As children begin to feel comfortable in the space and in relationship with educators, they begin to recognise the possibility of connecting with their peers. Reaching out for friendship and connection looks very different for different combinations of children at different times and in different spaces – there are endless variables that children learn to recognise and navigate as they explore their social worlds. Learning to be friends is complex and fraught with emotional risk. Children, in seeking companionship, demonstrate incredible levels of resilience as they reach out, make mistakes, experience success, and try it all again tomorrow. If we undertook the same process that children undertake as adults I expect we would be in awe of children’s competence and bravery. Children might reach out for friendship by: passing a toy to a peer (or taking a toy from a peer!) playing the same game alongside a peer smiling and other reciprocal facial expressions spontaneously joining in play with a peer, such as throwing back a ball that passes them by and then continuing the game explicitly joining in play with a peer, such as inviting or agreeing to an invitation to play Connections to peers is essential to development of belonging, and results in a strong sense of community. The EYLF states; “Children’s connectedness and different ways of belonging with people, country and communities helps them to learn ways of being which reflect the values, traditions and practices of their families and communities. Over time this learning transforms the ways theyRead more
In our last post, we emphasised the importance of developing relationships at this early stage of the year. The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF), the Flinders Philosophy and the National Quality Standard (NQS) all emphasise the significance of relationships as the foundation for children’s learning. But what does this look like? Each child is unique, and will require a thoughtful and nuanced approached in the establishment of relationships. Educators are observant and reflective in their practice during this time, seeking a wide range of possibilities for connections. This might look like; Returning the smile of a child on entry Providing a safe pair of arms on saying goodbye Remembering their favourite story, and having it ready to read Ensuring children’s favourite play-things are displayed or readily available Gratefully receiving children’s gifts, such as collected leaves, pictures, or stories from home Sitting close by as children play, and being a reliable and predictable presence, ready with a smile Educators are mindful of the importance of communication at this time, both with families and with one another. We encourage and invite your feedback, questions and comments via email, phone call, or on drop off and pick up. If you would like to discuss anything in further detail, we invite you to make a time with an Assistant Director or the Director.
“No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship” James Comer As we begin the year at Flinders we welcome many new families and children in our major annual intake. Existing children, families and educators are also transitioning to new Houses, exploring the dynamics of new groups and environments. These transitions are mindfully planned, however the most carefully laid plans are never equal to the reality of differing personalities and family contexts that come together through January and February. Whilst it would be easy to get caught up in the busy-ness inherent with discovering the new, educators are mindful that the success and happiness of our coming year is pinned on this time, as we establish respectful, reciprocal relationships with children and families. As we move through this process of building relationships, we pay attention to our guiding documents; Belonging, Being and Becoming The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (EYLF) and the Flinders Philosophy. The EYLF tells us; “Educators who give priority to nurturing relationships and providing children with consistent emotional support can assist children to develop the skills and understandings they need to interact positively with others” (p12) We interpret this to mean that relationships come first, before all other learning; we must prioritise the establishment and maintenance of relationships with children. The Flinders Philosophy states; “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.” This feeling of safety, andRead more