Learn and Laugh Hornsby is located within the Hornsby Shire, where we recognise the Traditional Owners of the land, the Darug and GuriNgai peoples. We acknowledge their ongoing connection to Country and pay respect to their Ancestors and Elders past and present and to their Heritage.
At Learn and Laugh we strive to embed indigenous culture and learning into our program in authentic and meaningful ways. Throughout the last 4 months we have been aiming to take the children on more excursions to spend time outside of our centre exploring and connecting with Country.
A few weeks ago, we noticed that our Lilly Pilly trees had berries growing on them. Trees from the Lilly Pilly family all feature the brightly coloured, sweet-tart fruits that range in colour from pink, through to red, purple and blue. The berries are edible and can be made into jam. Lilly Pilly has been used by First Nations people for generations as a treatment for sore ears, wounds and skin conditions, as well providing a rich source of Vitamin C.
Once our berries were ripe we went on a short excursion with some of the children, out the front of the centre so that we could harvest the berries. Once we had collected enough, we brough them inside and washed the berries so that we could make some Lilly Pilly jam. Our Chef Christine finished the process, creating our jam. The Senior Preschool worked together to make some damper, which we had for afternoon tea with our Lilly Pilly jam.
We also finally had a chance to take our Nursery (0-2 year olds) children on their first excursion. In small groups of 4, the Nursery children took turns going on their excursion throughout July. While travelling they enjoyed seeing the sights in the neighbourhood as they made their way up to the cross lands reserve entrance.
The educators and the children pointed out interesting things in the environment and really focused on giving the children time and space to connect and explore.
Some things they explored and learned about:
Scribbly gums – feeling the smooth bark, wiggly markings and sticky red sap
Banksias – feeling the rough bark, serrated edge leaves and seed pods
Sandstone – feeling the crumbly sandy texture, glittering surface and weight
Sticks, gumnuts, leaves and bark.
Everyone was instantly drawn to collecting a series of sticks which they enjoyed experimentally tapping on all the different surfaces around them and snapping into smaller pieces.
They also did a bit of digging and drawing in the sandy soil using the sticks.
They then came together in their group, sitting down on a rug for a drink and read the story “A Walk in the bush” by Gwyn Perkins. This book depicted many of the things they had just seen while exploring including the Scribbly gum and eucalyptus leaves which we enjoyed crunching in our hands and smelling.
“We were so excited to get out onto country for our first ever Nursery group excursion. We had such a lovely relaxing time out in nature, taking in all the sights and sounds.” – Megan