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::: times-they-are-a-changing

December 4th, 2016

Sherry and DonnaAs the end of 2016 is fast approaching Sherry and I would like to thank you all for being here and sharing in our ‘teaching’ journey over the last seven years, a journey that has taken us from teaching children in the classroom to teaching and supporting adults and educators in a variety of different ways, yet all connected of course to the children and young peoples workforce.

2017 is going to be a very big and important year for both of us … albeit for very different reasons … You see, recently I said good bye to Malarkey Playwork and while I am extremely sad to leave the company I worked so passionately to create and build up, I will, for now, enjoy a tree-change in my little #rivercottage on the Jamieson River in the Victorian high country before I begin to explore all possibilities for a career change in the new year.

Malarkey has been my life, my heart and my soul for the last three years, and the two years previous after I ‘accidentally discovered’ a UK Playworker by the name of Marc Armitage and brought him out to Australia to spread the word of Playwork amongst the ECE community. In that time I worked closely alongside Marc, just the two of us, traveling all over the country helping him build his reputation in Australia and New Zealand and raising the profile of Playwork. We had such a fun time together that it resulted in the two of us creating our little Playwork company “Malarkey” in 2013. While I revelled in my role as Marc’s business partner and Director of Projects and Administration I knew the time had come for me to step aside so Marc and his assistant could take the company forward in their own direction and I wish them nothing but happiness and success together.

So, while I take the fork in the road, one I hope leads to something new and exciting, my dear friend and blogging partner Sherry is looking forward to putting her feet up in retirement at the end of February. YEEHAA-way-to-go-Shez! Her time has come to sit back and enjoy her growing family of eleven grandchildren and two great grandchildren and enjoy some long lazy days, camping, gardening, reading, cooking and of course spending plenty of weekends visiting with me at my little #rivercottage!

It’s been a-hell-of-a-ride but as they say … all good things must come to an end.

Dear past, Thanks for all the lessons. Dear future, I’m ready ~ Donna

::: we’ve moved on but not away

May 1st, 2015

We are Donna and Sherry and this is the blog we created in 2010 while teaching kindergarten together in Melbourne Australia. It was an amazing journey, one which lead us to where we are today.

Sherry is teaching Certificate III in Early Childhood Education & Care and Certificate III in Education Support at Park Orchards Community House and Learning Centre.

Along with internationally renowned UK PLAYworker & Children’s PLAY Consultant Marc Armitage I am a director of Malarkey; a training, resource, education and consulting company for those working in the children and young peoples workforce and an enabling body to the PLAY & PLAYwork sectors … It’s an exciting time at Malarkey as we plan for our first National PLAY & PLAYwork Conference to be held in Melbourne on March 4th & 5th 2016.

While Sherry and I may not be here blogging anymore you can always find me over on the Irresistible Ideas Facebook page, the Malarkey Facebook page or the National Play Conference Facebook page AND of course all the Irresistible Ideas blog post … over 1,000 of them still remain right here for all of you. Sherry and I invite you to come, look around, take what you want and make it your own.

Shez and I have moved on but not away … We live just around the corner from each other, have keys to each others front door, are free to drop in unannounced for coffee and a catch up at any time of the day or night, regard each others families as our own and we are still the BEST-OF-FRIENDS!

Life is a journey full of right hand turns but sometimes you just have to go left and see where you end up. It’s been an irresistible and exciting ride so far. May the good times roll …

~ Donna

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::: our play based learning philosophy revisited

August 24th, 2013

It is in our motto “no play, no learning – know play, know learning” that our play based philosophy is built.

While we girls no longer teach kindergarten together we still have a very strong philosophy when it comes to children having the opportunity every day to learn through their play. We get a lot of emails and Facebook messages from parents, tertiary students and educators asking us to share our philosophy on what  “play based learning” means to us.

Of course every persons true philosophy is unique to themselves but for those who find it hard to express their beliefs to parents, or even co-educators, who may be struggling with the whole idea of putting PLAY-BEFORE-LEARNING, we thought we would share with you once again a post we published a while back on our play based learning philosophy.

::: REPOSTED from April 6th 2011

As we start to branch out talking to a wide range of early years educators and university students, we are amazed at the differing views on what play based learning actually is!

As a summation, our thoughts on play based learning is that it is teaching the children as they like to learn – through play.

Play based learning does not mean that the children just do what they like all day. There will be times when the children come together as a group where they will learn to listen to each other, share information, follow rules and partake in group activities. Play based activities don’t replace intentional teaching, rather complement and enhance it!

In a play based learning setting children will be provided with long periods of uninterrupted play time. They will have the opportunity to follow their own interests. They are encouraged to initiate activities and be self directed with the support of their teachers. They learn to take ownership of their work. They will be gently moulded into independent children with initiative and the confidence to take risks, knowing that there is no right or wrong way.

Open ended play based learning focuses on the process not the product. It is the learning that is taking place that is the all important factor.

Many teachers, as we did, are now choosing to run indoor/outdoor programs and free snack times to enable and enhance the long stretches of uninterrupted play times. This of course is not always possible as the actual physical setup of the centre may not be conducive to it.

When you visit our Education Directory you will discover early childhood settings which reflect this philosophy.