Our Reggio Emilia approach to Early Childhood puts children in the driver’s seat and recognizes that they have an innate curiosity and the power to develop and learn from their environment. Through our inquiry-based program, children foster their wonderings and knowledge. We know that our youngest students are competent, creative, and resilient learners, who learn best through a “hands-on approach” when making discoveries within a supportive environment.
We believe that children thrive in a warm, loving environment that gives them confidence to explore. We will be responsive and nurturing, encouraging children to take risks, try new things and build relationships with peers and adults. Our classroom will provide a family and a kind and loving environment that will promote social and emotional growth and encourage learning.
Early Childhood Program
Having a strong understanding of who our students are, how they learn, and what their interests are, we are able to design a program that takes their learning, understanding and questioning further. Our program is inspired by Reggio Emilia, whose philosophy and practice recognizes that all children have multiple ways of playing, thinking, speaking and learning.
Our environment supports this understanding by enabling children to self-select the tools and materials needed to express themselves and develop their potential. The voices of our students are heard and respected.
Reggio Emilia identifies the environment as the ‘third teacher.’ Knowing the capabilities of our learners, our environment is set up for the children to independently follow their interests, select materials, and engage in meaningful and intentional ways. The setting promotes relationships, communication, collaboration, and exploration through play. Through purposeful choice of materials, the environment promotes creativity, thinking, problem-solving, and risk-taking through open-ended provocations.
Our learning environment reflects:
- Individual learning paths of students
- Accessibility and engagement for all learners
- Student ownership
- Stimulation to celebrate students’ capabilities
- Choice of materials and resources
- Changing needs as students learn and grow
- Opportunities for risk-taking in a safe and nurturing space
- Connections to nature
- Diversity of our community with honor and respect
Every child is valued as a contributing member of our community. As developing independent and empowered thinkers, our students
- Demonstrate curiosity by asking their own questions and finding their own answers
- See themselves as researchers as they wonder, hypothesize, investigate, and problem solve while exploring
- Value and appreciate their own roles within the learning process
- Welcome new opportunities through a growth mindset
- Are creators and ambassadors of community and culture
The teacher’s role in EC is to work alongside our students by becoming members of their learning group. Rather than be the one to guide the learning, our teachers follow the interests and engagements of the children. Not only can the teacher be used as a resource, but also as a support and guide to help them extend their thinking. As facilitators, the teachers help students to consider alternative approaches and assist them as they problem-solve through the challenging phases of their investigations.
- Hear and respect each child’s voice
- Value children’s thoughts and opinions
- Empower children to be learners
- Create a safe and caring environment based on respect and trust
- Develop a broad and balanced curriculum
- Document children’s learning, thinking, and interests
- Respect the value of childhood
- Provide the space for children to discover new passions and joy
Our Early Childhood program celebrates the value of children learning through play. We recognize that it is through play that children learn essential skills and gain knowledge. Play provides an optimal learning environment as it is engaging, interactive, and social. Through play, children develop in all areas of development- social and emotional skills, language, cognitive, fine and gross motor, as well as academic areas like literacy and math.
Our play-based program involves both Free Play and Guided Play experiences each day:
Free Play is play that is directed and initiated by the child. Free play is typically described as play that is child-directed, voluntary, internally motivated and interest or socially based.
Guided Play refers to learning experiences that combine the child-directed nature of free play with a focus on learning objectives and outcomes, with adult scaffolding. Our Guided Play experience usually reflects our Unit of Inquiry.
The aim of our program is to support the child’s natural curiosity and challenge their thinking. Our curriculum is an inquiry-based program, where children are able to explore ideas and concepts through inquiry. We cover transdisciplinary themes including ‘Who we Are’, ‘How the World Works’, ’How we Express Ourselves’, ‘Sharing the Planet’ and ‘Where We Are in Place and Time’. Three to four units are implemented throughout the year, giving children the opportunity to delve deeply into each of the units, building their understanding, broadening their vocabulary, and exploring the unit through a variety of experiences and perspectives.
Early Childhood students as emerging readers and writers, and we support them through each developmental stage. Children learn through imitation, developing their vocabulary through stories, songs, discussions. and inquiry. They learn the art of conversation as they become more aware of the need to listen whilst others speak. They begin to recognize that print and illustrations are two different things. They begin to draw upon environmental print and start to recognize the consistency in letter names and sounds.
As emerging readers, students begin to read ’predictable’ texts such as morning messages, the refrain in stories, classmates’ names, etc. They begin to retell familiar stories, predict the ending to stories, and create their own stories through loose parts, story workshop, and dramatic play
Forest School is an exciting opportunity that we are developing initially for our younger children that will extend to upper grades in the near future.
This Forest School programme is tailored to meet the needs of individuals within each group and is continuously developed as the children/young people grow in confidence, skills and understanding. The ethos of Forest Schools allows learners the time and space to develop skills, interests and understanding through practical, hands-on experiences in a natural setting. It is a child-led approach whereby the practitioners will work with the children to build on experiences they are interested in.