Woorinen South Kindergarten
Woorinen South 2020
2020 SESSION TIMES
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.
Partnerships not only include families and educators but ‘Support Professionals’ as well, all working together so that children with additional needs have opportunities to actively participate in learning experiences and so grow and develop too (EYLF 2009 + VEYLDF 2016 p16).
Just as our Centre supports the transition from home to kindergarten, we support the transition from kindergarten to school. ‘Successful transitions rely on children, families, and early childhood professionals developing positive, supportiverelationships’(VEYLDF2009p34). Ouraimistoprovidethesmoothesttransitionfromkindergartentoschool. (VEYLDF Learning Outcomes: Community).
We appreciate the diversity amongst families and children and always treat each person with respect, promoting individual learning, as well as “supporting the inclusion of all children in play” (EYLF p15), including children with a disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island children. As part of each child’s learning, respect for diversity and equity amongst peers and families at Kindergarten and in the wider community is always promoted. Educators aim to develop a strong sense of belonging and identity for all children. (VEYLDF 2016 p 12 + Learning Outcomes: Identity and Community).
We expose the children to many routines at Kindergarten including – arrival, story time, pack away, snack time, lunch time, home time. Routines encourage the children to care for their learning environment and belongings, helping them to become independent and responsible (VEYLDF Learning Outcome: Community). Routines are important for smooth transitions, helping every child make predictions about their day giving them a sense of belonging to their environment. To develop a sense of belonging contributes to developing a strong sense of identity (VEYLDF) and a positive self esteem, so important for learning.
We know that children are social beings and Kindergarten is a place where children’s social development is nurtured.
Every child is guided as they reach out for company and friendship, explore different identities, negotiate roles and relationships, learn how to share, turn take, cooperate and, express their feelings and thoughts. The children develop resilience and adapt to and learn about the world around them. (VEYLDF Learning Outcomes: Community and Wellbeing)
Sustainability is important to us. We believe that it is vital that our Centre provides an environment and experiences both indoors and outdoors where children can make connections with the natural world. We have a beautiful and inviting outdoor area where caring for the natural environment, environmental awareness, and sustainability ideas can be fostered. Natural settings and natural materials encourage the children to learn about their environment and develop an appreciation and caring attitude towards it (VEYLDF Learning Outcome: Community). The ‘early childhood years (0- 5) are a time when many attitudes are formed and so behaviours and practices modeled at kindergarten on a daily basis may then be modeled at home too.’ (Every Child 2007)
Our Service is passionate about promoting healthy lifestyles. The children’s health, wellbeing and safety are paramount. We are a ‘Sunsmart’, ‘Smiles4miles’and Asthma friendly Service. We have achieved three benchmarks in the Victorian ‘Healthy Together achievement Program’ – Healthy Eating and Oral Health, Physical Activity/Active Play and Sun Protection. We are now working on Tobacco Control and Mental Health. Our Service is a KidsMatter Participant, which supports healthy minds and good mental health.
We support literacy and numeracy. Opportunities to use and hear language and exposure to mathematical concepts are happening all the time in our kindergarten environment, both indoors and outdoors. Wherever there is play, investigation, and interaction, there is language, both expressive and receptive, creating many opportunities to practice and extend the children’s literacy and numeracy skills. Provision for numeracy is planned for both formally and informally.
We acknowledge that technology is important in today’s world and so provide experiences for children to explore a variety of technologies and new ways of thinking. (VEYLDF Learning Outcome: Communication)
The Team at Woorinen South Preschool is very experienced. Together we provide strong local knowledge, offering continuity for every child and their family and have a good understanding of the diversity and respect for the different cultures that make up our preschool community.
As part of our ongoing commitment to the Woorinen South Preschool, early childhood education and to providing a positive learning environment, we continuously reflect on our practice, question and extend our knowledge to ultimately benefit the outcomes for all children. We in effect ‘become co-learners with children, families and communities’ (EYLF p.13).