Navigating the journey continues as the finishing touches to St Luke’s Catholic Early Learning Centre (CELC) are made and we prepare for the teaching team to begin in January. The opening of St Luke’s Catholic Early Learning Centre (CELC) is fast approaching. Christmas is only a week away but I still feel energised with a sense of purpose in planning the environment.
Setting up the learning galleries has prompted my reflection on the critical role of the environment for children’s learning and development. The set-up is still a work in progress, it will change many times (I’m sure) before families join us in February. Once again, I am drawn to the descriptions by educators of the Reggio Emilia approach whom refer to environment as the “third teacher.”
In reflecting on the planning of the environment at St Luke’s CELC, my sense of purpose is to support children’s voices in their learning, as well as to provide a sense of belonging to the teachers, children and families. The learning galleries will need to be fluid and responsive to their voices. It is important that children and teachers have a sense of ownership of their shared space and the experiences and learning that follows.
Underpinning the environment of St Luke’s CELC is play based learning. As described in the Early Years Learning Framework, play based learning is ‘a context for learning through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they actively engage with people, objects and representations’ (EYLF, 2009, p. 46).
The children’s learning through play based experiences is supported via open ended materials where they can express their thoughts and ideas.
My next point of reflection will involve the teaching team of St Luke’s CELC. Together we will reflect upon how to embed St Luke’s Pillars of Learning and St Luke’s CELC Philosophy into the environment and learning galleries. “Watch this space” as we inch closer to the opening of St Luke’s CELC
I have thoroughly enjoyed the final term of the school year at St Luke’s Catholic College which has continued to fulfil my sense of purpose in my professional journey. It is inspiring to work alongside a supportive team who are professionally engaged, constantly striving to develop and grow alongside the students they teach.