We want to know what the children, think, feel, and wonder. We believe that the children will have things to tell each other and us that we have never heard before. We are always listening for a surprise and the birth of a new idea. This practice supports searching together for new meaning. Together we become a community of seekers. Louise Cadwell
At Lord Roberts Children’s Programs we define curriculum as PLAY. It is our belief that young children do all their best learning through play and investigations therefore it is our role to ensure that the quality of the play they engage in is the best it can be. Working on this belief our team enhances the learning the children engage and experience on a daily basis through careful observation, collaboration, planning, documentation and sharing of information that is unique to each child as an individual, the child as he/she fits into our preschool community and the child as a member of their family.
To accomplish this our team works on many levels:
With the child-
During the day the staff interact with and observe what the children are doing taking note of the things we see happening, the conversations we hear, the things the children seem curious about, where they spend their time and then we reflect as a team or individually on ways to enhance this interest by providing materials that allow children to represent their interests and enhance their abilities ( paints ,playdoh, sketch materials, new materials for physical development like balance beams and climbers), engage and provoke further investigation (adding new materials, rearranging space, offering invitations of things to explore and learn about) and documentation of their play so they can look at things they have done, reflect on what they were doing and discover new things as they look back upon themselves. We listen and reflect on what they could be thinking, what they could be learning and how we can help their learning be even more. Our program is designed for the child to interact and engage with other children who are younger and older than themselves. In a mixed age group we encourage children to share their thoughts and words, their experience and abilities, with each other by helping each other with daily routines (clean-up, dressing for outdoors, holding hands), encouraging them to ask others to join them in play and learning, and to observe where children have similar interests and provide opportunities for the development of peer-to-peer relationships.
With the family-
Each family is unique and we look to the family to teach us about your child’s interests and to inform our work by the sharing of information. This can be by informal conversations, scheduled meetings, participating in the centre at any time, bringing in photos of what is happening in your child’s world or just bringing cool ideas or things to share (a rock you found at the beach!). We look for our families to share your cultural diversity by giving us information so we may in turn learn from you and then share with all the children the richness unique to your culture and your family. We reflect our centres diversity through the art we post, the equipment we purchase, the food we serve, the music we listen to and the languages we speak. We share what we have learned about your child with you by documentation and photos, conversations and little notes, parent evenings, child evaluations and newsletters. We respect that the family is the child’s first, most important and life-long teacher and we need your knowledge to inspire our work with your child.
With the environment-
The environment is an important part of learning and to this we are committed to ensure that our space is engaging, welcoming, rich in opportunities for learning, observing, relaxing, moving, growing and playing. We do this by careful observation of children’s interests, the rotation of toys and equipment to stimulate and add to the experiences the children have. We arrange our space so there is room for large muscle growth, quiet 1; 1 times, loud crazy times, messy discovery times and time for reflection. The equipment and materials we provide is reflective of diversity, appropriate for all ages, interests and abilities in our centre and provides opportunities for the children to learn by doing and experiencing. Our schedule blends time for teacher directed learning where children can choose for themselves to participate and even more time for child-led discovery and choice. We believe that children deserve experience in the natural world on a daily basis therefore we spend time in the outdoors each and every day as well as bringing nature into our indoor space for their use and exploration.
With our each other-
Our team is a diverse group of individuals who look at each child through their own eyes. We are educated in early childhood and we learn each and every day through observations and documentation of the children. We share the information we gather from children, from parents, from each other and this becomes our guide in planning for what we need to do to stimulate further learning for the children in our care. We create opportunities for learning by arranging the environment in specific ways to increase possibilities, we add materials that allow for exploration at all levels-sensory, physical, intellectual, social, we provided open-ended materials children can create and develop imagination with, we provide challenges physically and intellectually so children experience success, failure and everything in-between, we provide social learning and awareness by supporting these skills with stories, guiding language, encouraging empathy, we provide opportunities for children to explore their world, transform the materials in it, change their environment by reorganizing it as they need and to build things up and take them down as they learn about the world around them. We evaluate our work regularly and reinvent our ways of doing things to meet the children’s needs. We are committed to further learning and attend training opportunities to deepen our understandings of the work we do. We learn every day from each other, the parents in our program, and most importantly from the children in our program.