Early Childhood Education

Why Flinders?

Over the past couple of years there have been some significant changes to the field of early childhood education. These changes, including the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and the National Quality Framework (NQF), have lead to a significant decrease in the perceived gap between kindergartens and childcare centres. Previously, childcare has been seen as a service exclusively devoted to caring for children, and that when children are old enough they head off to kindy to begin their education. The reality is, high quality childcare has long been an environment that caters to the care AND education of children, with the awareness that for very young children there is often no difference. With the Labor government’s changes, the public perception of childcare began to change as people became more aware of the way children learn and the learning that takes place in childcare centres. This changing perception, however, is not pervasive; some people still believe that children need to go to kindy to learn. This is despite both facilities following the same curriculum framework and being assessed under the same standards. So when families choose to stay at Flinders and not access a kindy, they are sometimes receiving flack from those who don’t know. These families sometimes choose to share other’s responses with us. This bothered us, so we thought we’d plead our (and their) case. There are many reason to choose Flinders over a kindy.  Firstly, there are the national laws which outline the use of the same curriculumRead more

Environmental Planning

Programming at Flinders is framed by the Early Years Learning Framework and the centre philosophy, and is deeply rooted in play. Generally speaking, programming draws on children’s interests, key learning areas, and is specific to the context. So the Baby House program will look different to the Sturt House program, but there will be consistent and recognisable themes or ideas through both. The programs at Flinders are typically based on two key and intersecting areas; environments and interactions (provocations). Today we will talk about the environmental aspects of the program, and next time we will talk about interaction and provocation. We believe that children learn best through resourcing their own learning and having access to a range of different resources and spaces. This belief is based on Waldorf and Steiner theories of education, Vygotsky’s theory of children as actively engaged in their own learning, and the Reggio Emilia approach. When you pull different elements of each of these key theories together, the value of the physical environment is emphasised and everything from the colour of the walls to the volume of the music playing becomes significant. When we are planning for children’s learning (programming), we consider all aspects of the environment. Some things, like the colour of the walls, are mostly fixed, and require long term negotiations to change. Other things, like the music that is playing, the books and resources that are available, and how these are presented, are flexible and can change on a daily (even hourly) basis.Read more