In the past at Treehouse, we have celebrated our end of year celebrations with the traditional Santa, gifts and songs that the children would be learning over the weeks leading up to the special event. On the day the children and educators (mostly educators) would all sit around and sing these songs to their family – most of the children shell-shocked by all the families that would be watching. After these songs the children would welcome Santa and sit around in a large group and wait for their names to be called to receive a book from the man in the red suit. This process would take quite a long time with children waiting very anxiously for their present.
This year during the lead up to our end of year celebration it was decided at an educators meeting that we would do things a little differently. Talking to the children about what it was that they wanted it was clear that even the children didn’t value all the important work and learning they do when they come to Treehouse. Talk of Santa, jumping castles and presents was at the forefront of their minds.
We wanted to mark the end of the year by showcasing the great work that both children and educators do by calling it ‘What I like to do when I come to Treehouse”.
By using the skills of educators at Treehouse that had expertise in different areas of arts, media and sound we were able to put together a very wide range of visual and audio presentations.
There was representation of the children’s artwork, documentation of children’s learning journeys, sculpture, photography (from educators and children, including some from the very young nursery children), movies and audio of a small group of children playing in a rocket ship.
Families were welcomed and invited to enter from any door and spend time in all the classrooms looking and listening to what it is that we do every day at Treehouse.
The feedback from families has been extraordinary, including families using language like ‘more meaningful, respectful, amazing, relaxed, intentional and talented ‘ – making it very obvious that families were starting to have an understanding of the learning that happen when their children come to Treehouse. This acknowledgment of the work that the educators had done in putting the exhibition together made it truly worthwhile.
To say that I’m incredibly proud of the team of educators working here is an understatement – they make my job easy. This team of dedicated educators deserved to be taken seriously and I think we have achieved that this year in our exhibition.
And no-one missed Santa at all.