The educational program
At Toormina Community Preschool our educational program and practices are centered on our knowledge of each child and their interests, strengths and individual needs. We share a view of children as being capable and resourceful learners and we aim to support their learning journey through meaningful interactions and engaging learning experiences.
We develop an individual portfolio for every child to document and reflect on their learning journey during their time at Toormina Community Preschool. This portfolio is shared with the child and family throughout the year and collaborative input into its development is encouraged and highly valued. We welcome the input of families into our program through the sharing of skills, interests, stories etc and hope you too will become involved in the life of our preschool.
Our program and practices are guided by our national curriculum; ‘Belonging, being and becoming; The Early Years Learning Framework for Children’s Services’. We embrace the principles, practices and outcomes it describes and embed these in our interactions, provisions and planning processes.
Our learning environment consists of aesthetic indoor and outdoor learning spaces which offer an array of open ended materials to provoke inquiries, explorations and interactions through play. Our learning environment is set up to support opportunities for children to use creative expression, imagination, to develop problem solving skills, physical skills, social and emotional skills, to question, to wonder, to communicate and to build their sense of independence, resilience and agency. Play is valued as the vehicle for this learning and development and is an integral part of everyday life at preschool.
We also take inspiration from the Reggio Emelia philosophy through the provision of authentic materials such as the use of glass, and real tools in the environment. This is an important method of demonstrating respect for children as being capable and resourceful learners. We have adapted aspects of Simon Nicholson’s theory of loose parts by providing an array of open ended materials in learning environments to support children’s creativity, imagination and problem solving skills. We also take inspiration from Jerome Bruner’s ‘spiral curriculum’ as we seek to provide appropriate levels of challenge in the learning of every child. This means educators work hard to develop a clear picture of each child’s unique strengths and skills, so we can extend on these through the provision of engaging, interest based learning experiences.
The practice of relationships
Educators work with a shared understanding that everything we do revolves around the practice of respectful relationships. We believe that working in partnership with families is necessary in order to provide meaningful routines, interactions and learning experiences that support every child’s engagement in our program. We believe parents (and family) are a child’s first and most influential teacher in life. As such, we welcome their input and value their involvement in our program. As a community preschool we highly value the relationships we build within our own community and also welcome opportunities to extend beyond our own front door. We support the children to build connections between our early childhood setting and our local community with regular excursions and incursions and we hope that you too will become involved in the life of our preschool community.