Play and learning at our Early Learning Centres are inseparable. In early childhood, children are learning more and at a faster rate than at any other time in the life span. It is through their active engagement in shared play and learning experiences that they develop a sense of individual identity, awareness of others and the skills needed to participate effectively in their social worlds.
We implement a dual curriculum that includes both Jewish studies and a contemporary Early Learning Curriculum. The Early Learning Curriculum includes both teacher-led learning experiences and emergent curriculum. Emergent curriculum draws on the interests of the children, educators, and families and is visible in children’s play, projects and investigations.
The curriculum within the Early Learning Program is informed by a number of educational philosophies as well as contemporary approaches within early childhood education. The educators bring a range of experience and philosophical approaches to their work with the children. Together they are exploring an eclectic range of philosophical perspectives in leading Early Learning Practice around the world, with constant questioning of how some of these principles can be integrated into our centres, keeping in mind our families, our environments, our resources and our adherence to DoCS Regulations:
Loris Malaguzzi and the early childhood experience in Reggio Emilia, Italy, gives weight to our embracing of the image of the young child as strong and capable, making learning visible, the environment as the third teacher and emergent curriculum.
Maria Montessori endorses that children move through different sensitive periods and interests in learning and that we as educators need to support this in each child. It is from her that we come to know that young children should be encouraged to be self-directed learners as they explore their environments and become independent learners.
Other approaches being explored include those of Rudolf Steiner and the high regard for children as spiritual beings. The promotion of learning through creative and dramatic play in environments that reflect the love and respect of nature. Our educators place importance on integrated learning experiences, where numeracy and literacy skills are gained through incidental rather than structured experiences.
Bloom’s Taxonomy is also being explored as a tool to understand the nature of thinking, and how to improve thinking through the way in which we pose questions and the language we use to encourage deeper levels of investigation and thought processes.
Central to the Early Learning Program are the principles, concepts and strategies to support play and learning as outlined in the NSW Curriculum Framework - The Practice of Relationships. This document was developed by The NSW Department of Community Services and provides a framework for early childhood learning where children, educators and families are actively engaged in the building of knowledge and relationships. Key ideas are a focus on the whole child and children learning together within the social context. The approach to teaching and learning is responsive to the strengths and interests and emerging development of the children and includes:
- the social child
- the feeling child
- the creative child
- the communicating child
- the sense of self
- the spiritual and moral child
- the healthy, active and physical child
- the thinking, investigating, exploring and problem solving child