In the preschool room we want to create a home like environment that children feel confident to explore and learn. We embrace and value each child as an individual with different needs, interests and ways of being. We want to provide a happy, relaxed and secure environment that makes every child feel safe where they can reach their individual potential.
Early childhood is a time for children to simply enjoy themselves, learning about themselves and shaping who they desire to become throughout the process.
The term play is excessively underrated for its potential- in fact through play based practical learning approaches, even us as adults tend to learn a lot more about the world around us and the practical basis of the skill we intend to understand further.
By acknowledging ourselves as a child-led, play based learning curriculum approach we do not mean that children flit between activities with no engagement or substantial ‘learning’ occurring, rather we recognise the prospective of children becoming attuned with what they enjoy and note the potential of interest based learning.
When you are truly interested in something then you try your absolute hardest to know more about this interest, you take on this learning through multiple avenues and immerse yourself in this journey until you feel content with the learning you have gained. We would like to think this is how our curriculum approach pans out for children; interests are at the peak priority of inquiry, where children have the opportunity to work alone, in small groups and in large groups, investigating, hypothesising and exploring the world around them.
Within this, children learn to have their own ideas, have their voices heard, listen to their peers, co-construct new ideas, revisit and reflect on the learning that has occurred and strategies about the future direction of their group inquiries. What a powerful tool for young children to learn at such a tender age. These social skills promote their growth and development on so many levels; these are skills that will encourage them to prosper into the future. One of the most important ways children make sense of their social worlds is through playing with others. A sense of belonging and positive sense of self is developed as children learn to negotiate roles and develop ways to positively interact with others.
Alongside social skills, these project inquiries mould multiple other learning domains. Commonly, literacy and early numeracy skills are challenged through play based inquiries as children share what they already know about the numerical and alphabet systems, whilst also engaging multimodal texts such as imagery. Sometimes as adults it is difficult for us to recognise the tremendous impact imagery has on shaping our brains development and encouraging us to recognise the messages and meaning presented by visual texts.
We believe children learn language and literacy through talking and listening as they interact with adults and other children during meaningful experiences. Language and literacy development is promoted in everyday conversations, books, dramatic play, art, music and movement. We believe children develop written literacy skills through experimentation with making marks that while being supported by adults.
We aim to enhance the children’s physical skills by setting up our environment both indoor and out to challenge children’s growing skills. The environment includes a wide range of activities which encourage the development of large muscles and small muscles movement and co-ordination.
Playing and learning go naturally hand in hand for pre-schoolers, we want to provide opportunities for them to challenge and master their skills while having fun and making friends.
The most important thing to take away from play based learning is to recognise that play is the natural instinct of the child – through play the child’s brain is wired in a natural process, with practical application being the most valuable tool for children’s growth and development.
As theorist Vygotsky (1978) says, “In play a child is always above his average age, above his daily behaviour; in play it is as though he were a head taller than himself.”