Month: June 2014

Work and Play

At Flinders, we have a strong culture of play and play based learning built on contemporary early childhood theory. But not everything we do at Flinders is play based; there are a number of aspects of our program that are work based, outcomes based, and task oriented. Regular experiences such as cooking and gardening cannot be considered play in the sense of early childhood theory; these experiences are not exclusively ‘pleasurable, self motivated, process oriented, symbolic, active and voluntary’ (Lennie Barblett, Why Play Based Learning?). They have clear guidelines and boundaries which are defined by educators, and are only available for certain periods of time. Children work collaboratively with an educator towards a particular goal and the product is as important as the process. The integration of these kinds of work based experiences within a play based program gives children an opportunity to learn new and important skills and processes, to be involved in different kinds of tasks, and to develop different kinds of community relationships. The task oriented nature of the experiences leads to explicit teaching opportunities relating to health and hygiene practices, safety, turn taking and cooperation. The guidelines for participation in this kind of experience are clear; children know that this is not a time for play but a time for work, and whilst it is fun and we do gain a significant sense of satisfaction from the process, participation is dependent on working within certain guidelines. As these guidelines are generally related to personal and group safety, health andRead more

Early Childhood Australia Biennial Conference

As we have mentioned in previous posts, Flinders will be presenting at the Early Childhood Australia Biennial Conference in Melbourne in September this year. We are extremely excited about and grateful to have this opportunity, not only to present our work in relation to the Making our Mark project, but also to be a part of the professional learning community that will be attending the four day event. Educators from Flinders have attending ECA Conferences in the past and have come back feeling inspired and excited about their experience, ready to find ways to translate new ideas and theories into practice at Flinders. We will be presenting on the Saturday of the conference, and our paper is titled Making our Mark. The Making our Mark project has been discussed in previous posts on this blog, so head back through our history to find out a little more. As a part of the preparation process for the paper presentation, the Programming Educators have been involved in an intense one month period of writing, meeting and thinking hard about the data we have collected so far. As we have reflected, thought, conversed and challenged ourselves and each other, we have come to some very exciting new ideas and understandings about the role of mark making in children’s learning, our role in facilitating mark making experiences, and how various theories can act as lenses through which we can analyse our work. Without giving the entire paper away, we are looking forward to sharing ourRead more