Philosophy

At Flinders University Child Care Centre, we believe education and high quality care involves an interaction between four key areas; Learning through Play; Children, Families and Communities; Educators; and Learning Environments. In placing an emphasis on these areas, we are able to develop and implement high quality, flexible, engaging and inclusive play-based programs. This document, our Philosophy, weaves together the values, beliefs and goals that represent who we are and who we want to become.

Learning through Play

Flinders University Child Care Centre firmly believes that children learn best through play. As such, we provide a curriculum and programs that are play based and developmentally appropriate. Play is voluntary, symbolic, pleasurable, meaningful, active, process-oriented and intrinsically motivated. Play provides a vehicle for children to be creative, imaginative, resourceful, resilient and persistent, to be confident and involved learners. Play encourages in the child a love of learning and encourages holistic development. Play does not mean that children are left to their own devices with educators acting as supervisors. Play requires educators to be intentional in all the decisions they make; from when and when not to enter a play situation, to the tone and volume of their voice, to the resources they provide. Educators are role models, participants, observers and provocators of children’s play.

We recognise that play and learning happen in social environments. Educators support children through being available, emotionally and physically. Educators may play with children, support children to enter and exit play experiences, and enable them to explore equity within their play. When children play in peer groups, they have the opportunity to test ideas, extend and challenge each other’s thinking, develop new understandings, and become effective communicators. Through play children develop empathy, consideration, and an understanding of complex social rules. The social aspects of play support the child to build a strong sense of identity and wellbeing, both as an individual and the member of a social group. Play enables children to be connected with, and to contribute to, their world.

Children, Families and Communities

At Flinders University Child Care Centre, the rights and best interests of children are paramount. Children are recognized as individuals with unique ideas, understandings, interests and beliefs. We provide safe, educational and individualised care, and develop play-based programs that support each child’s potential. Children are supported to explore, wonder, create, and imagine; to construct their own learning based on their ideas and shared understandings. Children are successful, competent, capable and dynamic learners.

The role of parents and families is respected and supported, and we seek to develop strong partnerships with families. We believe effective partnerships are based on open communication and trust. We seek to develop these partnerships through valuing each others’ knowledge and understanding of each child, and the roles each of us plays in the child’s life. Through strong partnerships, we are able to explore and share in the potential of each child and develop cultural competence. We recognise families are as unique as the individuals that they are composed of, each with their own values and culture. We encourage and support families to be engaged with the Centre through sharing ideas, experiences and values. Families are welcomed by FUCCC and our staff, finding an inclusive place of respect and equity.

We recognise that children, families and educators belong to a range of communities and that these communities are influences on and influenced by the cultures, values and beliefs of the people who participate in them. We see Flinders University Child Care Centre as a community within a diverse range of communities, and we seek to build connections through shared understandings and mutual respect. We particularly acknowledge and value Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. Flinders University Child Care Centre is a place of inclusion, equity and diversity.

Educators

At Flinders University Child Care Centre, educators are life-long learners alongside children, families and colleagues. Educators are recognised and respected as individuals who bring their unique skills, ideas and beliefs to the centre and to the programs they provide. Each educator is encouraged and supported through their professional and personal journey by Flinders University Child Care Centre and their colleagues. Educators are intentional, critically reflective and passionate.

As a part of ongoing learning and best practice, educators engage in reflective practice, both individually and with colleagues. Educators are supported to explore their practice and the practice that occurs within their team to facilitate continued self improvement, and improved outcomes for children. Educators are supported to engage in critically reflective practice through training, development, mentoring, and access to current research and theory.

As educators we act as advocates for young children, families, the early childhood profession, and play. We value learning and early childhood education and care as integral to the development of individuals and of communities, and add our voice to the voices of advocates within the community and the political sphere.
Educators gather and interpret information about individual children to assess their ongoing learning. Educators are critical thinkers who are capable of gathering observations and information in a variety of ways, which they then interpret and evaluate. Educators make children’s learning visible and support children to make decisions about their own learning.

Learning Environments

The primary role of our learning environments is to provide places that are welcoming to children, educators, families and communities. Our environments are a place of belonging, where there is space for everyone to feel safe, to feel they are heard, and to share their ideas, understandings and learning. They are reflective of the current interests and values of the people using them. We develop and plan our environments collaboratively to ensure there are places for everyone to wonder, explore, investigate and belong, either alone or in a group.

We are committed to maintaining our outdoor spaces, placing an emphasis on natural materials to promote a sense of wonder and an understanding of the natural world. We support children developing understandings of sustainability and ways we can actively preserve natural environments; locally, nationally and internationally. We provide resources from natural, renewable sources wherever possible. We incorporate sustainable practices and understandings in our curriculum and decision making procedures.

We provide indoor and outdoor environments that are interconnected; a free-flowing space where boundaries blur. Our decision to blur the boundaries between indoors and outdoors enables children to have access to a range of experiences, regardless of their traditional ‘place’, and Children are able to choose between indoor and outdoor play for the majority of their day. Both indoor and outdoor spaces are intentionally planned to facilitate small and large group and solitary play. Resources that are open-ended and flexible are carefully selected to encourage deep exploration of ideas and concepts, and presented in aesthetic and inviting ways.