Posted April 2020

The educators at KU Moss Vale Children’s Centre have been supporting their children, families and local community to stay positive over the past few months during the recent bushfires and current COVID-19 pandemic.

The children at the centre created paintings, collages, clay sculptures and a scarecrow to submit to the Annual Moss Vale Show, a regular event in their rural community. Despite the closure of the show due to the recent pandemic, the centre has been able to continue to support the local Moss Vale Show Society by submitting their artworks.

Children in the Preschool room designed and constructed a ‘fire fighter scarecrow’ to submit to the show, to show their support and thank their local fire service. The educators and children created a ‘thank you’ poster which they presented to the local fire brigade.

Despite the fact that several children are not currently attending the centre due to social isolation, the centre remains open and the educators have had a strong focus on maintaining their connections with families and the children’s sense of belonging.

Linking together with families through the online platform Storypark, the educators have been able to keep families informed of events and provide connections online. The staff have encouraged family involvement with activities at the centre including recording educators reading stories, visualisations and singing songs for the children at home to view.

A ‘rainbow trail’ carrying the message “we are all in this together: stay safe, be kind, take care” has been on display and the children at both home and at the centre have been encouraged to create colourful chalk drawings on their surrounding driveways, footpaths, fences or buildings or to create colourful rainbows, to display and brighten people’s lives, instilling a sense of happiness and joy in the community.

KU Moss Vale has also adopted the “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” initiative which has been growing around Australia. After reading the story to children, the staff placed a teddy bear in the centre’s front window and notified families of the “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – Southern Highlands” Facebook page so families could be involved by taking their children out for a walk, while remaining in isolation, and searching for the bears on display in the local neighbourhood.

With many children currently isolated from extended family and friends, KU Moss Vale has also created “a hug” – a painting made by tracing around everyone’s bodies with outstretched arms – to send with a special written message to their loved ones.