The Early Learning Centre curriculum is a play-based inquiry program in a learning environment that is influenced strongly by the Reggio Emilia approach to education.
The program incorporates The National Framework for Early Childhood-Being, Belonging and Becoming. It identifies five Early Years Learning and Development Outcomes for all children:
- Children have a strong sense of identity
- Children are connected with and contribute to their world
- Children have a strong sense of wellbeing
- Children are confident and involved learners
- Children are effective communicators
The Forest Schools/Bush Kindergarten philosophies involves each class participating in a weekly walks where children connect with nature, learn about the environment and develop physical, emotional, resilience and risk taking skills.
Our program offers the best of both worlds. A secure and creative space inside, a gently challenging outdoor investigative zone which supports young children to develop emotional and physical confidence and skills, and then the wider property where they can feel the freedom of a fully natural environment.
The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme also begins in the Early Learning Centre. It builds on the use of an inquiry-based approach to learning and promotes the development of the learner profile where students are actively encouraged to be inquirers, communicators, thinkers, open minded, balanced, risk takers, knowledgeable, principled, caring and reflective.
Embedding sustainability within the Early Learning Centre
As educators we work together with the Early Learning Centre children and support them to become environmentally responsible and to show respect for the environment, building an understanding of sustainability.
Within the Early Learning Centre (ELC) we incorporate sustainable practices wherever possible including water tanks, using natural and recycled materials in play and art and craft, tending to the vegetable garden and caring for our animals. Experiences in the natural environment, including our weekly walks, further support the children to develop an understanding and respect for the natural environment and the interdependence between people, plants, animals and the land.
The ELC4 children are also involved in jobs of responsibility as sustainability monitors, choosing a specific role and working with a friend to share this responsibility within the classroom. Our jobs include collecting water under our taps for our plants, composting, caring for the worm farm, recycling and switching off the lights. Through classroom discussions the ELC4 children share this information with the ELC3 children, who in turn support them in their duties.