We are here to encourage the children to learn. However, we are also here to make learning enjoyable and to create a home away from home for your children.
Werribee Little Learners strives to provide an emergent curriculum based on the VEYLDF, and the belief that children learn best through play. Play provides endless opportunities for exploration, discovery, problem solving and engaging with people and the environment through meaningful, holistic and open ended experiences. Learning and development is fostered through children’s strengths and interests and by supporting and scaffolding children’s experiences so that optimal learning can take place. We aim to provide a dynamic and challenging educational programs ensuring the environment is inviting and aesthetically pleasing, ensuring children feel safe and where their needs are met and responded to in ways that foster trusting relationships with peers and adults.
Communication is valued as the basis of responsive and reciprocal relationships between children and families. Parents are respected as the children’s first teachers and the bond developed between parent and child is most important. We aim to acknowledge, support and respect each individual family and welcome parent and family participation at Werribee Little Learners.
Our programs and environments encourage environmental awareness through exploration and discovery of natural materials. We believe that it is important for young children to develop an appreciation of our natural world; and a respect for living things. Natural materials, such as clay, water, sand and dirt are valued in our early childhood environments for their unique sensory and educational qualities.
Embeded into our programs are the importance of development and growth of not only our bodies but our minds and souls. We have employed Kelly Sports to come on a weekly basis to teach the children to care for and develop healthy bodies, and we have a yoga instructor also come weekly to teach the children how to have a healthy mind and soul. We feel these are important and need to be fed and nutured accordingly.
We are committed to professional development to ensure that our early education practices are based on current early childhood research and methods that fit with our philosophy.
Our curriculum is responsive to and reflects upon the interests, strengths, abilities and experiences of the children. Programs and routines are flexible and relaxed to meet the individual and group needs of all children. Programs promote equality and a multicultural perspective and encourage the participation of all children regardless of ability, gender, age, race, religion or linguistic diversity. Programming and documentation of children’s individual experiences and learning is progressive and reflects the children’s strengths and interests.
Our curriculum focuses on the children’s emerging abilities, interests and experiences both individually and collectively. The philosophy emphasises careful observations of children and collaboration between children, staff and parents to provide meaningful and interest based programs.
Effective programming also takes into account feedback and observations from all the centre’s stakeholders, most importantly, from the children themselves. The program comprises all aspects of the children’s experiences at the centre. It needs to be flexible and adaptable, at short notice, to meet individual and group interests, talents and abilities. The program should be stimulating and involving, with a variety of opportunities available for children to pursue their current interests and develop new ones.
OBSERVATIONS AND EVALUATIONS:
THE VICTORIAN EARLY YEARS LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK:
Identifies five Early Years Learning and Development Outcomes for all children:
• Children have a strong sense of identity (identity)
• Children are connected with and contribute to their world (community)
• Children have a strong sense of wellbeing (wellbeing)
• Children are confident and involved learners (learning)
• Children are effective communicators (communication).
The Victorian Framework describes each of these Outcomes for children from birth to eight years, linking the learning outcomes from the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia to the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) Levels 1 and 2. The Outcomes provide a shared language for all early childhood professionals and families to use when planning for children’s learning and development. The Victorian Framework identifies eight Practice Principles for Learning and Development, which describe the most effective ways for early childhood professionals to work together and with children and families to facilitate learning and development. These Principles are based on the pedagogy of the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia and the P–12 Principles of Learning and Teaching, and on the latest international evidence about the best ways to support children’s learning.
Our practices are guided by this holistic approach to children’s development and you will see this reflected in our philosophy and programming.
THE ROLE OF THE EDUCATORS:
The role of the educator is to observe, document, collaborate, facilitate, evaluate and extend the programs based on the children’s interests and emergent abilities. Educators focus on individual and group strengths and interests, background information and observations of the children’s experiences in a social context and create an emergent learning environment that responds to cues from the children. The programs, experiences and environment is carefully planned and arranged to encourage active enquiry, investigation and discovery.
The role of the educator is to facilitate and encourage children to play, to document, reflect upon and enhance the environment and play materials. Educators communicate their programs and the children’s learning experiences with parents and caregivers on a regular basis and work to include parent’s suggestions in the programs. Parent participation is always welcome and we value all contributions. Educators listen to children and parents in a positive way to ensure that the program is appropriate to individual needs and communicate with children to convey respect and promote equality. Educators respect the individual cultural needs, backgrounds and diversity of children and their families. The programs reflect an inclusive, multi-cultural and anti-bias perspective.
Educators work closely with each child to nurture their self-confidence and self-esteem and to promote a sense of place and belonging. Families are asked to provide a family photo to display prominently in the room at the children’s level for this purpose. Educators act to build positive relationships with children and collaborate with them, allowing them to express their feelings and ideas, solve conflicts, develop independence and understand and respect others.
Children are encouraged to represent their understanding, ideas, feelings and creativity through a variety of mediums. Our programs allow children to explore and discover through open-ended and natural materials to encourage a diverse range of learning experiences. Educators collaborate with the children and offer ideas and carefully selected materials as a springboard to extend on their ideas and interests for further exploration and discovery. Educators ensure that children are free to self-select from a wide variety of individual and small group play experiences for most of the day that are thoughtfully presented and modified as required based on an understanding of the children’s strengths and interests.
Educators are encouraged to be selective in the materials and props chosen to enhance the children’s play and the way in which they are presented as this can dramatically influences the way in which children play with the materials. Where possible staff will provide open ended natural materials, and limit the use of closed, plastic and commercial toys.