Our Centre Philosophy:
An Evolving Document
LEARN CONNECT CREATE
A place of respect
Respect for the environment, for each other, for inclusion and support for all children and families. Respect for our indigenous culture and diversity, and a positive attitude and culture in our kindergarten towards diversity.At North Ringwood Preschool we value and respect all children and believe in preserving children’s childhood. We offer a play based curriculum and are guided by current research and the Victorian Early Years Development framework. We believe that children deserve extended periods of time to practice, consolidate and master skills and base our curriculum on children’s interests strengths and needs.We know that children learn in a social context and that the environment and interactions with peers and adults have a significant influence on your children’s development.
We have created this document from a child centred approach with the essence of Learn, Connect and Create at its core. We have looked specifically at how our philosophy relates to the children, families and staff. Our philosophy will evolve further as our knowledge and understanding of how children learn grows and the needs of our community changes.
Our understanding of how children learn:
At North Ringwood Preschool we read, adapt and blend many theories together to create a holistic view of the child. We know that children learn in many different ways; we know this through a variety of research and theories such as current brain research, and Gardner’s multiple intelligence. Our most influential theorists at the moment would be those with language communication and relationships at the core of the learning process, and others open to multiple perspectives on learning. This knowledge and understanding helps and guides us in our interactions with children and also the way in which we set up our environments and work with families and the community. We know it is vital to have respectful and responsive relationships with children, families, staff, and community. We respect that children learn through their senses, and through hands on experiences and trial and error, they need time to explore and master new skills. To learn at a higher level we know that children may need to revisit past experiences, ideas, thoughts and emotions. We can help them do this in a variety of ways for example reflection books, portfolios, oral conversations, keeping experiences and environments familiar for long periods of time.We also place a high emphasis on the natural environment and the outdoors. We have high expectations for all children to reach their own potential in their own time. We respect them as capable individuals who come from diverse families, and cultures. We embrace and encourage diversity. Where possible we use real tools and materials for example glass jars for paints, and items from nature. In the outdoors children get the opportunity to express themselves physically, through dramatic play, through their senses, exploration, and real work such as gardening. These experiences can also be transferred into the indoor environment; ideas, images and inspirations from the outdoors can be used in art, building, and creative expression.
Learning about parents/families/caregivers needs and expectations:
We feel that working collaboratively with parents is an essential part of our program and one that is often difficult to do effectively due to numbers and time constraints and it is an area that we will continue to work on. We learn about our families by setting aside time at the start of the year to meet (interviews) and go through any information that parents may like to share with us including the essential enrollment document. We invite families to participate in the program in a variety of ways which may include sharing of special skills such as cooking, parent’s nights, morning teas, feedback forms and surveys and informal conversations or organised meeting, phone calls and emails. We really welcome and encourage these connections with our families. In collaborating with our families we believe it is vital to form connections with other professionals who may also be involved with our families.
Learning for Staff:
We feel that we are on a constant learning journey which can at times be overwhelming but ultimately challenging and satisfying. We learn every day from the children, from each other, from families, from support networks, our readings and by attending professional development.We will endeavour to make the children’s learning visible for them and for their families. This may be in a written story, rephrased to a child, shared in a conversation with a parent or documented through photos. We constantly reflect on our practices, understandings, programming, and interactions.
Connecting Children to the centre, staff, each other, and the community:
We see the orientation process as vital to building trust and respect with our children and for the children to connect to the kindergarten environment. We also feel that it is important for the children to see themselves reflected in the environment. We do this through the use of photographs to identify ‘work’ pockets, birthday charts, in reflection books, and in various ways around the room.When children are having difficulty connecting to the kindergarten environment we provide resources such as social stories.We form a connection to the community through parents visiting to assist in the program, incursions, and excursions. Families Connecting Families to the centre, services, and the community Learning about each family’s needs and building a connection are intertwined. Different staff may use different methods, but the goal is the same; to have a genuine connection with families and the community around us. Building a community where all are welcomed is a major goal. Some of the more formal methods may include sharing of portfolios, newsletters, satisfaction surveys, interviews and our orientations process. We also have social functions throughout the year. We try to understand and learn about our families cultural backgrounds and accommodate these where possible in our program. We endeavour to make every member of the family and community welcome within our centre and pride ourselves on achieving that sense of community.We connect families to outside agencies when required such as allied health professionals and also liaise with organisations that have existing connections with families.We also try and connect our children and families with our local community with incursions and excursions and providing school transition information and transition reports. We connect with our parent committee through meetings and written reports.
Connecting staff to the centre, children, families, and the community:
We endeavour to learn about ourselves and connect with each other discovering common values and ideals to present a consistent philosophy across the centre. Staff are connected with children and families through orientation processes and day to day contact. Sharing of personal stories is reciprocal with children and families to build rapport, familiarity, and community.
Create happy independent capable children who feel ownership over the program:
We hope that our environment and teachings/interactions are full of all sorts of creative possibilities many of which will be child directed and not even yet thought of. We want our children to continue evolving into independent, socially competent people. We want to encourage them to be creative thinkers and problems solvers taking safe risks. We want our children to be conscious of and care for/respect each other and their environment and resources.
Create a connected community for families:
We aim to build confident family networks.We support families to feel confident and capable in their parenting role by informal conversations, offering feedback, resources and referral to outside agencies as necessary. A sense of community is also developed through working bees and social functions.
Create motivated and committed staff:
We hope to continue to create motivated and passionate staff.We hope to create beautiful, inviting and stimulating environments for our children and all who visit us and spend time in our program through the use of natural materials, open-ended loose part materials (pipes, fabric, reels, etc) and a variety of sensory experiences.We hope to create warm unhurried spaces that are safe and nurturing, we do this through implementing an indoor/outdoor program, informal snack time, and a knowledge and understanding of our children’s needs through sharing of information and documentation. We also aim to only change our program when there is a need to do so.We hope to create a safe environment.We aim to create a sustainable healthy environment through using water tanks, gardening opportunities and care for our natural environment.