What does that mean for your child and why is it so important?
Evidence based research has shown time and time again, that play is the fundamental vehicle for all learning for children up until the age of seven. This is reflected in the Australian Government’s Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) which is the curriculum all educators use when they make intentional teaching choices, supporting your child to explore, discover, negotiate, take risks, create meaning and solve problems –important foundations for developing literacy, numeracy and social skills needed for later learning.
This ‘natural’ approach to inquiry is premised on the idea that learning happens differently for each child and as educators we need to listen to their inquiry and allow them to lead us to their learning. When we recognise your child’s current knowledge, strengths, ideas, culture, abilities and interests, we create a jumping board into their unique learning pool. This means hands-on exploration is everything. For example, Reuben loves cars and robots. As we are purposeful and intentional teachers, we can ENGAGE Reuben by planning an opportunity for him which involves cars. We could number 10 toy cars and have a race with his friends, graphing and creating championship records, exploring rote counting, one-to-one correspondence, time, speed, distance, wheels, gravity, motion, inertia etc. There are multiple opportunities to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. We could even play or sing along to some popular car themed songs (e.g. Life is a Highway, Wheels on the Bus, Traffic Lights etc) as we roll the wheels of our cars across paint and paper and create our very own pieces of expressive inquiry, talking about a variety of artistic mediums and techniques and adapting those skills for later use. You see, play-based learning is about making sure learning is fun. A downward learning cycle can trigger a negative response to learning and this can have terrible lifelong consequences to each child’s relationship to self-driven inquiry and metacognition. At Little Learners Centre, lifelong learning is always a positive child-centred journey. We record and collect each child’s experiences, observations, ideas and creative expressions to help us build a rich and individual learning program. We believe that children are active learners and they learn naturally through exploration – by touching, moving, listening, seeing and experiencing. Our educator’s roles are to support and enrich your child’s learning by:
- Providing resources and opportunities for children to explore.
- Using materials, such as paint, clay, musical instruments and writing implements for children to express themselves.
- Questioning and encouraging children to think creatively, investigate and solve problems.
- Making learning ‘visible’ – that is, by using cameras, video recorders and written observations to document your child’s thoughts and ideas as they learn. We collect their experiences, comments, ideas, learning stories, photos, and observations. Our educators use this information to develop an individually tailored learning program for all children.
Parents are encouraged to contribute information about what their child is doing and learning as continuity between the home and early learning environment can greatly enhance your child’s learning, development and sense of wellbeing. We want to get to know you more by building strong, meaningful relationships with all our families. This helps us to individualise learning experiences to better suit your child.
A great Michael Moore documentary explores how the Finland Primary School system has taken this research and run with it. A short clip can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-DcjwzF9yc