At ELDS we value and respect children, families and the community.
We acknowledge the importance of the role of the parent as the child’s first educator and consider it vital that we form a strong partnership with the family. We aim to achieve this by open, honest and professional communication in a variety of forms. We will engage in conversations and sharing information with each family upon the child’s arrival and at departure by providing specific information about the child’s day and the learning taking place. We schedule regular family partnership meetings throughout the year, and share each child’s learning and development via online portfolios. The portfolios show each child’s progress and achievements.
We recognise the Rights of the Child and we work with families to achieve the best outcomes for each child.
We value diversity and believe each family’s culture is important. We work and communicate with families to support the development of each child’s individual cultural identity. We respect the differences in families.
We acknowledge the importance of childhood and value this special time. We want our children to create happy memories with us. Their time at our service should be fun, enjoyable and pleasurable. We want children to remember fun play and learning experiences with their peers and the educators who supported their development.
Our curriculum is influenced by the Early Years Learning Framework. We recognised the early years of life are the most important for lifelong learning. These years are a time when the brain develops and much of its ‘wiring’ is laid down. Therefore through considerable research our curriculum is based on the child initiated approach, and play based learning is the focus.
Our educators observe and listen carefully to each child’s interests, needs and development. We work with families to enable all children to participate in the program, we consult with external agencies to remove physical barriers to participation and ensure all children feel a sense of belonging.
Building positive and warm relationships between children and educators is vital to a child’s sense of safety, trust and learning. We aim to provide consistent and sensitive educators who will form strong attachments with each child. Educators engage in positive, shared conversations and interactions with each child every day. Individual and small group interactions are constantly used as intentional teaching opportunities where educator’s role model, ask questions, test out ideas and challenge the child’s thinking. These conversations are vital for learning and development and are essential in developing the child’s language and pre-literacy skills.
Our Educators embrace reflective practice as a form on ongoing learning which involves engaging with questioning, gathering information and gaining insights which inform and enrich decision making about children’s learning. Educators are supported in their practice, by the Management team. Educators and Management work in partnership as one team, for the betterment of the service, children and families. Our team will show respect, recognise strengths, value, listen, support and acknowledge each other.
Every conversation and interaction shows respect for the child. Our behaviour guidance techniques show respect towards all children, using positive guidance strategies to build children’s social competence and enhance their emotional intelligence. Therefore, we do not use ‘Time out’ at Ngala ELDS.
We plan purposeful, inclusive learning areas indoors and outdoors that stimulates and extends children’s understanding and learning. We believe the environment is the third teacher.
We celebrate each child’s individual achievements and aim to cater for the whole child. Our image of the child is a capable, competent learner who leads their play and makes choices throughout the day to cater for their own interest. Learning to make decisions is an important life skill and takes practice. Each child can choose the resources they would like to play with, whether they would like to play alone or in a group, whether to play indoors or outdoors, decisions about their personal care, and when they are ready to join mealtimes. We offer children the opportunity to participate in meaningful decision making regarding choices and changes that might affect them. Each child has the right to refuse to take part.
Children learn best through small groups and hands on learning. Our homely play environments are created to be welcoming; an invitation to play, and cater for small groups so each child has space and more importantly time to explore their interest to their satisfaction. Educators use this time to observe and scaffold the children’s learning by teaching children the skills required to achieve their desired outcomes by using small steps at the child’s own pace, or encouraging children to learn the skill from each other.
The children work on many projects based on their interests and development. A project is an in depth investigation of a topic the children would like to learn about. Play is never rushed and educators see the importance of the children revisiting and reconnecting with previous play to be able to extend the play into future learning projects. Children need this time to explore, practice and then master their play before they can feel satisfied.
Our curriculum caters for messy play, as we recognise the importance of hands on learning and sensory play for learning and development. We use natural materials (e.g. clay, mud, pinecones) on a daily basis and value the use of recycled and real materials to best achieve learning outcomes. We value environmental responsibility and have many sustainable routines and experiences embedded in our curriculum.
Our environments have many constant predictable areas for the child to feel safe, secure and supported, these areas are then slowly extended and new inviting areas introduced based on the child’s interests and development.
Your child will always be supervised carefully and involved in safe learning practices; however you can expect to see your child presented with some challenges and risks in their play. During this time children will have success and may make mistakes, and while supported by educators we see small challenges, mistakes and risks as important learning opportunities for children.
We value open ended play and materials. The focus for learning is on the process the child uses and not the product. The materials a child chooses and how they use those materials is more important than the educator directing the child in what to make. In our experience it is then the educator who creates most of the work. A range of learning materials will be available for the duration of the day for the children to choose from and create their own unique pieces of work rather than all children copying an educator’s idea or standard.
In these ways play can promote positive dispositions towards learning and the foundation of a love of learning for life.