We believe that children learn best in a warm, secure nurturing and non-competitive environment where they feel confident and valued as individuals. Research has shown that play is the best way for the children to learn the concepts, skills and tasks needed to set a solid foundation for later life. When children are encouraged and given the opportunity to explore and experiment through play, they will became confident and active learners.
Over the years there have been many theories regarding the value of play for a child’s development. According to Piaget play is linked to cognitive development, in which children progress through stages where they have an active role in engaging in problem solving while developing an understanding of the world around them (Dockett, S. and Fleer, M.). Vygotsky’s view was that play serves as a tool of the mind enabling children to master their own behavior’s while promoting cognitive, emotional and social development (Vodrova, E. & Leong, D.) Froebel regarded plays as a strong connection between play and learning, acknowledge the importance of adult interactions and interventions (Dockett, S. and Fleer, M.). Groos, Instinct – Practice Theory, viewed play as training for later life (Dockett, S. and Fleer, M.) Looking at play as a learning tool it can be said that each of the theories are still current today, in some way, when placed within certain scenarios. All of these can influence how we work with children. The EYLF and NQS also reflect these theories.
Ponyara Preschool educators value; secure, respectful, reciprocal relationships and partnerships with the children, families and the community with a respect for diversity. We have high expectations and equity or each and every child who attends our centre. We ensure that ongoing learning and reflective practice are implemented and displayed throughout our programming.
We believe all these aspects should be considered when developing a program for the children in our care. We apply Dr. Maria Montessori’s quote “don’t lead them, follow where they are and what they are doing help them develop at their own speed” while observing, planning and reflecting. We believe that children learn best when they have an opportunity to have hands – on experiences and where they are encouraged to observe and experiment. We believe that using a variety of observations, methods, and knowing when and how to participate in play with children is the best way to gain understanding of their development.
By reflecting these theories and Early Years Learning Framework we can plan experiences that:
- Foster self-concept and social skills
- Encourage thinking, reasoning, questioning, problem solving and experimenting
- Encourage expressive and receptive language skills
- Encourage physical development
- Foster self-help skills and independence
At Ponyara Preschool we believe that each and every child should feel valued a respected within the environment (Belonging). Each child that comes to Ponyara Preschool is unique with a variety of knowledge, skills, understanding and dispositions (Being). We listen to and observe the children as a way of gaining knowledge of what the already known as well as their current interests. We then use the information gathered to provide a variety of experiences to encourage the children to extend on these interests and their overall development (Becoming).
We believe we need to be flexible in our approach to planning and programming in order to include children’s spontaneous play and learning experiences, as well as looking out for the teachable moments that arise everyday. This however needs to be balanced with consistency to provide children with a sense of security and an understanding of our expectations while at Ponyara Preschool.
We, the educators at Ponyara Preschool, believe we play an important role in educating the children about caring for the earth, each other and respect for the natural environment. We understanding the importance of teaching children about their environmental responsibility while connecting them to the natural world is essential to their holistic development.