Welcome to my blog about my experiences working in early childhood. I have called it Nurturing Forests because I believe that raising children is not a isolated activity but takes a whole community.

As early childhood professionals, we are actively involved in this process but we also need to work closely with the children, parents, community as a whole and other allied professionals.

I hope you enjoy my site. I also have a facebook site of the same name where I provide links to useful sites for teachers, parents and others interested in the early childhood: www.facebook.com/nurturingforests

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Belonging Y Chart

Please please please don't tell me this exist somewhere easy .... and I apologise for re-creating/stealing the idea and acknowledge the original source http://www.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/eylfplp/newsletters/EYLFPLP_E-Newsletter_No5.pdf and highly recommend the whole document.

I just spent the last hour-ish whipping up a user friendly version of the Belonging Y Chart that is talked about (and pictured) in the latest EYLF newsletter.... you can access it here  https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B2yK5eVRe-QwOGJhYWZhYmEtMzNlOS00OTgzLWJkNDQtYjE4ODNlZGIzODhh&hl=en&authkey=CP7XqdsL

I am going to take this in tomorrow and use it as a conversation starter... the aim is to have staff and families contribute - still trying to work out if I'm going to have two - one in staff room and one next to diary - would love only one but am aware how some people (from both families and carers) find it intimidating and the aim is to start the conversation not squish it.

If you find it useful... would love to hear your input/stories

Searching for bargains

One aspect of me that seems to work very well in my new career is my constant search for quality materials at low prices especially as constant budget constraints are often a issue in the industry. There are a number of ways I look for bargains.

Michael and I have long held a love of the Rozelle 2nd Hand Market in Sydney ever since I dragged him into the Inner West (which much convincing) in 2005 (I'd lived in the area for years before.) I am now ashamed to admit that he realised its potential well before I did - he rarely buys his clothes anywhere else.

You will often find us at the markets both days (there are different stall holders) on nearly every weekend (unless we are in Newcastle) - we have also worked hard to convert my 10yr old step daughter to the cause... its working - she knows that if she buys stuff there she will get heaps more and really individual things - the other day she got a incredible huge pink flower ring (with diamantes) for 3 bucks! from London.

For example, today I bought...
- 3 second hand books - Atonement; A Oliver Sacks book on Music and the mind; & The unbearable lightness of being ($15) - I have a extensive library that I have been building for years - nearly all secondhand.
- 3 wooden trucks - one farm truck (incl 3 wooden animals), one fire truck and one digger (for a complete bargain of $12)
- Two fantastic Australian art books (for $8)
- and lots of plants - succulents, tarragon, jasmine, and curry leaf plant.(for about $20)

As you can tell was unsupervised by Michael today (he was at a work conference) so lots of cool things - otherwise would have had to buy him shirts and Lizzy dresses - like yesterday). I also find it great for real materials relating to a interest of a child.

In addition to the markets, I also subscribe to lots of sale sites, I LIVE on etsy.com (if you haven't been there go now....), and have signed up to I think nearly every loyalty card/email list in the known universe - Michael doesn't get it.

I love resource recycling centres such as Reverse garbage in Sydney http://www.reversegarbage.org.au/ and the recent gem from Sherry and Donna - Resource Rescue Craft Supplies .... http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/resourcerescuecraftsupplies

The Internet is fantastic for finding the best deals. I must admit my sister in law is even better than me at this....she is a fantastic bargain hunter who even on sale sites will check out the prices all over the Internet before buying - she is also a great bargain traveller.

I am also trying to learn how to do things myself e.g. knit, felt, sew and so on. One of my goals is making knitted toys by the end of the year and the Knitters Guild are wonderful and provide free learn to knit lessons each month

I also hoard and borrow from family... simple things like used wrapping paper, scarves, buttons and so on all have a role ....

What do you do to snare a bargain?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Moving on - Leaving my chickens behind

I'm about to embark on a new adventure and start a new job on Monday.

However, sadly, this means that I will be leaving my lovely children, parents and colleagues.

In my old career I use to do a lot of contracting so I'm reasonably used to moving onto new pastures (luckily, facebook helps me keep in contact).

But this is the first time I have been with these children and families for over 8 months. I have built a wonderfully close relationship with the children and their parents it will be a shame to leave them. I know what their (many) faces mean, I can predict their behaviour and I know what they love and what makes them laugh - I love turning up to work and hearing "hello Wendy" echo around the hall from the toddler room and my room.

Unfortunately, my particular working conditions meant I had to move on.

I have written all of my children a little card and been giving them out throughout the week to let them know I will miss them and that I love them. I tried to include something about their personalities in the card to make it unique for them

However, it is tricky territory - at all times I need to ensure that I am not telling parents or the children to come to my new centre.

In HR, we call it restraint of trade - basically if you move on you can't poach your clients (usually for 6mths but if you are in a very senior position it can be for years). There doesn't seem to be anything like this in the industry but out of respect for my boss I have self imposed it.

How do you manage moving on to a new job?

Lemonade Making

One of the most exciting play moments that has happened to me this year has been the making of lemonade with the children.

We made the lemonade because we were all outside playing in the sandpit making pretend drinks (including lemonade) and I suggested why don't we make it for real!  Starting a month long love affair with lemonade (that is still continuing for some of the children).

I found a no cook lemonade recipe online (from american profile) brought in the ingredients and went from there.

First, we wrote the recipe out on the white board. I started and then the children wrote a line each (these were mostly the older children) 

We then all worked together. First, the children were given a lemon and we talked about how we were going to get the juice out - lots of suggestions!

Then I cut the lemons up and gave each child a half. I asked them to not taste the lemon until they had juiced their half (some couldnt resist so luckily we had spares).

The children juiced their half each and added it to the large measuring jug.

Then when that was done we moved onto the sugar. Each child added a spoon each.
Then we all had a turn stirring (counting to ten as we went). Then we added the water and then we drunk it!!

It was very exciting and surprisingly delicious.

The children and I proceeded to make lemonade over and over with same and different children over the next few weeks. At one stage we even added limes to the recipe (I had some at home which were looking a bit worse for wear).

I supported this learning experience by a poster talking and showing about the process including the recipe which you can see below and pictures of each step. I placed lemons, the juicer and the measuring cups on this seat (didnt have a spare table). Here the children are pretending they are at a lemonade stand.

I also provided opportunity for further exploration through dramatic play.--providing the materials with wooden fruit. Below this child is making lemonade.

And he is sharing it with his friend. You can just see in the blue cup is just wooden lemon

Here is a different day and different children also exploring making the lemonade in dramatic play.

The children got so good at making the lemonade I didn't even have to tell them what to do - just give them the materials!!

Come over and play at the Childhood 101 "We Play" link-up.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Posting comments

Hi Everyone

There seems to be a bit of trouble with posting comments.

If your comment doesn't process properly - choose placing your comment up as anonymous.

Hopefully it will be fixed soon

Cheers, Wendy

Monday, February 21, 2011

Interpreting Children's Art

I read a comment this morning next to a child's artwork - that the child's artwork was too abstract and involved no thought and that she needed to learn more "realistic" art. Have located a photo of the creation of the art work in question (above)

Please tell me you see the problem with the above comments by the carer. Especially when I tell you that the carer had not been with the child when she made the piece (which was beautiful and involved a lot of complex colour mixing of different hues - and lines).

Research and practice surrounding children's art has evolved a lot in the past decade. Educators should now be aware that children do not just "scribble" it has meaning and thought just like any art work a adult completes.

I agree that children should be taught the skills to draw and paint. For example I recently did an observation commenting that a child is starting to draw people so we should give her some models.

I highly recommend the above book as a good place to start if you are interested in this topic.

Worksheets - why not to use them

I have often seen worksheets used as way of "ensuring" the child's learning is measured and as a way of observing.

I was taught at university that there are a million ways you can achieve this goal without reverting to worksheets. Or being university, we were told you can use them if you want but you have to show that there is research supporting the use of them in children's learning if you wanted to get any marks for it (i personally have never come across any research that has recommended worksheets).

It is important to think of ways you can integrate the learning you are interested in observing into the children's play. E.g. if you want to check their ability to use scissors - put out collage and boxes with scissors, you will quickly find the skill levels. If you are with a younger group, put non-cutting scissors out with play dough.

Similarly, with writing their name, get the child to write their own name on their art work, get them to sign in (next to the official sign in), provide constant and varied writing opportunities for the children. You will rapidly see the children's writing evolve (and very neatly you will have a log of dates as well). Encourage the children - if they say they can't say that's not true and they need to try.

So next time you go to use a worksheet - ask yourself how else can you achieve what you are looking for. I highly recommend using some of the brilliant blogs on the Internet for inspiration if you are stumped for ideas.... e.g. Teacher Tom, Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning, Childhood 101

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Girls and Trucks - Genderised Play

Gender bias is something we covered frequently, and in detail, at university so I was ashamed to realise I was subject to it this weekend.

I have brought home from my old job a number of trucks (that I had paid for - don't ask) - a digger, cement truck and a garbage truck. I simply assumed my ten year old step daughter would not be interested in them. So stashed them in her book shelf without any thought.

However, yesterday she came out to me - overjoyed that she now had "really cool" trucks to play with and how she required sand to play with them properly.

After getting her some play sand this morning (put it in the water shell that we bought for the dogs but they refuse to use) - she spent all morning playing with the trucks!!

Just thought I would share it with you - just in case you see a really cool truck and think your daughter wont be interested!

Using local resources: Australian Museum, Sydney

We went to the Australian Museum on Saturday and I highly recommend it for anyone (whether with children or not).

It was amazing and very hands-on. I especially loved the interactive computer in the animal section - and the children around me spent ages enjoying it as well. How can you go wrong with a table that interacts to your touch and has crocodiles and sharks appear from nowhere to attack you!? Interestingly, I saw the exact same sort of table on the Bond movie Quantum of Solace last night

I am aware of centres that regularly take their preschool ages to the museum and the museum has a very strong educational bent these days. Many have early childhood teachers on their staff (isn't that a great career path if you are interested).

I have attached the link to the education services they provide. If you cant make it to the museum I highly recommend checking out the museum in a box link - as they will send things out to you. http://australianmuseum.net.au/education-services

If you haven't been recently put it on your must do list....

Thursday, February 17, 2011

White on Black: Art Inspiration

Just a quick post today as I feel like I have been a little remiss...

I thought I would tell you about the wonderful art class I had yesterday.

The focus of the lesson was line. So our teacher got us to use black paper and white gouache (you could substitute this with - acrylic, white chalk, oil pastels, basically anything along those lines - though gouache is a wonderful medium so would love to try it with the children soon).

As inspiration, she provided us with a number of black and white prints (for some she used pictures that were not actually black and white but came out that way when photocopied). You are looking for pictures with a black background and that you have to explore the concept of negative space - i.e. you are applying the light not the dark which you typically do.

Note that she provided us with inspiration/art works to learn the skill from - this is something that i believe really strongly in  - A child (or adult) cannot learn art skills out of thin air they have to see examples of the work you are aim for and you have to help them see and learn the skills that are necessary to master the art.

Initially, I thought this exercise would be reasonably easy but when you settle into the task you quickly begin to realise the thought that the artist has put into the composition and line in the drawing. One piece in particular that I spent most of the class working out was fitted together like a beautiful jigsaw puzzle of gymnasts... I will try and find a link to for you (just had a quick look then and got nowhere - he is an Australian artist who did a whole series of gymnast paintings before moving on to dance scenes - if you know it let me know).

I highly recommend it as a something to try out yourself and with your children.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Books lovely books....

One of my favourite past-times is reading so I thought I might share today some of my current top 3 favourite picture books and grown up books.

First the picture books:

1) Rabbit's Year: http://www.bdb.com.au/books/rabbits_year

Beautiful simple prose, great story. I was lucky enough to have a small brown knitted rabbit that I recently found at the Rozelle Markets - so I acted the story out with my preschoolers. In short- it rocked!

2) The Wonky Donkey - hilarious, great use of rhyme

3) The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane: Michael has been in love with this author for a while now. So he read it out loud to us on our beach holiday. It is about 200 pages but is so beautifully written I believe you could even do it with 3-5 year olds over a few days. It is a beautiful story about a porcelain rabbit who learns to love. Must admitted the first few chapters about his arrogance and self obsession had me crying with laughter.

Now for the grown ups:

1) Wolf Hall : Now when I first was reading this it felt a bit heavy but it has stayed with me and resparked a interest in the time of Henry the VIII and his life. Plus it links beautifully with the Tudors which is currently on ABC2 on Friday nights.

2) The Slap: Follows the story of a gathering who are all impacted by a child being slapped by an adult (not their
parent) for misbehaviour. An excellent exploration of this taboo area of what to do when a child is being badly behaved. Plus it is currently being made into a tele-movie and will be on our screens soon with some of Australia's best actors.

3)  The Children's Book: Again you might need a chick lit book to read in between every now and then as this is a thick book but it is incredible rewarding. It explores the turn of the century into the 1900s and parents relationships with the children, plus art at the time and children's literature.

Finally, A fun one (well, if you can knit - I can't and I bought it anyway. It does have a westie on the front (well the Australia version in the shops called 'best in show' does) and I do intend to learn!) Knit Your Own Dog: Easy-to-Follow Patterns for 25 Pedigree Pooches

Enjoy! Would love to hear your feedback if you have read them and see picys of the knitted dogs ;)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Warm Responsive Care

Not sure if it has happened to you but frequently on prac placements and now at work I face the issue of being disapproved of by the other carers for providing what I call 'warm responsive care' to the children

For example
- I will cuddle a child if they are crying
- I will let the children make choices
- I work hard at making toileting and nappy changing a fun interactive experience
- even sometimes following the interests of the child

At its most extreme I have been criticised for:
- picking up a crying baby
- cuddling a unsettled child with downs syndrome because it is "spoiling" him
- being over-supportive of a new child because "they need to learn to play with the children not the adults that's not what we are here for". This particular discussion also included being told that the only reason you would spend time with the children is because it is a ego boost (go figure - who thought that's why you talk to children in care!)
- looking after a child who had decided he had 'lost' all of his friends because they were going on to primary school and he wasn't
- i could go on and on..... but won't - it'll get boring and it will turn the post into another rant.

Louise Porter has a excellent book that talks about guidance and how to provide quality responsive care to children. I can't recommend it enough see link to the left.

I also recommend any thing about the Reggio Emilia method and the Curtis and Carter books (see the bottom of this blog for links).

As part of this is the issue of controlled crying, personally I think this is such a big issue that I will reserve it for another post where I can provide you with the most up-to -date research - in summary - do not do it!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Documentation & the Project Approach

One of the things I am still experimenting with is documentation. I know this was what my practicums were meant to help with but those documents were VERY labour intensive and don't quite suit my current situation (though i can see myself possibly using them anyway for awhile and then trimming them down).

I have just been searching through what i was using for my prac and found a clever little document that one of the uni girls was using - I would love to share it but need her permission first.

But to give you a rough idea  - it is a wheel where the idea/interest/project is in the middle and then the areas from the NSW Curriculum Framework - social child, thinking child etc etc. Its a way of thinking about the curriculum and trying to plan for the 'whole child'.

However, a lot of the literature talks not taking this approach and the fact that often we are artificially separating and segmenting how learning occurs by taking this approach. Often if a project is well planned and provisioned for by following the direction of the children (but note here not doing nothing - but providing provocations and leading the learning by showing the children where to access the information and scaffolding experiences) it will meet all of these componentss of the children.

A site I have found very reassuring and inspiring is Early Childhood Research and Practice. It is a completely online (and free) journal -http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/index.html. It was founded by Lilian Katz (and some others) from The Project Approach books. You will notice in each issue is an example of a project that has been done in practice e.g. the latest issue follows the journey of 3-5 year olds exploring and investigating car a wash.

I think I will be spending tonight collating a group of documentation approaches including pedagogical documentation (which I still have a long way to go with), learning stories, anecdotes, mix murals of pictures taken over the last month, jottings categorised by outcomes (I might do one template for the NSW Curriculum Framework as that's what my colleagues are familiar with and one for the EYLF) and maybe some things from the Curtis and Carter books.... OK maybe I wont be able to achieve all of that tonight but hopefully over the next few weeks. For a number of reasons - to challenge myself, to enable my colleagues to challenge their perceptions of the children and to ensure I am truly seeing the child.

One other gem I wanted to share from my ECA meeting on Friday. Melissa reminded me that with the EYLF don't use the outcomes and forget the rest of the document. Instead look at what you are doing in your practice and ask yourself why? The examples of the educator's behaviours will naturally lead to the outcomes.....

So when you go to work tomorrow and set up the room
 - ask yourself why did i put that there?
- why is that book in the book case?
- how is what I'm doing for group integrated into what the children are doing?
- how is the way we behave at transitions and meals reflect our beliefs about the child and our philosophy of learning?
- how is our documentation showing the diversity of learning in our centre?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Getting our voices heard: Advocacy in Early Childhood

I attended the NSW Branch meeting for Early Childhood Australia this morning. It was a lovely 'yarn' (we decided after we managed to get off track a thousand times) with some great people with some fabulous ideas. Here's their website if you don't know them... http://www.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/

In particular, Melissa Smith worked us through some complex and challenging questions about developing a reconciliation action plan for the organisation. Melissa works both for CSU and DET and is very inspiring  http://www.csu.edu.au/faculty/educat/teached/dubbo/staff/melissa_smith.html

But as I sat there talking to these women, I wondered to myself why are there only 7 of us here? Isn't Early Childhood Australia our peak professional body? How can we expect to drive change in the industry if none of us are actually willing to get involved?

Our industry still has a long way to - terms and conditions, recognition of training (or even the need for it), quality care plus a thousand other things and the only way this will change is through advocacy....

I know not everyone can commit time (or the money for memberships - but ECA and IEU memberships are a very good idea and you can claim it on tax) but there are other things we can all do.....
- get on board with 'teachers are teachers' campaign that is being run by the IEU - http://www.teachersareteachers.org.au/
- participate in online forums like the EYLF PLP
- talk to staff and families about the importance of quality education and care (and what that actually is)
- join other groups such as Social Justice for EC (its free and they do a great job). Here's their website http://www.socialjusticeinearlychildhood.org/ 
- sign up to blogs, emails, twitter feeds, and facebook pages about early childhood and get involved in the conversations that are happening - there are some great blogs out there have a look at my blog profile for some ideas if you don't know where to start

So that's my rant for the day and I'll try and paste another practical post tomorrow to balance it - sorry if you're not that kind of person but as my fellow uni grads know - I am the kind of person that likes to talk up and kick up a fuss ;) and find it so much fun you might enjoy it too!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Adjusting to my new career

This morning as I was filling the outdoor toilet paper I thought to myself that the best training for my current position was the 7 years I spent as a casual at Hungry Jacks from when I was just under 15 to when i was 21.

This job taught me how to clean, follow through, lead small teams (drive thru), taking responsibility for tasks, the complex mix of independence and reliance that is created in a workplace.

Don't get me wrong my Arts(Psych) degree helps with understanding human behaviour but it was very theoretical. From memory only 1 or 2 of the subjects that I chose to complete were practical. However, I was, by the end, very good at highly complicated psychological statistics

My Commerce (human resources + industrial relations) was again spectacularly impractical for a so called 'business degree' - something that i quickly learnt when i commence work as a HR graduate.

Finally, my recent Masters of Teaching (Birth to 5) is one of the most hands on courses I have studied but it doesn't prepare you for nappy changing (often because of prac restrictions), cleaning toilets, serving food, balancing a large boisterous group of mix ages at the end of the day after a LOOOONNNGGG day, not to mention the Pandora's box of children's illnesses. I sometimes wish that a couple of my prac supervisors would return on a regular basis so I can debrief with them.

I also find the limited grown up interaction sometimes difficult esp. coming from human resources .... to resolve this I can see myself (and am already) following up professional memberships and returning to university either to complete my PhD or maybe a Masters of Educational Leadership ... but not right away I need a few years to enjoy no assignments and I want to go to Europe next year....

What have you found to be challenging?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Allowing Time for Mastery

On my facebook page recently I added a link that showed a day in the life of a Waldorf/Steiner preschool. One of the things they talked about is allowing time for children to understand and master a story.

This carries a strong resonance with me - particularly with art projects.

Firstly, I believe it is vital to provide the children with artist quality materials. If you provide the children with cheap materials you will find the children tend not to respect the materials, they will not be able to create high quality artworks and often you don't save money as the materials do not last.

Secondly, I believe that the children need to be provide the same (or similar) art experiences on a regular basis. Through this the children develop skills and knowledge of the materials - leading to more complex and insightful work. This does not necessarily mean every day - though i think a writing /drawing table should be out every day.

I have been putting this believe in practice over the last month at my centre - and the beautiful artworks that the children creating are a great reassurance in this philosophy (i will post some tonight when i download my photos).

In addition, on the curriculum front, one of my prac supervisors once told me that the creation of beautiful artworks by a child (especially one where they invest a lot of time in creating it) is a incredible example of the spiritual child and their understanding of beauty in the world

Friday, February 4, 2011

Nurturing a forest (community)

I realised that after spending ages thinking of the title of this blog I haven't actually made any attempt to explain it.

I decided on nurturing forests because it reflects my philosophy that through early childhood practices we can influence the community (and the community should be integrated as well). I started with growing forests but then realised this didn't reflect the roles of the families and communities and what impact they have on their children. The forest concepts represents the entire complex ecological system that is necessary to raise a happy, healthy, confident child (and a inclusive community for that matter).

A very strong interest of mine that has been heightened significantly since retraining into the early childhood field is the concept of community and building a sense of community with those around you. This can be as simple as saying hello to your neighbour (a big step in Sydney ) - we even mow our neighbours nature strip as she is away travelling a lot, smiling and wishing good morning to those on a walk to the other end of the scale where you are involved in volunteering for local community causes.

Other things I think are important are supporting people in need. For example, despite my salary being significantly reduced since retraining I still support the Red Cross by donating for natural disaster relief internationally, I have chipped in for the Queensland flood appeal and I always buy my big issue.....

I recently was annoyed at my parents for not chipping in to the flood appeal (and have told them off). But I realised today my dad has been volunteering for the bush fire brigades for approximately 30 years so he has made a substantial to the community in a cause he is very passionate about (He can't go to a house without assessing it for fire hazards and he is the only person I know who's idea of a good time is fighting huge fires in 40 degree heat). My dad has always done this work and it was major part of my childhood. However the reason it came home today was that today a man was killed by a tree when fighting fires with my dad - suddenly the dangerousness of it all hit home.

How do you contribute to your community? What practices at your centre reflect the impact and influence of child's entire ecological system?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Printmaking with Scratchfoam

Having been inspired by a recent Teacher Tom post http://teachertomsblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/real-printmakers.html - I recently gave scratchfoam a go in my classroom.

If you don't know Scratchfoam - it works like lino printing but you don't need all of the really sharp tools. The children can make a imprint on the foam with a pencil or anything else with a point. Teacher Tom very nicely provided a Amazon link but as Amazon doesn't ship those kind of things to Australia (however you can use a site like hop shop go ) I found a Australian supplier Cavalier Art Supplies - who are wonderful and very affordable.... www.cavalierart.com.au

I also purchased some small rollers (about 2inch wide) and a nice paint palette (just from my local art supply shops).

I gave the children red, yellow, blue and black. I learnt quickly to allocate a roller to each colour and I gave the children a cloth to clean there scratchfoam between each print. Each child was given a small rectangle of foam.....

Any way it worked out lovely...... I love the way this child even has the print the same way up in every tile

Throwing Cameras - high expectations dashed

I learnt the hard way yesterday that having high expectations of the children does not always work out.

For the last month, for at least a few hours during the day the children have successfully borrowed and used my camera. This has led to some absolutely beautiful shots and it is incredible to watch a 2 year old successfully aim and take a photo.

Primarily it has been my preschoolers that have had the camera.

Unfortunately in a moment of exuberance yesterday my camera got broken - I didn't see exactly what happened but the reports from the children was that it got thrown across the room!. This is from the same children who have been incredibly careful with my camera for all of January.

But it wasn't so much the shock that the child had thrown my camera but her reaction that worried me the most -  she poked her tongue out at me! I did get a sorry but only after I suggested that that might be a good place to start.

Some of the children offered to buy me a new camera for my birthday - but as i pointed out to them i don't think they have access to that much money.

Luckily for the child my camera was already starting to die after surviving all my practicals so I was (relatively) calm. Unfortunately, it did have the impact of re-affirming with the other carers that I was being too cavalier by letting 'children' use my camera....

I have really enjoyed watching and using the shots of the children - does anyone have any suggestions  on how i can continue this without an attrition rate of a camera a month?