The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF, 2009) is an important curriculum document which informs and guides our practice as educators. We also have strong connections with the Reggio Emilia Educational Project, and use many of the ideologies and values of this practice. Our emergent curriculum and research based approach to planning are important aspects of the ways in which children learn. The experiences and resources provided come from the children, staff and families’ interests and explorations. Click here for a copy of an orientation to The Northern Nursery School.
“Children learn about themselves and construct their own identity within the context of their families and communities. This includes their relationships with people, places and things and the actions and responses of others. Identity is not fixed. It is shaped by experiences. When children have positive experiences they develop an understanding of themselves as significant and respected, and feel a sense of belonging. Relationships are the foundations for the construction of identity, ‘who I am’, ‘how I belong’, and ‘what is my influence?’ [The Early Years Learning Framework]
We celebrate and make visible children’s achievements through pedagogical documentation, which is displayed in the Children’s Journal, their portfolios, around the room and in information made available to parents. Families can take home a copy of the classroom’s learning journal each week to discuss at home after preschool. Individual and group learning is shared through visible representations. This purposeful process, supported by intentional teaching and collaboration from the children’s educators. It records children’s rich and meaningful moments of their learning and understanding.
Children’s portfolios include anecdotal records, children’s conversation, magic moments they experience, pedagogical documentation that celebrates the child, highlights of their personal dispositions of learning and makes visible children’s achievements and development, photographs and children’s creative expression.
We encourage families to read everything, as this creates a strong relationship between educators and parents in working together to build on children’s skills, aspirations, inspiration and development.
Children are also encouraged to look through their Children’s Journal with support from their educators, reflecting on their work and their experiences, building on their understandings to make meaning of their work.
Reggio Emilia Educational Project
Provocation and principles of the Reggio Emilia Educational Project
The image of the child,
The significance of relationships,
The value of wondering,
The teacher as researcher, facilitator, co-constructor of knowledge,
The environment as the third teacher,
The importance of multiple perspectives,
Builds on the theories and thinking processes of a child’s to facilitate new learning,
Long term projects as a vehicles for learning,
The pedagogy of listening
Documentation as a way of making the process of learning visible,
The social construction of knowledge.
Children’s ability to problem solve and make meaning about the world around them is enhanced through the development of relationships. This process involves interactions with other children, adults and the materials and resources provided. Children are encouraged to challenge themselves and others through this process as they engage in discussion, expression, debate and reflection in learning how to learn.
The Hundred Languages of Childhood
The child is made of one hundred.
The child has a hundred languages,
a hundred hands, a hundred thoughts,
a hundred ways of thinking, of playing, of speaking,
a hundred, always a hundred ways of listening of marvelling of loving,
a hundred joys for singing and understanding,
a hundred worlds to discover, a hundred worlds to invent, a hundred worlds to dream.
The child has a hundred languages, and a hundred, hundred, hundred more.
But they steal ninety-nine.
The school and the culture separate the head from the body.
They tell the child to think without hands, to do without head,
to listen and not to speak, to understand without joy,
to love and to marvel only at Easter and Christmas.
They tell the child to discover the world already there,
and of the hundred they steal ninety-nine.
They tell the child that work and play, reality and fantasy,
science and imagination, sky and earth, reason and dreams
are things that do not belong together.
And thus they tell the child that the hundred is not there.
The child says: NO WAY, the hundred is there..
Poem by Loris Malaguzzi, Founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach(translated by Lella Gandini)
The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF)
The Early Years Learning Framework is Australia’s first national early childhood curriculum framework and the first significant step in delivering the Australian Government’s commitment to providing high-quality early childhood education and care throughout Australia.
‘Early Years Learning Framework 2009- Belonging, Being and Becoming’
Our program recognises and includes the child, family and wider community in the context of our program. We focus on the relationships within these contexts that support socialisation and life skills. Our environment and experiences are rich with choice and focus on children’s creativity, learning and development; building on their independence, resilience and self esteem. We see the social construction of knowledge as central to our planning and programming. Children influence the direction and flow of our day, as do your comments and our reflections.
Our work with children is of a holistic nature. As early childhood professionals we are motivated in building and nurturing relationships, curriculum decision-making, teaching and learning through co-construction of knowledge. Our approach supports and expands children’s knowledge and understandings of the world, building on children’s existing knowledge and skills.
The National Quality Framework and National Quality Standards recognise ‘play based learning’ as a context for learning. Through play based learning children organise and make sense of their social worlds as they engage actively with people, objects and representations ( Belonging, Being and Becoming p.6). We use ‘intentional teaching’, which is deliberate, purposeful and thoughtful, to actively promote children’s learning through worthwhile and challenging experiences and interactions that foster high order thinking skills. We plan opportunities for intentional teaching and knowledge building, and reflect, document and monitor children’s learning.(Belonging, Being and Becoming p.15)
The headings and sub headings are taken from ‘Belonging, Being & Becoming’ These act as a guide in assessing and reflecting on how your child has grown over the time they spend with us at the NNS. They are holistic in nature and reflect a spectrum of skills and development that will support your child throughout their lives. We recognise that your perspective will add to this picture and we always appreciate and invite your comment and involvement in our program.
Experiencing belonging – knowing where and with whom you belong – is integral to human existence. Children belong first to a family, a cultural group, a neighbourhood, a wider community. Belonging acknowledges children’s interdependence with others and the basis of relationships in defining identities. In early childhood and throughout life, relationships are crucial to a sense of belonging. Belonging is central to being and becoming, in that it shapes who children are and who they can become.
Childhood is a time to be, to seek and make meaning of the world. Being recognises the significance of the here and now in children’s lives. It is about the present and them knowing themselves, building and maintaining relationships with others, engaging with life’s joys and complexities, and meeting challenges in everyday life. The early years are grounded in the present as well as preparing for the future.
Children’s identities, knowledge, understandings, capacities, skills and relationships change during childhood. They are shaped by many different events and circumstances. Becoming reflects this process of rapid and significant change that occurs in the early years as young children learn and grow. It emphasises learning to participate fully and actively within society.
There are 5 main Learning Outcomes designed to capture the integrated and complex learning and development of all children:
Children have a strong sense of identity
- Children feel safe, secure and supported
- Children develop their emerging autonomy, inter-dependence, resilience and ability to make choices and decisions that influence and impact their world
- Children develop knowledgeable and confident self-identities
- Children learn to interact in relation to others with care, empathy and respect
Children are connected with and contribute to their world
- Children develop a sense of belonging to groups and communities and an understanding of the reciprocal rights and responsibilities necessary for active community participation
- Children respond to diversity with respect
- Children become aware of fairness
- Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment
Children have a strong sense of well being
- Children become strong in their social and emotional wellbeing
- Children take increasing responsibility for their own health and physical wellbeing
Children are confident and involved learners
- Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity
- Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, enquiry, experimentation, hypothesizing, researching and investigating
- Children transfer and adapt what they have learned from one context to another
- Children resource their own learning through connecting with people, place, technologies and natural and processed materials
Children are effective communicators
- Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes
- Children engage with a range of texts and gain meaning from these texts
- Children express ideas and make meaning using arrange of media
- Children begin to understand how symbols and pattern systems work
- Children use information and communication technologies to access information, investigate ideas and represent their thinking
Learning in relation to the outcomes is influenced by:
- Each child’s current capabilities, dispositions and learning preferences
- Educators practices and the early childhood environment
- Engagement with each child’s family and community
- The integration of learning across the outcomes.
The National Quality Framework
The NQF introduces a new quality standard to improve education and care across long day care, family day care, preschool/kindergarten, and outside school hours care.
All Early Childhood Services fall under the National Quality Framework that includes:
The Education and Care Services National Law
The Education and Care Services National Regulations
The National Quality Standards.
The National Quality Standard (NQS) is a key aspect of the NQF. The NQS consists of seven quality areas, each containing standards and elements, that children’s education and care services are assessed and rated against. The seven quality areas covered by the National Quality Standard are:
- Educational program and practice
- Children’s health and safety
- Physical environment
- Staffing arrangements
- Relationships with children
- Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
- Leadership and service management
The Northern Nursery School was assessed in 2014 under the NQS and achieved the highest rating “Exceeding” across all 7 standards.