At enrolment, families will be given an “All About Me” form to complete in consultation with their child. Information and suggestions from this form will be utilised in program development.
Parent – Teacher interviews will be organised by individual Services to allow team members to discuss with parents their child’s development, developmental records and to exchange programming ideas.
Parents are encouraged to discuss issues with team members as they arise.
Parental input will be utilised by team members when developing the curriculum. A topic of interest or relevance to your child could be reflected in the program. This could include a new baby in the family or information from a holiday or visit.
Centre team members maintain an individual developmental record for each child at the Centre and program activities based on the needs, interests and strengths of each child.
Children’s daily activities and experiences are planned to assist the broad development of each child at the Centre. Weekly programs are developed by expert educators, based on detailed observations of each child. The programs are suited to each child’s developmental stage and particular special interests as they arise.
Children will be encouraged in their development of self-reliance within the program. Participation in the program is voluntary and alternate activities are provided at such times a child chooses not to participate in the group activity. Children are encouraged to experiment with a wide range of materials and allowed self-expression within boundaries of safety.
Each child is a unique individual and weekly programming should reflect this individuality.
All information regarding individual children’s developmental records is kept confidential between the relevant parents and team members. Children’s records are stored in a locked filing cabinet. Children’s portfolios can only be viewed by immediate family.
Programs will include child development within the areas of The Physical Child (Gross Motor & Fine Motor), The Social and Feeling Child (Social & Emotional), The Communicating Child (Language), The Thinking Child (Cognitive), The Creative Child and Self-Help Skills.
Playbased Learning (from early childhood Australia)
While there is no one definition of play, there are a number of agreed characteristics that describe play. Play can be described as:
- pleasurable-play is an enjoyable and pleasurable activity. Play sometimes includes frustrations, challenges and fears; however enjoyment is a key feature
- symbolic-play is often pretend, it has a ‘what if?’ quality. The play has meaning to the player that is often not evident to the educator
- active-play requires action, either physical, verbal or mental engagement with materials, people, ideas or the environment
- voluntary-play is freely chosen. However, players can also be invited or prompted to play
- process oriented-play is a means unto itself and players may not have an end or goal in sight
- self motivating-play is considered its own reward to the player (Shipley, 2008).
Once you have decided what play means to you, you should next ask yourself, why play-based learning? What is it about play that makes it so important? Play has a long and detailed research history that dates back to the work of Locke and Rosseau.
Research and evidence all point to the role of play in children’s development and learning across cultures (Shipley, 2008). Many believe that it is impossible to disentangle children’s play, learning and development.
While research on brain development is in its infancy, it is believed that play shapes the structural design of the brain. We know that secure attachments and stimulation are significant aspects of brain development; play provides active exploration that assists in building and strengthening brain pathways. Play creates a brain that has increased ‘flexibility and improved potential for learning later in life’ (Lester & Russell, 2008, p. 9).
Young children’s play allows them to explore, identify, negotiate, take risks and create meaning. The intellectual and cognitive benefits of playing have been well documented. Children who engage in quality play experiences are more likely to have well-developed memory skills, language development, and are able to regulate their behaviour, leading to enhanced school adjustment and academic learning (Bodrova & Leong, 2005).
Fostering play-based programs
Physically active play allows children to test and develop all types of motor skills. It promotes significant health and wellbeing benefits. Centres that were found to have a high-quality, play-based learning program incorporated:
- a daily schedule that included active indoor and outdoor physical play
- integration of music, movement and creative expression
- adult-child interactions that modelled moderate to high levels of physical activity (meaning that educators were at times as physically engaged in active play as the children) (Steglin, 2005).
Play does not happen in a vacuum; it is usually undertaken within a physical and social space (Lester & Russell, 2008). One of the greatest benefits of playing is to assist with the development of social competence. Children can build relationships, learn to resolve conflicts, negotiate and regulate their behaviours. In play, children usually have increased feelings of success and optimism as they act as their own agents and make their own choices. Playing is a known stress release; it is often linked to child wellbeing.
The dispositions for learning, such as curiosity, openness, optimism, resilience, concentration, and creativity (SACSA, 2009), are developed in play. Playing is linked to the development of resilience and the beginnings of empathy as children begin to understand other points of view. However, not all play is kind or inclusive, so educators have to act accordingly to ensure that play is not harmful.