Meerkats in the sandpit

Posted: 25/06/2024

Adel is a teacher at Woori Yallock Preschool, a small sessional kinder in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. The preschool has 38 children who each attend for 15 hours a week.

Like many preschools, Woori Yallock’s first Innovative Resources card sets were purchased using the State Government’s School Readiness funding.

‘For many years we used The Bears and Stones cards [Stones…have feelings too!] to prompt simple conversations about feelings,’ Adel says.

‘I really like having something visual and hands-on for the children to interact with.’

In more recent times, Adel has introduced Funky Fish Feelings, Can-Do Dinosaurs, and Body Signals (the kids love the cheeky meerkats!) to the mix.

‘Since (and during) Covid times I’ve been using the cards as discussion topics for our outside “mat” sessions,’ she says.

‘Visually they are so beautiful and engaging for the children … and having so many cards in each set makes them great for bigger groups.

‘They’re so durable too. They even survive the sandpit!’

At Woori Yallock, the cards are used as an ongoing learning tool.

‘Once the children are settled in and familiar with the preschool we start to introduce the cards as a way to build an emotional vocabulary,’ Adel explains.

‘Having a variety of card sets is a wonderful resource as every child responds differently to the various animal characters.

‘We use them to discuss how our bodies change when we feel different emotions and what signs to look for in other people. We can see the children developing the language and tools to express themselves and understand another person’s perspective.’

Having experimented with the cards over many years, Adel says the cards have the best results once strong relationships have been formed, between the children and staff, and the children with their peers.

‘The children definitely lead the conversation,’ Adel says, ‘giving examples both verbally and physically.’

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