heart of who we are. It takes a change of heart together with what we are thinking and learning about, that allows for actions to take place. Our hands give practical expression to what we think and feel. The works of our hands reflect what is going on in our heart and our heads. Our will, or ability to choose determines how we will act.

We asked the children what we could do about the problem. They were full of wonderful ideas! We settled on writing words, drawings, thoughts and prayers to the children. Our ‘Book for the Yuendemu Children’ is developing, and when finished will be sent along with the clothing later this month. Thank you to all our families for the lovely donations, and to the children for embracing and thinking together about this idea, (head) showing such generosity (heart) and spending time and effort to show care for others (hands).


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