The Kindergarten year is such an exciting time in a child’s development. Children are entering the next phase of their lives, moving from a close family unit to the broader community. They are ready to meet, play and learn from other children, adults, experiences and new environments.
A significant approach to our teaching is that it is very holistic. We take into account the whole child, ie their physical, personal, social, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual wellbeing. We see children’s learning in these areas, and the relationships between children, families, community and the natural world, as integrated and interconnected (EYLF p14).
We believe that before any learning can take place the first and most important thing that our Early Childhood Teachers and Educators promote and establish is a safe and secure environment for the children in their care. We do this when we greet the children with a smile and take them by the hand, creating a warm, supportive, and friendly learning environment. An environment such as this encourages children to become involved in their learning. The children explore, experiment, experience and learn. (VEYLDF Learning Outcome: Identity)
We recognize the importance of relationships between children, families, communities, and educators and how this contributes to each child’s learning. At our service relationships are safe and loving, helping the children ‘blossum’ and reach their potential. We believe it is important to develop positive, trusting relationships with every child as it encourages them to participate and it gives them confidence to feel empowered.
‘Child Safety’ is a priority in our practices, policies and ‘Code of Conduct’ to protect every child from harm. We are aware of children’s rights and adult responsibilities regarding child abuse.
We are committed to a play based program. All children are given time and many opportunities to engage in rich interactive play experiences all within a caring and safe environment.
Play is the child’s learning tool and Early childhood theorists support, that this is how children learn best (‘Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework’ – VEYLDF). ‘Play can expand children’s thinking and enhance their desire to know and to learn’ (Early Years Learning Framework -EYLF p15). It is through play that children explore, discover, take risks, try out new ideas and gain knowledge about themselves and the world around them. When children play they develop many dispositions, such as, “curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, and imagination” (VEYLDF). These are important foundations for future learning. The dispositions we nurture in children contribute to their learning throughout their lifetime and help them succeed, whether at Pre Kinder, Kindergarten, school, or everyday experiences at home or in the community.
Early childhood author Penelope Leach has written, ‘for a small child there is not division between playing and learning; between the things he or she does ‘just for fun’ and things that are ‘educational’. The child learns while living and any part of living that is enjoyable is also play’ (from Walker 2006).
We strongly believe that children are confident learners (VEYLDF Learning Outcome 4: Learning). Each child needs to see themselves as a successful person. ‘When children have positive experiences, they develop an understanding of themselves as significant and respected, and feel a sense of belonging to whatever unit/group /community it may be’ (EYLF p 20).
We provide experiences which are ‘open-ended’ so as the children can experience success. When ‘high expectations’ are held for each child’s ‘achievement in learning’ they progress and develop (EYLF p.12-13).
We foster independence so as to develop self-help skills such as, putting on smocks and caring for belongings. We encourage all the children to contribute to decision making about their learning environment. The children’s ideas, interests and needs are taken into account so essentially it is the children that drive the program. This allows each child to feel involved and form a connection with their environment, giving them a voice. (VEYLDF Learning Outcomes: Identity and Community)
We see our role as Early Childhood Educators to guide, direct, and facilitate, children’s learning, through, adult/child interactions, and child/child interactions, and intentional teaching introducing the children to new knowledge and skills. We respond “to children’s ideas and play….make use of spontaneous teachable moments” to build upon the children’s learning (EYLF p15 2009) – scaffold children’s learning. Information is gathered with the help from families about what the children know, can do, understand, and planning extends and supports the children’s learning and development. (VEYLDF p 13 Assessment for learning and Development) The children’s learning is documented in a format that is easy to communicate and visible to families (Reggio).
We advocate ‘Partnerships with Families’ as this supports the most recent theory – “Learning outcomes are most likely to be achieved when early childhood educators work in partnership with families” (EYLF p 12 + VEYLDF 2016 p 9). Parents are the first and the most important educators of their children so without a doubt we value communication between us – our doors are open to you, and we welcome you into our Centre.