At Nurture Early Education we are passionate about the learning journey the children and Educators go on every day while they spend time in our environment. Our Curriculum is grounded in the Early Years Learning Framework and inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach.
Making Learning "Visible"
Learning should also be visible – so we document the learning and make it available for our children, our colleagues and our families so that everyone can see and contribute to the learning. Documentation takes many forms (eg art, conversations, photographs, learning stories, group observations etc) and allows a showcase for the children's skills, dispositions and abilities. In us all taking an interest in this display of the children's learning, we're demonstrating how proud we are of them and their 'being' and 'becoming'.
Reflection And Continuous Improvement
Our practices and documentation also allow us to 'reflect', which is a critical part of our professional practice as Early Childhood Educators – ensuring we are constantly reviewing what we do, how we do it, what we learned, what more we can learn, then researching and devising new opportunities for scaffolding and extending learning opportunities for the children and our learning community. Leading to the reality that we are all 'Learners' here at Nurture Early Education.
Play Based Learning
We offer a play based learning environment as play is a recognised, valued process for children's learning, thinking, imagination, story making and communication. As Early Childhood Educators, we seek out resources and information and then modify the environment ensuring that we continually develop our play spaces as the children's interests change and create spaces that:
• Provide an unhurried environment where children have time to explore and extend their investigations
• Are responsive to children's cues and the way they use the environment and materials
• Are inviting with open-ended materials
• Extend children's interests and learning
• Allow for Educators to model and provide instruction when required
• Allow for Educators to offer suggestions and encourage children to learn from each other
The play of young children includes many different types including sensory, explorative, physical, creative, symbolic, projective, role play, dramatic play and games with rules. All are important aspects of children's learning and development. Our "play based" program is also designed to:
• Encourage children to develop an understanding of their social worlds. They can learn to trust, form attachments, share, negotiate, take turns, take risks and resolve conflict.
• Provide children with opportunities to express a sense of agency and demonstrate their competence and be leaders in their own learning by offering choices and the ability to self-select resources and other play items.
• Offer a sense of belonging and being – supporting the development of children's individual and social identity.
• Give children the opportunity to use play to participate in their culture - to develop the ability to express their culture.
• Allow children to order the events in their lives and to share those events with others.
• Allow adults (particularly Educators) to interact with and observe children – gaining insights into their interests, skills and knowledge
The Reggio Emilia Approach originated in the town (and surrounding areas) of Reggio Emilia in Italy out of a movement towards progressive and cooperative early childhood education. Since its development at the end of World War II in the 1940's, this inspiring and innovative educational approach to early childhood learning has been used worldwide. Loris Malaguzzi, is broadly recognised as the 'father' of the approach and widely documented and promulgated the philosophy as an alternative to the more traditional, rote learning styles of early learning.
It is unique to Reggio Emilia and is not a method. There are no international training colleges to train to be a Reggio Emilia teacher. Outside of the region of Reggio Emilia, all schools and preschools are Reggio Emilia inspired (much like how champagne can only be called Sparkling Wine outside of the region of Champagne in France). At Nurture Early Education we apply an adaptation of the approach specific to the needs of our community...this is important as no two Reggio Emilia inspired communities will look the same as the needs and interests of the children, their families and our educators, will always be different.
How The Reggio Emilia Approach and Nurture Early Education Supports Our Families
We consider parents and families to be a vital component to the Reggio Emilia philosophy and, therefore, part of our community. Parents are viewed as partners, collaborators and advocates for their children. Educators respect parents as each child's first teacher and involve parents in the development of the curriculum as much as possible.
We encourage our parents and families to volunteer and participate in our Centre programs as this can allow for this educational philosophy to continue when the child leaves the classroom (ie we can then better collaborate about the home expectations and needs and those that are supported and encouraged here at Nurture Early Education). We want to know our families better, their traditions, their routines, their talents, their expectations and we want you to know us too! We understand that not all parents and families can participate as actively as they might like to, so we have developed mechanisms to allow our parents to participate in the planning and evaluation process. We do this via various mechanisms including:
• face to face conversations regarding your child and his/her needs and current levels of participation. This should occur every day your child attends and can occur more formally with previous arrangement (we can set up one on one meetings if needed/requested).
• we have parent/educator meetings scheduled at least twice a year to set aside the time and space to speak with families directly about their child/ren
• our Facebook & instagram presence allows for daily and immediate feedback regarding the program. We post daily reflections on how our day is progressing, including photos, so you can see what is occurring on a daily basis.
• our parents are asked on a monthly basis to provide feedback regarding our policies. We have a yearly policy review cycle and each month several policies are considered.
• We invite speakers to address our families on current issues and trends relating to child rearing/parenting (eg nutrition, understanding children's behaviour)
• Newsletters are produced monthly and
• when there are major changes that are industry related, we will go above and beyond to ensure that our families are aware of these changes, their (potential) impact on our Centre and how they can provide input to adopting these changes to best meet our learning community needs.
How The Reggio Emilia Approach (and Nurture Early Education) Sees Children
The Reggio Emilia approach views children as being worthy of being listened to and feels that adults can actually learn from children as well as the other way around. Here at Nurture Early Education, Educators are encouraged to allow the children to guide their own curriculum based upon their own interests and curiosities. The classroom environment is also geared to accommodate for the needs of the children. Children are encouraged to develop their own curiosities and potential in order to understand the world around them and how they fit within this.
It is understood that children express themselves in numerous ways. Loris Malaguzzi wrote a famous poem (see below) that speaks to the difference between the Reggio Emilia approach and the more mainstream approach to early learning – and declaring that children will battle to have their voices heard! Here at Nurture Early Education we value the voice of the child and do all we can to support its hundred languages!