Tag Archives: observations

Ready for landing

Air travel wasn’t available when I was a child, or not for me anyway. I am unable to recall anyone in my circles, family or friend, who travelled anywhere by air. Perhaps we weren’t an adventurous lot, but air travel wasn’t as easy, affordable, comfortable, quick, or commonplace as it is now.

Though I’d often thought I’d love to be a bird soaring above the world, I was a young adult before I experienced my first flight. I was entranced by the land below as I sailed on the wind in a glider, like a bird on the wing.

It was a couple of years later that I had my first plane fight, and many years later before I travelled internationally. Yes, I’ve lived a sheltered life. Like many of the younger generations, my grandchildren have already experienced air travel, both within Australia and internationally. They would require almost as many fingers as I to count plane trips.

Whether travelling or not, airports are always a great place to visit with children. There is much to observe, learn, wonder about, and imagine.

Watching planes take off and land can fascinate children, and encourage all sort of questions, not only about the physics of flight, but the types and features of planes, the airlines, and where they are going to or coming from.

People watching can also be absorbing and encourage even more questions about the jobs people are doing and the reasons for them, where the people are going to or coming from, and who they are travelling with.

There is much to see and learn about, like passports, boarding passes, security scanners, customs officers, flight attendants, cleaners, retailers, baggage handlers, check-in operators. Or there were, until recently. Some of these roles have now been automated.

The boards showing arrivals and departures can spark discussions about places around the world, the people who live there, and who might be travelling to or from each location and for what purpose.

The currency exchange tellers with their constantly changing figures can lead to even more discussions.

I’m sure I’ve omitted more than I’ve included and that you can add many other points of interest.

But knowledge of what goes on in airports is not all that can be developed. Children’s imaginations can also be inspired. Observation tells so much. The gaps can be filled by imaginations creating stories of what might be.

I was doing my share of people watching recently while waiting for the arrival of daughter Bec on a flight from Canberra. People were coming and going, some hurriedly, others more relaxed. Some were obviously waiting for their own flights, others waited with them. Others, like I was, were waiting for the arrival of family or friend.

Sadly, we were all to be disappointed. Brisbane experienced an unusual weather event – dense evening fog which prevented planes from landing or taking off. Bec’s plane turned back to Canberra mid-flight. At least she was returned home. It wasn’t so for some of the other passengers, stranded for additional days away from their destination, be it home, holiday or other.

Evening fog in Brisbane is unusual; morning fog, less so. Last year when returning from LA, my flight was diverted to Coolangatta. Fortunately, disruptions to travel caused by fog are not frequent.

But why am I thinking about planes and airports?

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about an unexpected landing. It can be acrobatic, an unplanned move or created into a metaphor. Go where the prompt, or chickens, lead.

This is where my thoughts landed after a foggy start.

Ready for landing

“Are we there yet?”’

“Not yet, Honey. Look. This is us. This is where we’re going. Another couple of hours. Watch a movie. Then we’ll be almost there.”

Mum replaced her mask and earplugs. Soon there’d be others to entertain Flossie while she relaxed on the beach or caught up with old friends.

She hadn’t realised she’d drifted off until Flossie’s insistent, “How much longer?” awakened her.

“Must be soon,” she flicked on the flight tracker.

“Please fasten your seatbelts for landing.”

“Yep. Almost there.”

“DIVERTED” flashed on and off the screen.

“What! Where?” She squinted. “Home! Why?”


Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

My time, your time, springtime!

This week at the Carrot Ranch Charli Mills has challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that is a snapshot of spring.


At the moment approximately 90% of the world’s population are experiencing the season of spring. The rest of us, the 10% who live in the Southern Hemisphere are entering the cooler months. How those seasons are experienced varies from place to place. I have never experienced an autumn that would fit the description of ‘fall’; nor have I experienced a winter with snow. Those concepts are foreign to me. That is not to say that some living in the southern states of Australia haven’t experienced them. It all depends where one lives.

The Australian Government describes Australia as having two main seasonal patterns in six different climatic zones. The Indigenous Peoples of Australia describe the changes as holistic changes in nature and life. In Australia, attitudes to and understanding of the seasons are as diverse as the experiences. While the weather doesn’t always know it, spring is marked on the Australian calendar from September to November. It doesn’t matter to which part of the country you travel, there is always something to see and do in spring.

Springtime in Tasmania 2014

Springtime in Tasmania 2014

Part of the daily routine in an early childhood classroom is observing and discussing the daily and seasonal changes in the weather. Each day the children observe the weather and discuss how it may influence their clothing and activities and the impact that changes may have to their local environment and other things including animals.

Many classrooms have a calendar prominently displayed on which the children’s observations can be recorded and compared. Children are often invited to draw symbols and write words such as those shown here.

weather symbols

Discussions about how warm or how cool it is may also occur, though in some parts there is never really what could be called ‘cold’, just ‘cooler’.

temperature chart


Reading stories was always an integral part of my classroom practice and I needed little excuse to read another. When the seasons changed I was always looking for suitable books to read and the first I thought of at springtime was Wake Up Bear by Lynley Dodd, a New Zealander.

Wake up bear

While we don’t have bears in Australia, just these cute koalas often incorrectly called bears;

or hibernating animals, except for this cute little mountain pygmy-possum;

Wake Up Bear is a delightful story to herald spring. In the story, bear has slept all through winter, but when spring arrives he is not quite ready to wake up. The animals each try to wake him up and finally they succeed.

While it was not Dodd’s intention with the story, it made me think about children learning in their own time, “waking up” when they are ready. Sometimes they need to be shown something just once. Sometimes they need a great deal of exposure and support to “get” it. Sometimes it’s better to leave them alone until the time is right. There have been previous discussions about this here my blog, including In their own time and Not Yet.

I thought Charli’s spring challenge was perhaps another opportunity for talking about individual differences and the need to respect a learner’s journey. I’ve gone back to my early childhood roots. I hope you enjoy it.


Springtime in Tasmania 2014

Springtime in Tasmania 2014


Bees buzz

Wildflowers bloom

Cockatoos squawk

“Gone is the gloom!”


Mother duck waits

For her babies to hatch.

Here they come now

The first of the batch


So cute and cuddly

All covered in fluff

Eager and ready

To show off their stuff


“Patience!“ quacks mother

“There’s no need to rush.”

“One more is coming.

Stand back. Please don’t crush.”


With one final crack

Last one’s out of his shell

“I’m proud of you babies.

You’ve all done so well.”


Mother duck smiles

As they waddle in line

She knows that each duckling’s

Own time will be fine.

Thank you

Thank you for reading.

Springtime in Tasmania 2014

Springtime in Tasmania 2014

Happy spring to most of you! For the others: enjoy the cooler respite from the relentless heat!


I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thought about any aspect of this post or flash fiction.