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Natural Disasters - Wildfires, Bushfires & Resilience in Fire Prone Places | Play-Based and Child-Led Learning

Alice Campbell
Average rating:5.0Number of reviews:(188)
Using nature-inspired, open-ended art, interactive storytelling & play, we will explore the experience of growing up in a wildfire or bushfire disaster prone area. We will build feelings of safety by exploring helping, kindness, community, wildlife and regrowth | #superstar | Neurodiverse, Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Gifted Inclusive.

Class experience

US Grade Pre-Kindergarten - 2
The intended learning outcomes for this class are aligned with the Australian and UK early years curricula. They are also consistent with the preschool/ early years curricula for NZ, China, Korea, and most European countries. This class utilises the Michigan Essential Literacy Practices Framework, and the Mathematics Learning Trajectories. 

Intended Learning Outcomes
1. I can explore, infer, predict, and hypothesise in order to develop an increased understanding of the environment and my relationship to it. 
2. I can broaden my understanding of the world in which I live.
3. I can develop a sense of belonging and comfort in my environments.
4. I can explore relationships with other living and non-living things, and observe, notice and respond to change. 
5. I can develop my understanding that symbols are a powerful means of communication and that ideas, thoughts and concepts can be represented through them. 

Critical Thinking Question(s)
1. Is change a bad thing or a good thing?

Science Content and Concepts
~ The natural environment is in a state of constant change. 

Mathematics Content and Concepts
~ Counting.
~ Comparing number.
~ Adding/ subtracting.
~ Patterns, structure and algebraic thinking.
~ 2D shapes.
~ Composing 2D shapes.
~ Disembedding shapes.
~ 3D shapes.
~ Composing 3D shapes.
~ Spatial visualisation and imagery.
~ Spatial orientation. 
~ Measurement (length).
~ Measurement (area).

Vocabulary and Speech
This class will provide a setting for children to develop and practice their vocabulary and speech relating to the content, concepts, and activities we are exploring. The words we will be using will include nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections. 

​Vocabulary (or knowledge of words) includes understanding their structure (morphology), use (grammar) and meanings (semantics). It also includes understanding how one word links to other words (word/semantic relationships). Oral and aural vocabulary skills (or, for non-speaking children, visual vocabulary skills) are absolutely crucial to later development of literacy decoding and reading comprehension and fluency. 

Because this is such an important skill gained in early childhood, I use a strong evidence-based and developmentally appropriate approach to vocabulary and speech development. This includes: 

𝗘𝘅𝗽𝗹𝗶𝗰𝗶𝘁 𝗩𝗼𝗰𝗮𝗯𝘂𝗹𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝗗𝗶𝘀𝗰𝘂𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻
Explicit vocabulary discussion means that, in this class we not only use words, but we may also sometimes talk about them. We might discuss, for example:
~ what does this word mean?
~ what words would communicate what we want? 
~ what other words can we use for this?

While these discussions are explicit, they are not a discrete part of our classes or delivered as a "lesson". Instead, we weave these into our organic discussions while we play, create and tell stories. I do not choose or have a "list" of specific words that children "must" learn. My approach is to respond to children's interests by offering explicit vocabulary discussion that is purposeful, and which helps each child engage with their goals, interests and motivations. This means that children are developing their vocabulary (and self-awareness of it) in a meaningful, relevant and active way. 

𝗘𝘅𝘁𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻
While it may seem "efficient" to get children to memorise, or rote learn, words - this approach has been shown to have no real value in speech/ language development generally, including vocabulary development. Rather, evidence confirms that the critical requirement for strong vocabulary and speech development is sufficient opportunity for children to engage in meaningful, two-way conversations that are interesting to them. 

To provide this for your child, I maintain very small class sizes and a child-led approach to learning. This ensures that each child has many opportunities to "chat" and "talk" with me and other learners throughout this class about the things that have captured their interest or that they are discovering. I focus on finding opportunities within these conversations to not only introduce new vocabulary, but to also extend and stretch each child's confidence in using and understanding vocabulary in speech. 
I am both a trained nurse and credentialed teacher, and a Play Therapist. I have over 30 years experience in working with young children, specialising in designing programs to improve children's developmental, educational/ learning and mental health/ well-being outcomes in both "typical" and complex circumstances. I have received numerous government and industry awards for my work in both teaching and therapeutic practice. 

My background includes working in universal/ public early childhood education settings, as well as in specialist areas including child protection, disability, mental health, family violence, trauma, and disaster/ conflict zones. I have postgraduate qualifications and training. This includes a Graduate Diploma in Disaster/ Trauma Recovery, and a wide range of certifications in early childhood mental health and other educational and therapeutic interventions including trauma-informed practices, and Circle of Security. Although this class is not a therapy intervention, I bring my extensive understanding of child well-being to ensure my classroom practices are trauma-sensitive and neuro-affirming. 

As an Australian, disasters - and particularly bush fires - are in my DNA. By the time I was 10 years old I had lived through seven bushfires, three of which directly threatened our property. As an adult, I have lived in numerous communities where bushfires were an ordinary part of our landscape. In 2003 I was in an area affected by one of the worst bushfires in Australian history, and was directly affected by the 2020 Australian Bushfires. At the same time as having my own lived experience of these (and other!) disasters, I was also working with young children in educational and well-being contexts throughout these times. Through these experiences I developed a strong capacity for meeting the learning needs of young children in these communities. Alongside therapeutic intervention for those children who need it, I developed a strong commitment to the role that teachers play in meeting the curiosity and learning needs of children growing up in areas where bushfires/ wildfires are increasingly common.  
Homework Offered
~ Materials for each session will need to be set up prior to the start time. This will typically take 10 minutes outside of class time. Younger children may need some additional help with this task. ~ After the first session, there will be a small homework activity to prepare some paper for our second session. This will take approximately 10 - 15 minutes.
0 - 1 hours per week outside of class
Assessments Offered
I do not use tests or other standardised approaches to assessing children's progress. In this age group, testing it is not developmentally appropriate and in some cases may be psychologically and academically harmful. However, as a teacher, I do believe it is important for me to be accountable to both children and parents. I aim to deliver classes that are not just "busy work" or entertainment, but which actively contribute to each child's learning in meaningful and sustainable ways. To do this, I use continuous observation of children's activity and conversation. When I make these observations, I am specifically considering the child's development in relation to the learning outcomes of the class (see above). I then routinely provide feedback to children. This may consist of: ~ positive affirmation (e.g. "I really liked the way you communicated your idea with that painting"); ~ positive reflection (e.g. "I wonder how you came up with that idea?"); and/ or ~ positive stretching (e.g. "I wonder if you could show that idea in other ways?). This is a wholistic approach to assessment. The child's response to my feedback helps me understand of "how far" they have traveled in their learning, and then "what comes next" in their learning. I welcome questions and inquiries from parents about their child's learning progress.
Grades Offered
 1 file available upon enrollment
The following materials will be needed for this class. 𝗡𝗼𝘁 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗶𝘁𝗲𝗺 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗯𝗲 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱𝗲𝗱 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗱𝗮𝘆. A detailed list of items needed for the first day of the class will be provided on enrolment. After each class, a list of the items needed for the following week will be provided. The materials needed for the full class include: ~ 2 - 3 interesting looking branches/ twigs from your park/ garden. ~ Different coloured twine, ribbons, wool. yarn. ~ Some small fabric scraps. ~ At least five sheets of watercolour paper. ~ Some other paper (printer or butcher's paper is fine) for painting. ~ Black tea bags, or coffee grounds (cheap/ homebrand is fine) ~ Either some colour pencils or wax crayons. ~ White/ pvc/ Elmer's/ School glue. Please place this in a dish with a paintbrush for ease of use. ~ Poster or acrylic paint (suggest minimum of 2 - 3 colours). ~ Paint brushes (any sort - cheap ones are fine). ~ A sharpie or black marker. ~ Child-safe scissors. ~ A collection of small cardboard boxes and recycled packaging (no larger than cereal-box size is needed for this class). And...your choice of collage materials such as: ~ Colourful scrap paper (junk mail, old magazines, wrapping paper, cup cakes, chocolate wrappers). ~ Bits of old ribbon, yarn/ wool, fabric scraps, buttons, etc. ~ Things from nature (leaves, flowers, bark, pebbles, sticks, pinecones, acorns, etc). ~ Recycled or household items (bottle tops, toothpicks, straws, etc). ~ Craft materials that you already have (e.g. pom-poms, glitter, craft sticks, pipe cleaners, etc).
~ This class is not a therapy session. If your child has recently experienced a wildfire or bushfire in which their safety was directly threatened, I strongly encourage you to seek input support from a qualified, professional therapist.

~ The texts and stories I use obviously discuss wildfires and bushfires. We will see hand-drawn images of fire (not photographs). In week two, we will discuss some of the sensory features of a bushfire, including the smells, sounds and sights that a bushfire brings. I have carefully selected stories that are age appropriate (please see the "Teacher Expertise" section for details of my credentials in this area) and which use animal/ toy characters. 

~ In this class I use a trauma-informed and trauma-sensitive teaching approach. This does not mean that this class is a therapy. Trauma-informed practice is a educational approach in which teachers use practices that support children's sense of safety in the classroom. This approach is based on the perspective that all children are entitled to access a learning environment in which they feel safe and can learn. My strategies for providing a trauma-sensitive classroom focus on providing children with maximum choice and control, and establishing a classroom atmosphere which emphaises relational safety (rather than, for example, forcing particular types of participation). I also welcome and encourage open communication with parents about how I can best support each child. More details of how I embed a trauma-informed approach in my teaching can be viewed in the class description, above. My qualifications, credentials and expertise in this area are described in the "Teacher Expertise" section.

The following text is used in this class (with permission):
~ Birdie and the Fire (Andrea Murray & Anil Tortop) (ISBN:  9780994600677). Please note that this book is designed and published by the Queensland Department of Health (Mental Health Unit) to be age appropriate and trauma-sensitive. 

The class draws from reports in the 2020 Australian bushfires, where wombats were observed to allow other animals in their underground burrows to shelter from fire. 

This class also draws from the following teaching/ educational approaches: 
~ Eight-Ways Pedagogy (Tyson Yunkaporta)
~ Creating Trauma-Informed, Strengths-based Classrooms (Tom Brunzell)
~ Circle of Security
~ Early Childhood Bushfire Education Resources (Emerging Minds & Australian National University)
~ Early Childhood Bushfire Education Resources (Be You/ Beyond Blue/ Australian Dept. Health)
Average rating:5.0Number of reviews:(188)
PLEASE NOTE: At this time, Alice is on an extended medical leave.  She is not currently booking classes and is unable to respond to messages at this time.

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Hello! My name is Alice. 

Through my independent teaching... 
Group Class


for 4 classes
1x per week, 4 weeks
40 min

Completed by 3 learners
Live video meetings
Ages: 4-8
4-6 learners per class

This class is no longer offered
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