Children need time and space to explore the rich wonders of the world around them. Learning should be an unhurried and joyful process that allows each child to discover and understand new concepts in their own way and at their own pace.
Stand aside for a while and leave room for learning, observe carefully what children do, and then, if you have understood well, perhaps teaching will be different from before.
My vision of the role of the teacher in a learning space is very much inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach. Educators are co-learners, researchers and careful observers. They provide a calm, loving presence and nurture children on their learning journey by offering materials that encourage purposeful play and explorations.
Educators are lifelong learners. They take responsibility for their own learning and make decisions about ways to integrate knowledge from theory, research, their own experience, and their understanding of the individual children and families they work with.
How Does Learning Happen
I believe the foundation of any high quality learning environment is play. Children learn by doing; in play they practice social skills, discover math and science concepts, pratice mark making, early literacy skills, and learn to express themselves creatively.
My ideal learning environment is filled with open ended materials that invite curious little people to imagine, experiment, cooperate and collaborate. Even traditionally messy materials like sand, water, mud, markers and paint are available to these eager little scientists, artists, and architects because I believe children are competent, curious and rich in potential.
The classroom should be a welcoming space that reflects different cultures, gender expressions, races, abilites and family situations. We nurture a sense of belonging and wellbeing when children can see themselves and their families reflected in the classroom culture.
Building positive relationships with families is crucial in early learning and care; families are an integral part of the learning community and they should be invited to share their unique skills, languages, experiences and abilities to contribute to the culture of our classroom
Families bring diverse social, cultural, and linguistic perspectives. Families should feel that they belong, are valuable contributors to their children’s learning, and deserve to be engaged in a meaningful way.
How Does Learning Happen?
I believe it is important for educators to “think outside the classroom.” The natural world offers valuable opportunities for playful learning. Allowing children to run and climb and take risks gives them the opportunity to discover what they are capable of. My role as an educator is to remove the hazards from the play space so children are free to take calculated risks in their play and explorations.
Children should be encouraged to play outside in all kinds of different weather because this supports the development of resiliency skills. We don’t have to wait for the sunshine, we can have just as much fun in the rain!
There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.
I firmly believe that “positive experiences in early childhood set the foundation for lifelong learning, behaviour, health, and well-being” (How Does Learning Happen?); which is why I will do my very best to ensure that any classroom in which I teach is filled with love, laughter and joyful learning.