Welcome to all our new families


We are delighted to meet you and get to know you and your child.

It is a busy time of year for us, with many new families starting. By setting aside planned time for orientations, the team is able to spend one-on-one time with each family and child to assist them to settle.

I have some introductions to do!

I introduce Ben, who has returned to work with us: Ben. As well as working with us for a few years, Ben  did his Certificate 3 traineeship with us. Ben recently graduated with a Bachelor Degree in History. We are very fortunate that Ben is also a musician and he often shares this with the children. Ben works in the kindergarten on Wednesdays.

Recently, Hamish joined the team. Hamish is Michelle’s (she works in the babies room) cousin! He has his Certificate 4 as a Teacher’s Assistant. Hamish will work a couple of days a week in the Kindergarten. Hamish is an accomplished soccer player, who has experience working with people with disabilities.

Kim is a 4th year teaching student. Kim works in the kindergarten, sharing her amazing musical talents.

Those of you that know Bridget will be happy to see her back in the centre. Bridget worked as our Officer Administrator for a few years. Bridget has a Bachelor of Legal Studies and is currently completing her Juris Doctor. We are delighted that Bridget has returned to work with our under 3’s.

Very soon, Liat will be returning after the birth of her 4th boy! Like Narenne, Liat supports our deaf children’s language development by extending their signing, sign vocabulary and syntax proficiency. She also provides support for our team’s ongoing learning in Auslan.

You can see from the number of staff that return to work with us, that we have an amazing staff retention rate. Many of our staff have worked here for over 7 years. One of us has worked here for 17 years! It is not widely known that I have a wait list for people wanting to work here!

Enjoy getting to know our wonderful team.


Centre Manager

Nutrition for big and small people

Hi everyone

As you can imagine, the team see a lot of lunch boxes! We have a unique view into what food parents are packing for their children.

We also think about our own nutrition a lot. Recently, I found the following updated food pyramid. It interested me because it was strikingly different from food pyramids that have been around over the years.

The main difference is that most of our food should be derived from vegetables! I can remember previous food pyramids allocated the largest space to grains. As I reflected on this, I realized that for most of us, our diets are still heavily reliant on grains.

Many of the children have wonderfully nutritious lunch boxes that contain interesting and diverse foods.

Sadly, some of the children’s lunch boxes contain deep fried foods, lots of refined grains and sugars. This seems to come from the believe that it is better for a child to eat something – anything!

I came across this poster. It has some great tips for managing fussy eaters whilst retaining a nutritious range of food.

Let me know if you would like me to print a copy of either of these. Even as a vegan, with all the  dietary care that comes with this, even I have put a food pyramid poster on my fridge!


Welcome back to MUCCK

Welcome back everyone,

2017 has been wonderful so far. Most of our children and staff have returned and we are expecting some late “holidayers” (both children and staff) to return in the coming weeks. It is great to meet some new friends and to help them settle into the new environment.

We have had some exciting developments in our grounds. The new turf we installed in the babies yard, is thriving from some extra care. When this has established itself fully – we will start planting some new garden beds.

Even bigger news is our replacement shed. The pad for this will being poured on Monday the 23rd of January and the structure will be put in during mid February. The shed is designed to allow the children to choose and move resources themselves. It will also allow them to “drive” through 2 entries. We have made a Lotteries West grant application to fit out the inside of the shed with shelves and trollys and to replace some aging outdoor equipment.

As ever we provide a very high level of education and care for all children. Our program is extensively multilingual and the whole program is bilingual with Auslan and English.

We are thrilled to have Ruru with her specialty in Mandarin language and Liat with her Auslan Specialty join the program on a more consistent basis.

Happy Lunar New Year


Jacqui and the team

Relating Intimately with Whadjuk Boodjar

Djilba Foyer Display

Our Noongar  Foyer Displays

Have you ever wondered why MUCCC has an ever changing display in the foyer?

Generally, we like to have a tactile foyer display, to explore some of the concepts associated with the Noongar “Calendar”. It is designed to provoke thought and discussion. At other times of the year, we have displays that relate to other family celebrations.

We choose to create a display relating to the Noongar calendar, as an invitation to experience the natural world around us (on campus) in a wholistic way. It provides us with a physical reminder that we are on Whadjuk land and that the custodians of this land, both past and present, have important knowledge about the land, the plants, the animals and the weather.

The Noongar “calendar” draws attention to 6 “seasons” within the year. These seasons are characterised by dominant weather systems and the food production associated with them. The “seasons” are as follows:
Birak –  December and January, warm days that are cooled by sea breezes –  a time of burning to modify the land to enhance game grazing patterns
Bunuru – February and March, hot weather with no rain – traditional Noongar life centred around the ocean at this time of year
Djeran – April and May, warm days-  as the nights get cooler – bulbs and seeds were collected. Frogs and turtle were the dominant proteins consumed
Makuru – June and July, coolest and wettest time of year – groups migrate inland and consume iron rich game, such as kangaroo and emu. Bush potatoes were collected along established routes
Djilba – August and September, days become warmer and rains continue – roots were collected and emu, kangaroos and possums were hunted
Kambarang – October and November, warmer days and nights, dryer weather – Reptiles, cray fish and eggs dominated the food production at this time of year

Instead of telling young children about cultural practices, it is more appropriate to show them. Displays allow us to share knowledge in a non-didactic way.

The current display for Djilba is a celebration of the warming weather trend with its associated mating and nesting behaviours in amphibians, reptiles and birds. A walk around any of the local wetlands reveals a cacophony of frog sounds.

As the custodians of this Whadjuck Noongar land, the Noongar people have much to teach us about weather patterns, conservation, land use and food production. Many of the traditional dreaming stories provide rich information on sustainable land use and hunting practices.

Daily, the educators refer the local land custodians: “Nidja Beeliar Whadjuk Boodjar” (This is Beeliar Whadjuk Country).

In this way, we hope to provide learning experiences where children can learn to relate to the local environment in an intimate and responsible way. These learning experiences also share a respect and interest in Noongar culture and knowledge.

Yours in Whadjuk Boodjar,



Curriculum Extension at MUCCC

Welcome to 2016 at MUCCC

I would like to introduce you to some of the curriculum extension programs that are happening behind the scenes, throughout all groups.

Next week we are excited to welcome Ruru, a student who worked with us last year. Ruru will be conducting a Mandarin language immersion  program on Friday mornings. She will be based in the Kindergarten and will spend time in each of the groups. Ruru will speak Mandarin for most of her time with us. This will provide a huge boost to our Mandarin speaking children’s sense of identity and convey the service’s value of Mandarin. For the non-Mandarin children, Ruru’s work will extend on our general cultural/linguistic awareness and provide opportunities for children to extend their knowledge and skills in identifying and creating phonemes. Phonemic awareness is considered a strong indication of smooth literacy acquisition.

The children and staff in the babies and junior Kindergarten groups will be learning some basic Auslan from our Communication Support Worker, Lisa. We will be encouraging all adults and children to develop Auslan awareness and to develop some simple sign communication.

I will be conducting focused music classes with each group. The children will be learning about the basic concepts of music and how to express these through playing instruments and using their bodies to create sound. Each group will have a weekly session tailored to the developmental needs and interests of the group. Educators will follow these sessions with repeated experiences, providing opportunities for the children to explore the concepts introduced at the music session. Music education has been linked to improved levels of numeracy, mathematics and literacy.

Happy Lunar and Solar New Year to you all



Exciting Times at MUCCC

Hi everyone

I thought an update was in order, as we have been having such an exciting time, recently.

Last week we celebrated Diwali, with Chandrani. The children (in all the 2yrs +  groups) made diyas and we had sparklers and Mango Lassis. We also managed to have all of our staff wearing saris!

Diwali Sari Women

The Koorlanga (Senior Kindergarten) children are participating in the campus Bandicoot study. We have hunted for Quenda (Western Brown Bandicoot) holes and noted the difference between these and rabbit holes. The children have been very excited to learn that Quendas are omnivores: eating underground fungi spores, small insect larvae and roots.


On Wednesday the 18th of November, Kate Bryant and Mike Taylor will be coming to the Kindergarten to show the children the process of trapping, measuring and observing for the Campus Quenda Study. Can’t wait!

The Karda group (Junior Kindergarten) have been super interested in how water moves, specifically waterfalls. We are currently experimenting with ways to create a “sheet” of water.

The Sitaray group (0 – 2s) are interested in helicopters and planes. They are creating a helicopter mobile.

The Amici group (2-3s) are interested in bikes and have a little gang of “bikers” who whiz around the bike path in a group. They are also interested in silly songs and silly dancing.

As you can see, we are all having a great time and learning a lot about ourselves, our environment and our community.







Essential Childhood Skills: Entry to Play

Hi Everyone

One of the many aspects of children’s development, that we observe and assess, is their ‘entry to play’ skills. In their 3rd and 4rd year, children usually display a repertoire of social skills which allow them to develop friendships, to enter and sustain their play experiences.

To a parent, this may seem of little significance, but for children’s continuing success, this is of vital importance.

I prepared the following for the team, to encourage some more thought about the importance of children’s ‘entry to play’ skills.

The Importance of ‘Entry to Play’ Skills
There is a tendency in Early Childhood Education to ‘let the children play’ without educator involvement. There are some good reasons for this, such as:
• providing children with opportunities to practice play and social skills
• allowing children space and time to develop play scripts that represent their own ideas
• allowing children to play and interact at their chosen level
• freedom from adult intervention and expectation.
As you will read below, there are some very important reasons to both monitor children’s play and to intervene strategically in their play. In a nutshell, the reasons that it is important to monitor children’s play are to assess the following:
• Children’s social development
• Children’s language development
• Children’s emotional development
• Children’s cognitive development
With this information, educators may assess that some children, if not all children, need some extra support in developing key skills. In this instance, we will explore social skills and acknowledge that social skills provide a gateway to the development of language, cognition and self-regulation.
Research tells us that:
• Assertive children who gave commands, both negatively and positively, and who argue during interactions with peers, receive more peer acceptance and are able to achieve their goals in social contexts (LaFreniere & Charlesworth, 1983).
• Popular and socially active young children enter play more easily than children who are withdrawn in group play situations
• Strong ‘entry to play’ behaviours (direct initiation strategies and contingent responses) are a strong indicator of children’s social acceptance and competence
• Successful achievement of one’s goals through interaction with a partner (i.e., effective peer functioning) is considered a good index of social competence with peers (Kemple et al., 1992).
• Social competence is assessed both by peers and adults. These unconscious and conscious assessments will affect the ways that these people perceive individuals and respond to them.

Therefore, intentionally teaching skills to enter play, increases the likelihood of social competence, peer acceptance, sophisticated play experience which enhance development across all areas.

Tools for Assessing Children’s ‘Entry to Play’ Skills
Children will already have strategies for socialising with others. They will either have a tendency towards ‘low risk’ skills or ‘high risk’ skills. ‘Low risk’ skills may gain them attention but are unlikely to gain them entrance to play or to sustain their participation in play. Including others in play also requires a range of social skills from ‘low risk’ to ‘high risk’.
Children’s low-risk tactics for entering play:
• Waiting to join in and/or hovering around an activity
• Interfering with the flow of the game, disrupting play
• Removing an important play prop
• Hitting others to gain attention
Children’s low risk strategies for inclusion of others
• “Bossy” and controlling behaviours
• Actively stopping others from joining the game
• Using violence to assert their power
• Leaving the game when others are not compliant to their wishes
Children who can draw on ‘high risk’ social skills have a broader repertoire of behaviour and tend to have a higher participation rate in meaningful friendships and play experiences. They also tend to employ a broader range of skills in including others in their play.
Children’s High-risk tactics for entering play
• Subtly mirroring/mimicking others’ actions
• Making group-oriented statements
• Recognizing relevant behaviours related to the group members’ play and understanding the relevance of these behaviours
• Participating in negotiation and showing agreement
• Giving relevant information
Children’s High risk strategies for inclusive play
• Social competent children tend to be effective in their initiation attempts and also sensitive to peers’ initiations.
• Social competent children accept rather than reject peers’ initiations,
• Social competent children make contingent responses to a peer’s preceding initiation,
• Social competent children give an alternative idea when they reject a peer’s initiation (Kemple et al., 1992).
Supporting ‘Entry to Play’ Skills Development – Educator Strategies
Monitoring children’s play is essential in the assessment of all areas of development and the acknowledgement of children’s interests and learning dispositions. Monitoring children’s play will also provide the information needed to assess which children need support (‘entry to play’) and specific skills to focus on.
Strategies that support children’s ‘entry to play’ skills:
• Facilitating play with younger children (Kemple, 1992).
• Pairing a child or a small group of children who have demonstrated acceptance to others in a carefully arranged situation, such as play that involves a shared space (e.g., a small tent, a big box, or a play house), also increases confidence with peers.
Teachers can increase children’s pretend play by:
1) providing play themes and suitable materials
2) encouraging children to join in and adopt specific play behaviours,
3) assuming a role and actively joining in the children’s play 4) modelling the target play behaviours (Saltz, Dixon, & Johnson).

Positive affection between peers strongly correlates with sociability with peers in subsequent years. Positive affection toward peers is expressed through:
smiling, hugging, comforting,
Sharing, and helping.
Teaching alternative behaviours to aggressiveness, such as:
Reading others’ emotional cues and using negotiation skills
Facilitating small-group or one-to-one peer play interaction for withdrawn children
Modelling the use of entry behaviours, communication skills, and complex pretend play
Creating environments that support interaction with younger children and complex pretend play
Developing classroom rules that help reduce experiences of rejection, such as “everyone can play this game” (Paley, 1992, p. 36).

Heidemann, S., Hewitt, D. (2002) Play: The Pathway from Theory to Practice, St. Pau: Redleaf Press
Kemple, K. M. (1992). Understanding and facilitating preschool children’s peer acceptance (Report No. EDO-PS-925). East Lansing, MI: National Center for Research on Teacher Learning. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 345866)
Kemple, K., Speranza, H., & Hazen, N. (1992). Cohesive discourse and peer acceptance: Longitudinal relations in the preschool years. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 38, 364-381.
LaFreniere, P. J., & Charlesworth, W. R. (1983). Dominance, attention, and affiliation in a preschool group: A nine-month longitudinal study. Ethology & Sociobiology, 4, 55-67.
Putallaz, M., & Gottman, J. M. (1981). Social skills and group acceptance. In S. R. Asher & J. M. Gottman (Eds.), The development of children’s friendships (pp. 116-149). Cambridge, London: Cambridge University Press.
Saltz, E., Dixon, D., & Johnson, J. (1977). Training disadvantaged preschoolers on various fantasy activities: Effects on cognitive functioning and impulse control. Child Development, 48, 367-380.

Appreciation from our Committee

This is a short post to let you all know that we have completed a long period of hard work! On Monday and Tuesday, Steven Cummings from the Education and Care Regulatory Unit visited the Centre to perform a Quality Assessment Visit.

Although the Quality Improvement Process is continuous, it is still a very unsettling process to be assessed. This was the first time we had been assess under the new National Quality Framework.

It so lovely for the team to receive a huge box of chocolates and lovely card expressing support from Deborah Pino-Pasternak and her family, on the Friday before the visit.

Then, again, a very carefully planned arrangement of flowers arrived at 4 pm yesterday. This was after our assessor had left and we were all  breathing a sigh of relief.

The Assessment Visit went very well. It had substantial differences from the previous system. The main differences were that the Assessor observed only in the playrooms, he did not ask the staff any questions and took a lot of photos as evidence to accompany his report. These periods of observation were interspersed with intensive interviews with Jacqui. The interview involved a lot of questions related to each quality indicator and the sighting of evidence. Acting in the role of Educational Leader, Supervising Officer and Centre Manager – Jacqui was asked to speak at length about the curriculum and pedagogy, whilst referring to examples in the team leaders programs.

Many thanks to our committee for the acknowledgement and support. Our thanks to families who wished us well.

Open Fires

Hi everyone

A couple of weeks ago, two of our 4 years asked me how to make a fire with sticks. That afternoon, I found a great stick and a piece of pine from our woodwork area. I asked my 4 year old friends to join me, whilst I made the stick rotate vigorously on the piece of pine. We were all very engaged with this process. Each of us experimented with rotating the stick between our palms, as quickly as we could. It wasn’t long before we concluded that our process was not fast enough. I introduced the concept of friction, to my 2 friends and promised to research some other ways to make fires with sticks.

Thankfully, the weekend followed. I spent my time researching fire making techniques. I was keen on techniques that the children could participate in, but not be able to replicate on their own (for obvious reasons).

When Monday came along, I had another fire making technique ready to share. This one involved a wooden bow and string which would increase the rotation rate of the stick and increase the friction on the wood. In the meantime, the team had moved our limestone blocks to make a fire pit circle. During a walk, our senior Kindergarten children collected some kindling and large sticks.

Later that day: It was an exciting time, as I moved the bow back and forth – causing the stick to rotate so fast that a black soot started to appear. Suddenly, some smoke emerged from the area, between the stick and wood. Unfortunately, I couldn’t sustain the vigorous action and had to stop. Each of the children and some other staff members had a go but couldn’t generate the speed required to create smoke.

The momentum was so high at this point that we decided to light a fire, anyway. We used the fire pit and the sticks the children had collected earlier in the day. We created a beautiful fire, which mesmerized all of the children who had gathered around the fire pit.

As we watch the fire dance, the smoke billow and the heat warm us, the children chatted about fire and the sound it made. They later showed us how the flames danced. We noticed the way the smoke moved as the wind direction changed.

It was a great opportunity to explore the uses of fire, traditions around fire and safe behaviours that are required around fire. Our supervision levels were increased and the children were required to sit away from the fire pit.

During our discussion with the children we decided to create a fire regularly and to explore the idea of cooking potatoes or damper in the fire. The next day we collected the charcoal and used it for drawing. Later that day, as we set the fire once again, we discussed the force of friction again and introduced the concept of combustion. All the children learned to say these words fluently. They could now add the concepts of the forces of friction and combustion to those of magnetism and gravity. This early exploration of physics is fascinating for many young inquiring minds.

In the proceeding days, I found children experimenting with the creation of friction with 2 sticks and  dramatic play scripts around the fire pit area.

We will go on to explore fire over the coming weeks. Please let me know if you have anything to share about fire and its uses.



Whats Happening in our Junior Kindergarten (Karda) Group

An Update from Janelle (Team Leader – Karda Group)

The Karda group have been participating in many different learning experiences during routines, free play and group time. Over the last few months, we have welcomed some new friends and seen many friendships develop. The Karda children have been very welcoming and taken care of their new peers. As such, we are creating a new friendship wall and chatting to children about who their friends are and why we feel friendship towards them.

Protective behaviours are continuing as an important part of our programme. During our morning meetings and throughout the day we use “teachable moments” to support children’s interactions and behaviours towards peers. A “teachable moment” is an unplanned moment or event that adults can use as a learning opportunity for children. We sing ‘Our Body’ song and affirm that each child is the ‘boss’ of their own bodies. Over the last few months, we have developed limits (Karda room rules) and given reminders to the group. Our limits were chosen and agreed upon by children and include; ‘No scaring people’, ‘No hitting’, ‘No pushing‘ and ‘No snatching toys.‘ This focus on protective behaviours has helped reinforced a healthy respect, sense of belonging and fair play with each of their peers.

We are focusing a lot on our morning meetings, using props to tell stories and engage children in the tales. We have found they have been very keen to participate and invent their own stories. This is something we are very excited about as it gives your very imaginative and creative children an opportunity to delve into a world of literacy and owning narratives. The group sit and share their parts of the story; adding on to the plot and characters developed as a group. Through participation, they are developing their vocabulary, turn taking, creativity, communication and listening skills, all essential in everyday life. They are also learning about collaborating in a shared project. Educators have begun documenting tales and look forward to seeing where children take them.

A while ago, the Karda group went on a walk and visited some of their parents, in their offices. It was lovely to see them in their place of work and helped reinforce our philosophy and belief that family is central to a child. It was very significant to those children who shared this with their peers and we all enjoyed the walk together. We hope to visit more Murdoch parents soon.

All children enjoy both indoor and outdoor play, including superheroes play, visiting Lou-Lou (our pet rabbit), play acting characters, ball games, dancing, picnics, bikes and dinosaurs are all key interests at the moment. The Karda group have also being engaging in several cooking experiences, including, making playdough, baking banana bread and cookies. These cooking experiences are great for numeracy skills and well as learning cooking terms and techniques and collaborating on a shared project. We are monitoring play in our home corner, sandpit and through discussions to assess what children’s cooking interests are. We hope to identify and explore more foods and recipes to cook in the future.

Routines of toileting, sleep and mealtimes are also a very significant part of our day. Many children have become toilet trained and many are recognising when it is time for lunch, getting their own lunch boxes from the fridge. During morning and afternoon tea we are increasing our multilingual skills, counting fruit in our children’s many different home languages. Another recent interest, within the group, is to empty the compost (generated by the fruit skins and pips). Children become very excited about it and have expressed interest in doing more in the garden. We are planning to do some planting using the compost in the coming weeks. All children have developed many new skills, as they have settled into the big room and it has been a big leap up from the Amici group. There have been some changes in the room so far this year, with the departure of Ben, and the transition of some children to the Koolangar group. We thank parents for helping us to make the transition for children into their groups as smooth as possible.

We are also very curious about your children’s ever changing interests, need and strengths and ask families to return the slip attached. We hope that you and your child are having a positive daycare experience at Murdoch and are interested in any feedback you have.
~ Thankyou ~ Janelle, Elliot, Chamie and Miranda ~