Month: August 2013

Why White?

Flinders has undergone a massive change over the past month…we have been painted! No longer do we enter lavender and lemon coloured houses! This has been a long time coming for the educators at Flinders and signals a significant change in thinking regarding children’s environments for learning. Flinders has been lavender and lemon for over ten years. These colours were chosen for their believed benefits to children; colours that fostered calm in people based on principles of colour therapy. However, over the last ten years, thinking in this area has shifted dramatically, as one would expect. Experts in early childhood environments now emphasise the importance of neutral colour schemes that compliment rather than compete with the inhabitants of the space. Because that’s the thing about early childhood environments; they are rarely seen empty. They are filled with children, educators, resources, sounds and light. They become quickly busy and full of documentation and art work. So if a space is brightly coloured when empty, it becomes overwhelmingly coloured when filled with people. This can increase levels of stress, anxiety and tension. On the other hand, when a space is ¬†neutrally painted and furnished, the addition of children, educators, resources and documentation creates a balanced and interesting environment. The inhabitants of the space bring life and excitement to it; complimenting that environment rather than competing with it. This decreases the ‘busyness’ of the environment and creates space for children to be. The environment should be a blank canvas, only complete once theRead more

Children’s Documentation

Documentation and assessment for learning are an important part of what we do as early childhood educators. Documentation helps us to recognise what is working, what isn’t, what opportunities there are, what children know and what children are thinking about. It is essential for planning, reflecting and assessing against the Early Years Learning Framework and for measuring the ‘distance traveled’ by children. But what about children’s documentation; children’s versions of what they know and see? Their self assessment, their understanding of what they have learned and how far they have come? How do educators capture this and use it to inform their planning, reflection and assessment? Sturt House have introduced journalling as a tool to enable children to document their own learning. Each child has their own learning journal, which travels between Sturt House and home, and operates separately to their learning portfolio. As well as this, there are two journals that track learning relating to two key curriculum areas; gardening and cooking. The educators use these journals as a way of sharing the role of ‘documentor’ with children. The journals are a place where the child’s voice sits beside the educator’s voice, creating a balanced and shared perspective on events and experiences. The challenge for children’s documentation is finding ways for all children to be heard. Sturt House achieve this by taking a wider view of what constitutes recording. Children are supported to share their thinking in a variety of ways. Some children choose to write, have their wordsRead more