Little Yarns, Play School, and a gunyah – how an inspiring learning space came together
Early childhood teacher Kendall Doenau from Tree House Early Learning Centre St Kilda was recently inspired by listening to the Little Yarns podcast and watching a Care for Country episode of Play School.
Creating beautiful learning spaces that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional is one of her favourite things to do, and Ms Doenau worked with her team to create a space that encourages children to experiment with language skills and small world play.
During class-planning discussions, Ms Doenau and the team open the floor to the children so they can share they want to see more of, or what they’ve had enough of.
“This particular experience was developed as I overheard a child building a gunyah – a small temporary shelter – out of construction blocks. The child spoke many languages so it naturally popped out. It made me reflect on how we should be incorporating language into our program and embed it in all experiences.”
Shortly after Ms Doenau witnessed one of the children building a gunyah, other children also requested a doll house for the room. So, the team decided to combine the two interests.
“The space itself was very simple to make, just a few overturned boxes and some new little additions did the trick. It’s set up for the children to enjoy with storytelling puppets, books and small world dramatic play,” Ms Doenau shared.
The space has been a big success and sees children negotiating play roles as well as using their creativity and imagination as they construct and deconstruct their houses, adding narratives to their small world play or even enjoying a quiet moment of solitude.
Likewise, Ms Doenau said, the response from families has been amazing, impressed at how their children are embracing diversity and Australia’s culture in meaningful ways.
For more information about the meaningful embedding of First Nations culture into early childhood education and care, please see here.