The beliefs and values of the educators and families at Elder Street Early Childhood Centre have been consolidated to form our philosophy on the wellbeing and education of children from their experiences from home, time spent in the wider community and whilst attending the centre. As a community, this philosophy is what we believe to be best practice.
Partnerships with Families
Our community welcomes all families recognising the diversity of people’s belief’s, cultures, values and abilities within our wider community. Our community believes in acknowledging the original custodians of this land, the Awabakal people and their language, and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people in our community. We believe in educating young children with an inclusive approach to our country’s Heritage. We believe children’s development is influenced by the social and cultural context in which they live. We therefore strongly support the development of partnerships with families based on mutual respect. We value and welcome their input and involvement in the centre. Management are committed to addressing the needs of its families, educators and the wider community. We aim to consult with these parties on issues of policy and procedure development.
Nurturing Relationships with Children and the Natural Environment
Our professional, caring, informed and committed educators work together to meet the goals of our service. Educators have access to resources and professional development within the broader community that enhance their abilities to provide for the children’s needs. We aim to develop positive and nurturing relationships with each child and family within our community. Management of the service holds educator’s abilities, needs and levels of experience in high regard. They aim to ensure that educators are rewarded both intrinsically and extrinsically often within their work place. We provide a homelike, warm, secure and interactive environment for the children to explore whilst stimulating their senses and minds. We place great emphasis on the use of natural materials for learning and aim to nurture a love and respect for our planet in the children. We do this by encouraging the children to develop respect for their environment, engaging in activities that foster ecologically sustainable practices, skills and ideas (Hallett Cove PS, SA www.hallettpre.sa.edu.au/project). We as early childhood practitioners recognise that with our chosen philosophy of encouraging the use of natural elements and natural environments, comes some risk. We support our findings that with careful planning, ongoing risk assessment and adult support, that “risky play” can be managed and that the benefits to the children’s learning and development outweigh any negatives.
Learning & the Value of Play
Our program pedagogy is based on understanding the child’s world, relationships and the value of play. Play is the vehicle through which children learn about themselves and their surrounds. It also importantly encompasses the belief that children are people with potential, curiosity and interest in constructing their own learning as they play.
We implement this belief within our program by using the work of Reggio Emilia; the Emergent Curriculum and following the guidelines of the Early Years Learning Framework. We support the message in the framework that in early childhood, and throughout life, relationships are crucial to a sense of belonging. Further, that childhood is about being, to seek and make meaning of the world and recognising the here and now in a child’s life. Finally, that these early years should also focus on becoming, which reflects the process of rapid and significant change during the early years as young children learn and grow. (DEEWR: 2009)
Combining these principles and this type of curriculum explores what is “socially relevant, intellectually engaging and personally meaningful to children (Jones & Nemo, 1994, p3) Through the ever changing emergent curriculum our staff are engaged in a process of supporting, facilitating, observing, interpreting and evaluating.
We aim to assist in developing children who are happy through experiencing joy and wonder, respectful by understanding the needs of other and how they impact our society, confident from first hand experience of success, and capable, because they recognise themselves as successful learners who can change the world.
Belonging, Being & Becoming, The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. Commonwealth of Australia 2009