Volume 29 Issue 28 11 Sep 2020 22 Elul 5780


Terry Aizen – Director of Kornmehl

Rosh Hashanah

We have immersed ourselves in the beautiful festival of Rosh Hashanah. Sadly, we are not able to blow the shofar during this time of COVID at Pre-school. Despite this the children do know about the sounds that the Shofar makes and that we blow the Shofar to wake up our minds and bodies and to think and reflect on our actions and behaviours during the month of Elul.

The children have been learning about the different types of apples and drawing them from close observation. The children did a mindfulness experience using apples and honey. They were given time to engage their senses of touch, smell, taste and feel, to enable them to slow down and be present in the moment. It was a challenge at times not to bite straight into the apple, but they all rose to it. There were also other learning opportunities along the way, for example maths concepts such as fractions were being explored as the whole apple was cut in half. How many halves make a whole? Cut again and you have quarters. It was a magic moment to discover the star shape inside the apple. How did this happen? Was it the way the apple was cut? Overall this was a very tasty, mindful and festive experience… Apples dipped in honey for Rosh Hashanah… A sweet new year, a good new year… Apples dipped in honey for Rosh Hashanah.

We have focused particularly on drawing and learning about bees and where honey comes from. We realise that young children learn best through interactive and hands-on experiences, where they can use all their senses and a variety of mediums. With this in mind, we expose the children to learning in many different ways. A number of experiences were provided enabling the children to use different languages to represent their knowledge and understanding about bees. A sorting, counting and fine-motor experience was set up in the shape of a beehive. The children used tweezers to place balls of nectar in the hive.

At another table, an assortment of materials was provided to make bee puppets using cellophane, sticks, paper and pipe cleaners. Later in the day the puppets were used to sing a little rhyme…

Here is the beehive, but where are the bees, hiding away where nobody sees
Watch them come creeping, out of the hive, one, two, three, four and five

Extending our learning for Rosh Hashanah, we invited a beekeeper to come to Kornmehl on Thursday. Gavin Smith is clearly passionate about bees but more than that he was able to share his passion and knowledge with us in a way that was fun and interactive.

Gavin came in his beekeeper suit and explained to us the differences between European bees and native bees. Gavin taught us so much about how bees operate: the way that they gather the nectar, how they make wax and form it into cells into which they lay their eggs. We learnt about how he uses a smoker to distract the bees when he gathers the honey from the hive. He explained how you can tell the difference between a male and female bee; the male has huge eyes which he uses to search for the Queen bee.  

We learnt about the medicinal properties of propolis for healing the stings and some other ailments too. We also learnt that bees hate the smell of bananas and that the best way to remove a sting is to scratch it off with your nails. He spoke about putting ice, vinegar, garlic, onion, orange, lemons on the sting to neutralise the poison as well. 

The information was diverse and interesting, and each segment was interspersed with an activity for the children to engage in; smelling the wax, handling the smoker, dancing a bee dance and finally tasting some of the delicious honey and honeycomb. We were also lucky enough to watch Gavin split a stingless beehive into two and install a stingless beehive in our Pre-school garden. We will be able to watch the bees making small quantities of honey.

Installing a Stingless Native Beehive into our Pre-school will enable children to safely explore, engage, learn and experience close up the social behaviours of bees, and gain an awareness of the impact of human activity on the environment and the interdependence of living things. It will teach and plant an animal/insect interaction, help to increase biodiversity of our environment and bees will pollinate our vegetable garden. This is a great program to encourage children to have respect for our environment by understanding how important our bees are for pollinating Australia’s wildflowers and how their small size enables them to reach pollen in tiny flowers that bigger trees cannot reach. We will also be able to link our learning to the benefits of using honey for medicinal qualities and we will be aiding the conservation of the native bee.  The keeping of stingless bees is easy and does not require any special expertise, equipment or maintenance. The Australian native bees are stingless and therefore pose no threat to people and will not cause an allergic reaction.

This project resonates and connects deeply with our Kornmehl Philosophy: “Our engagement with the outdoors empowers children to connect with nature, facilitating their social, spiritual, physical, intellectual and emotional learning. We encourage an awareness of environmental responsibilities and implement practices that contribute to a sustainable future”. 

National Child Protection Week

National Child Protection Week has been coordinated by NAPCAN, (National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect), with the support of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. This year we are celebrating 30 years with the theme ‘Putting Children First’.

The campaign aims to engage and educate all Australians to understand they have a part to play in keeping our children and young people safe from violence, abuse and neglect.

NAPCAN works to promote the safety and wellbeing of children and young people. “Protecting children is everyone’s business”.

National Child Protection Week is a wonderful opportunity for everyone in the community to think about how we can work together to keep all children safe. 

Importantly, we want to remind everyone that:
• We ALL have a part to play in protecting ALL children
• Even small actions can help to improve a child’s future
• By building stronger communities, we are creating safer environments for our children 

How can I start playing my part to protect children today (and every day!)?
• Be a good role model for children
• Be kind to children, parents (and yourself!)
• Take the time to really listen to children and believe them if they tell you something
• Learn about what help services are available so you can support others if they need help
• Don’t judge other parents and families; remember that we’re all trying our best
• Look out for all children, not just your own
• Be a friendly, helpful member of your local community
• Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to ask someone if they need help

Teachers play their part to protect and care for children and young people in their community by building relationships with their students and showing that they respect and value them.

Parents play their part to protect and care for children and young people in their community by showing how to have respectful relationships.