The shear delight of reading

Petethesheep2Children and  families were rounded up and transported to an imaginary shearing shed when Monkey Baa Theatre Company performed a reading of Jackie French and Bruce Whatley’s quirky and quintessentially Australian picture book, Pete the Sheep, at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) this week.

Petethesheep3There was no pulling the wool over the eyes of our audience who flocked to meet Shaun the shearer and his partner Pete, not a sheep dog but a sheep – sheep!

The hilarious routine, imaginatively told by four performers playing shearers, dogs and sheep, explored the challenges and rewards of being an individual and certainly appealed to the crowd on Main Street who joined in the fun with their best impersonations of dogs and sheep.

PetetheSheep4This special presentation was part of the RCH Education Institute’s focus on celebrating learning and raising awareness of the importance of reading, writing and mathematics skills during National Literacy and Numeracy Week.



Let’s create a story….

LucyandSarahStories are central to our lives and central to the development of literacy skills in young children. The power of stories seems to lie in the way they provide shared contexts for natural language development, and potentially engage children’s hearts and minds, as people and as thinkers, with issues that are relevant, real and important to them.

Creating a ‘narrative sensibility’ for children by exposing them to conventional stories, myths, fables, histories, fairy tales and folk tales that are part of their own and other cultures, combined with the development of comprehension, analysis, discussion and imagination, play an instrumental role in helping children develop a sense of identity and understand the world around them.

This is why for National Literacy and Numeracy Week, we asked RCH students Lucy and Sarah to create a ‘Story Starter’ that members of the RCH community could contribute to.

“In my magical garden there’s a pond with very slow and smiling turtles.When you knock on the turtles’ shells, they pop back inside themselves and take you with them into their magical maze world, where you will find…”

Lucy and Sarah would love it if you could take turns and add to the tale. To do this please visit this post on the RCH Facebook page and leave your creative comments there.

Taking up the Enviroweek challenge

greenthumbThis week is Enviroweek – a week that challenges young Australians to take positive everyday action for a sustainable Australia.

Young people at the hospital are constantly looking for ideas about how to contribute to a better world. Enviroweek, which is presented by Cool Australia, challenges and encourages participants to make smart choices about being waste wise, saving energy, creating and caring for green spaces and connecting with the outdoors. This links closely to our project based approach to learning and teaching which engages young people in the investigation of real life problems.

This week the RCH Education Institute primary group learning students have taken up the Enviroweek ‘Green Thumb’ challenge, by planting seeds in our very own veggie box gardens, as part of the ongoing teaching and learning project The Children’s Harvest.

To find out more about how you and your family can get involved and take measurable steps towards sustainability, visit

How much say should young people have?

Re-imagining-320x200The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Children’s Bioethics Centre is presenting a special forum for young people to consider the ethical issues associated with health care for people of their age group.

The Children’s Bioethics Centre at RCH is committed to improving children’s lives through promoting the rights and responsibilities of children and their families in health care.

Interested students in Years 11 and 12 are invited to participate in this free public forum, How much say should young people have in their health care?, which will be held on Wednesday 17 September at The Royal Children’s Hospital on Flemington Road from 6.30pm – 8.30pm.

The aim of the forum is to encourage young people to think about some of the ethical issues associated with health care for young people and to express their views. Clinical staff and ethicists from the RCH and other institutions will be in the audience at the public forum, and value the opportunity to hear what young people have to say.

Please share this invitation, so that many young voices can contribute to this important discussion around the health care of young people.

To find out more about the public forum visit

To register for the Public Forum, please click here and select **OPTIONAL: Free Public Forum.


Cupcakes sold like hotcakes!!

Cupcake Castle_Cookin' with KidsIt was a delight to see cupcakes selling like hotcakes at the ‘Cupcake Castle’ bake sale orchestrated by young learners at RCH this week!

The ‘Cupcake Castle’ was the brainchild of a group of young learners, who in recent weeks in primary group learning sessions, have focused on re-imagining food as art, design concepts, procedural texts and money knowledge. RCH teacher, Emma Fraser, said that by providing students with the opportunity to plan events and work their way through challenges, children are inspired to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they’re studying. “This type of active and engaged learning, allows students to explore the real-world applications of the concepts and ideas they are learning about,” says Emma.

The customer service displayed by these learners was just outstanding – no cash registers were required, just sound subtraction and adding up skills! One happy customer told us that “the girls who served me did a great job of wheeling deals. My cakes were delicious! I am very excited to see what pops up next.”

These ‘caketepreneurs’ raised $360.10 to fund future learning initiatives for other students at RCH.

It certainly looks like there is an appetite for future initiatives like the ‘Cupcake Castle’!

Creativity grows on trees

EarlyyearsexhibitionA new exhibition, Creativity Grows on Trees, has been created by three and four year old students during RCH Education Institute teaching and learning sessions here at the hospital.

The artwork represents the process that learners went through when exploring their strong interest in animals, habitats and environments.

Conversation, technology, music, story, rhyme, and shadow exploration are examples of some of the mediums students explored, and the artworks are representations of these learning experiences.

Influenced by the learning philosophies of Reggio Emilia, the artwork descriptions have been handwritten, to reflect the organic nature of children’s own reflections.

Some of these reflections demonstrate very clearly how our littlest learners are using their knowledge to make connections with the world around them and increasing their understanding of the interdependence between land, people, plants and animals.

“Do animals get upset about the same things that we get upset about? I think that dangerous animals get more angry than safe animals”

“How do baby birds feel when they fly for the first time? How do they know if it is OK to come into each other’s home to visit?”

“How do animals know when they find the right place to sleep? It is harder for animals to find the right home than it is for people to find the right home.”

We encourage you to come and visit this beautiful exhibition in the Health and Education Learning Precinct if you happen to be in the hospital.