Information about our Educational Program and Planning Cycle
Q: What learning outcomes do we support children to achieve?
Educators have Long term goals, medium term goals, and on the spot intentions for children’s learning. Our long-term goals are taken directly from our curriculum: Belonging, being and becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (DEEWR, 2009). Our medium term goals are more detailed plans we have in supporting the group towards achieving these broader outcomes. These are recorded in our ‘Possible lines of direction’ planning web. Our on the spot intentions for children are supported through meaningful interactions and use of flexible approaches as we support children’s learning by nurturing them, engaging in active supervision of their play, and interacting collaboratively to support their interactions and engagement in the program.
Q: How do we support children’s progress towards these goals?
Educators support each child to make progress in their learning and development through the implementation of an on-going cycle of planning (see below).
Educators liaise with families and gather information about each child through formal and informal conversations, reading your child’s enrolment form details and recording information about the child’s family, culture, interests, abilities, needs and disposition. We also take our own observations of each child’s learning as they engage with the physical and social aspects of their preschool environment.
2. Analyzing learning:
We consider all of the above sources of information gathered use it as a basis to consider the child’s current progress in their learning, considering how we can provide opportunities to explore and extend on their strengths, interests, culture and abilities and also offer new challenges and opportunities to scaffold their development in areas of identified additional need. We set goals to support these processes over time, knowing that real learning occurs over time and often requires we give children many opportunities for practice, reflection and re-visiting with uninterrupted lengths of time to investigate and discover. At the end of their time with us at preschool each child receives their portfolio to keep as a record of their learning journey. Our Early Childhood Teachers also prepare a NSW transition to school document to take to their chosen primary school prior to this important transition. This statement provides a summative assessment of your child’s progress towards each EYLF outcome.
We make the children’s learning visible by documenting each child’s engagement in the program. This is done by taking photos, contributing information to the daily report which is e-mailed to families, recording written observations and evaluations of the child, setting medium term goals for individual children or groups and writing evaluations on the implications to their learning. Educators observations and evaluations of children’s learning are recorded electronically through our ‘Kindyhub’ program and are e-mailed to families directly, with a hard copy printed out and added to the child’s individual portfolio to encourage the child’s involvement in the creation of this document. Sometimes additional documentation is created to display progress regarding what children know, can do and understand on a specific subject or interest based project in the preschool room. This may include displaying photos, work samples and written information relevant to the learning experience.
We consider the documentation we have recorded and we make plans to support and encourage children’s on-going learning and development which may include; making adjustments to our learning environment, additions to our provisions and resources on offer or use of specific pedagogical practices with a
child/ren in order to extend their learning and development, stimulate their curiosity and increase opportunities for meaningful engagement in the program.
Educators facilitate small group learning experiences, large group learning experiences, formal group times, use the indoor/outdoor environments, group projects, prepare and set up resources and provocations, engage in meaningful interactions and routines etc to facilitate the planned learning opportunities in order to support children’s development and wellbeing and progress towards goals.
Educators meet weekly to reflect on the delivery of our educational program and practice. We evaluate children’s engagement in the program and progress towards current goals in our planning web and take note of any changes adjustments and new directions agreed upon. We consider our roles in facilitating learning and make plans for professional development to enhance our skills as needed.
Sustainable practice and the natural environment
‘Outdoor learning spaces are a feature of Australian learning environments. They offer a vast array of possibilities not available indoors. Play spaces in natural environments include plants, trees, edible gardens, sand, rocks, mud, water and other elements from nature. These spaces invite open-ended interactions, spontaneity, risk-taking, exploration, discovery and connection with nature. They foster an appreciation of the natural environment, develop environmental awareness and provide a platform for ongoing environmental education.’ Pages 15, 16 Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF)
The natural environment plays an important role in our preschool program. We utilise our spacious outdoor areas throughout the day and encourage the children to develop respect for the living flora and fauna we share it with (such as the family of water dragons that visit us daily).
Sustainability can be broadly defined as ‘being able to meet our current needs without infringing on the ability of future generations to meet their needs’. – Melindi Robertson
Our preschool is on an on-going journey to improve our sustainable practices. In 2008 the children’s bathroom was equipped with dual flush toilets and basins with sensor taps. The bathroom, craft room and outdoor taps are serviced by a 15,000ltr water tank. We recycle paper and plastic packaging from food or craft items and food scraps are collected for our worm farm, or given to families to feed their chickens and/or pigs. The children, families and educators work collaboratively to care for our bush tucker and vegetable gardens.
Communication such as newsletters, observations, invoices etc are sent via email in an effort to use less paper and we will continue to plan small steps to increase our sustainable practices at the preschool both for now and for future generations to come.
Currently we or working towards two goals to continue on our journey in enhancing our sustainable practices. We are looking at installing solar to decrease our carbon footprint on the environment and also supporting families to pack healthy nude food lunch boxes which will decrease the amount of unnecessary packaging in our service.