(continued . . . )
The Early Childhood Environment and Program:
When children have positive experiences in the early years it builds a solid foundation for life-long learning.
- The Early Childhood setting should be a friendly, welcoming place where all children and families are respected and have a sense of ‘belonging.’
- Our environment should reflect and enrich the lives of participating children and families and respond to their interests, needs and diversities.
- The environment should consist of a broad range of rich, challenging and diverse experiences that are safe, flexible and accessible to all.
- Both indoor and outdoor environments should be aesthetically pleasing, support all aspects of children’s learning and encourage conversations between children, educators, preschool families and community members.
- The environment should foster hope, wonder and knowledge about the natural world and promote respect for, and an understanding of, the natural environment including environmentally sustainable practices.
- The program should offer opportunities for children to experience success and develop skills of; independence, self- confidence, co-operation and socially acceptable behaviour.
- The program should be harmonious and well balanced which fosters the development of the whole child and allows them to have a sense of ‘being’.
- The program should consider individual needs of children as well as group needs.
Children learn best in an environment that is supportive of their individual and unique qualities and abilities and prepares them for life and who they are ‘becoming’.
- Children need to feel happy, safe and secure, to be free to express themselves and their ideas so they can grow in confidence to explore and learn.
- All children are intrinsically curious, and eager to learn.
- Children need to form stable, caring relationships with staff and other children.
- All children are capable and resourceful, have individual learning styles and will achieve learning and developmental outcomes at their own individual pace.
- Children should be allowed extended periods of time to actively engage in play based experiences giving them the opportunity to test out ideas, problem solve, practice skills, and make sense of the world around them in relation to themselves and others.
- Children have a right to ‘be’ a child- to play, to laugh, and be spontaneous, to explore and to have fun.
- Children should have opportunities to work independently and as part of a team with other children and adults.
Families and Community:
It takes many people working together to keep the preschool running successfully. These include the children, staff, Parent Management Committee, DECS, and various community, local and government bodies. All these people contribute in many different ways to support the centre achieve its core purpose of providing quality preschool education.
- Families are children’s first and most influential teachers and therefore play a vital role in the education of their child.
- Families and children are welcome contributors to the program.
- Positive relationships and genuine partnerships based on trust and respect between educators and families will ensure best outcomes for children’s learning.
- Open communication between families and educators is encouraged.
- Partnerships between educators, families and support agencies enable children with additional needs to access our early childhood program.
- University, Tafe and work experience students are welcome at our centre for practical experience and visits.
- Community partnerships can enrich our program and learning for children, families and educators.
Staff are seen as lifelong learners, continually working collaboratively with children, colleagues and families. Staff should engage in positive respectful relationships with children and respect, support and work with each child’s unique qualities and abilities enabling them to have a sense of self- worth.
- As educators our first and foremost focus is the ‘child’ ensuring they are safe, secure and supported.
- Staff should be positive, motivated and enthusiastic and continually strive for excellence.
- Staff should be available, spontaneous and take advantage of teachable moments to scaffold and extend children’s learning, build on children’s ideas and knowledge, encourage problem solving and to role model positive ways to relate to others.
- Staff should have a strong drive to know more and therefore seek professional challenges and take up opportunities for professional development and training to ensure they stay up to date with latest research.
- Each staff member has individual qualities and experience and should be valued and respected.
- Staff should communicate openly with each other and be responsive to colleague’s ideas and needs and encourage teamwork.
- Staff should constantly reflect and evaluate teaching practices.
- Staff should share roles and responsibilities and work as a cooperative and supportive team member.
Source: ‘Belonging, Being and Becoming’, The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. (2009)