Lights, camera, action: reflections on our recent Toddle experience
Recently, the team from Toddle came to visit Choklits. What really struck me after the visit, was the way it highlighted the features of Choklits that make us a unique centre. Here’s a look at how our day went…
The day of filming gave pause for thought around the curiosity and connections of the children, teamwork and collaboration within Choklits, our many “Choklits-specific” talents and the way the community feels about Choklits.
As the day began, watching the children’s responses to Reece and Alexis (the photographers), the curiosity was evident:
“Who are they?”
“Why are they following us?!”
“What’s your name?”
I observed the range of responses to the filming; from little performers shining in the face of a camera, to hesitancy at the unfamiliar faces. The children reacted with responses that depicted their individual personalities. Knowing each child and using relationships built on secure foundations of trust helped the educators to guide each child to feel safe and comfortable with the new experience.
Children are naturally curious observers of the world around them. At Choklits, we embrace and use this inherent need to know about what they can see and hear to enhance each child’s learning. The filming experience highlighted how learning presents itself in expected and unexpected ways, and how the educators can guide the children to take on meaning from these experiences.
As the day progressed, it wasn’t just the children who were presented with the experience of being in front of a camera. Through the interviews held, the team’s passion and expertise were another stand-out perspective of the day. Educators were able to share their passions; what they do everyday, how they do it and for what purpose. As I listened and watched the thoughts shared by the Choklits’ educators during their interviews, I could hear the heart of Choklits; a community of high expectations (and the steps to achieve them), authentic and dedicated educators who give their best, and a shared love of providing a high level of care, learning and development for the children.
A strong team begins with great leaders. We were set up for a successful day by our centre director (the amazingly capable Sue) and owner (visionary and executor of ideas, Jade). Clear and consistent communication is one of the strategies that helps to guide the team in being their best, and the preparation for film day was no exception. The clear roles and expectations of how the day might look were a major contributing factor to ensuring the team’s awareness of what do to and when to do it. It takes a great team to collaborate together, be flexible and communicate with each other about schedules, who needed to be where (or not be there when filming was in process!).
In the lead up to the day, our chef, Helen, showed the same level of planning and commitment that is reflected in each menu, meal and conversation she plays a hand in. When it comes to the Choklits, one of the most commented on features is Helen’s work. The variety, tastiness and health put into every item prepared in our kitchen is a credit to Helen’s hard work and dedication to raising a generation of young children who have the best start to health and a love of nutritious food. The comments and amazement from families definitely reflects Helen’s success and knowledge when it comes to children eating good foods (and coming back for second servings!).
In hearing Helen’s interview, the genuine passion she has in involving the earliest of learners in interacting with food was obvious (freezing beetroot juice ice-cubes for the babies to paint with – pure genius, Helen!). Choklits just wouldn’t be Choklits without Helen. You can get Helen’s Cookbook here.
In between bouts of rain (thanks, Melbourne!), we were also able to show off the unique and outstanding opportunities that being part of the Choklits community provides. In fact, working around the rain also highlighted another Choklits’ feature: the determination not to be hindered by Melbourne’s unpredictable weather. We wholeheartedly embrace the philosophy that there’s no such things as bad weather, just inadequate clothing; this helps develop our learning culture of raising healthy, resilient and confident young learners…despite the raindrops!
There were three planned experiences that demonstrated what Choklits has to offer:
- An active and engaging session with the team from “Ready, Steady, Go” showed a taste of the structured sports class provided on our weekly incursions. The GINORMOUS playground we use provides a unique part of Choklits (who knows little people that don’t embrace the chance to run to their heart’s content?). As part of a physio-designed curriculum, “Ready, Steady, Go” gives each child the opportunity to gain the skills, benefits and passion for exercise in a non-competitive and safe environment. You can tell by the smiles and engagement from even the littlest of learners that their relationship with the program leaders is one that teaches them to embrace the love of running, jumping and moving their bodies!
- A special session with our favourite music man, Tim, from “Rhythm and Moves” music. Not only do the children get to express their creative side and gain the many benefits that music brings (memory, language, imagination, role-play, social skills), but they get to do it with their favourite talented guitar player, every week! Tim is a well-established face at Choklits: in all the rooms from Nursery through to Kinder and at our annual family Christmas party. Tim brings delight, songs and the love and fun of music to Choklits.
- The privilege of a weekly excursion to the library situated on the College grounds that back onto the Choklits site. I’m sure that the massive benefits of books are not new information, but how fabulous is the chance to visit the library with your friends on a weekly basis? Listening to a story from our favourite librarians, Susan and Robin, borrowing and returning books of our own choosing and a chance to wander the playground and paths on the journey are all cherished experiences that our Kinders (and educators!) gain responsibility and joy from.
One of the other characteristics that makes Choklits what we are is our relationships with families. A sneak peak from one the the videos taken with one of our families shows this. Mum and Dad to the vivacious Miss E. spoke about their favourite things about Choklits:
- the skills, affection and capabilities of the educators
- the comfort they feel when they leave their daughter here
- the welcome greetings when they enter Choklits
This is why we do what we do; build trusting relationships that support the whole child (family and friends included), get to know our parents by name and provide a level of care that is visible to all when they walk through the door. When our intention translates through to comments like these, we know we’re meeting the vision for what we want Choklits to be.
So, you can see how the day really brought all the puzzle pieces that, when put together, make Choklits what it is; a team of fantastic educators guided by supportive management, a knowledgeable and dedicated Chef, a community of families and friendly faces around us, and learning opportunities and tools everywhere. We can’t wait to see a video that encompasses all of our favourite Choklits things!
Choklits blog post authored by Dee Wasserfall, Choklits Child Care Kindergarten Educator.
Choklits Child Care, 319 Canterbury Road, Ringwood (0pposite the Ringwood Golf Course near the Canterbury Road Eastlink offramp).