Programming at Play & Learn centres is based on a range of learning styles and focuses on what the children are interested in. It is called a child initiated approach and draws from the Reggio Emilia ideology and the Early Years Learning Framework.
The Reggio Emilia ideology is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children through a self-guided curriculum.
Similarly the Early Years Learning Framework, part of the new National Quality Framework introduced by the Australian government, has a strong emphasis on play-based learning and building on the interests of the child.
This means that our educators practice a mix of learning strategies that include: learning through play, using learning environments, being responsive to children, and intentional teaching.
In line with the Early Years Learning Framework our programming is focused on the following five learning outcomes:
1. Children have a strong sense of identity
2. Children are connected with and contribute to their world
3. Children have a strong sense of well-being
4. Children are confident and involved learners
5. Children are effective communicators
An example of what this means in practice:
Catherine, the educator, notices that Lucy, 4 years old, is interested in pretend play with the soft toy animals in the room. She takes the animals to the home corner where she pretends to feed them, bath them and tuck them into bed. Lucy tells Catherine that the tiger is very sick and needs some water and a story. Lucy sits beside the tiger and reads it a story. Catherine over the next few days changes the home corner into a veterinary hospital providing all the children with veterinary dress ups and items including thermometers and stethoscopes. Catherine further extends this interest with new resources such as photos and stories about animals and veterinary hospitals. Lucy expresses to Catherine during her play that her tiger is all better now and ready to play outside with the slugs and caterpillars. Catherine thinks to herself a nature bug hunt will be next and starts planning…
Play & Learn use a web based program called EarlyWorks for the documentation of each child’s learning journey for their time in care. This includes photos and documentation of the child’s achievements available for families through an individualised portal. For more information on EarlyWorks.
The Commonwealth government has a policy for childcare centres called the National Quality Framework. What does this mean?