It’s that time of year for Early learning centres when the topic of ‘school readiness’ is raised by families as they prepare to enrol their children into school for the following year.
Over time I have loved being involved in the formation and implementation of programs for preschoolers to support children and families before they start school. This year I am excited by the opportunity to be in a different setting where children and families have already joined the school community.
A successful transition from the early childhood setting to school involves providing children with a continuity of experience and the sharing of information about children between both settings ( as described in the Early Years Learning Framework, 2009.) The children at St Luke’s CELC who are moving into Early Stage 1 at St Luke’s school next year will not be leaving us far behind, we will still be a part of the same learning community next year and for many years after.
The sharing of information between the teachers at St Luke’s CELC and in Early Stage 1 at St Luke’s School has already begun through leadership meetings and professional learning meetings. A shared vision through the Pillars of Learning facilitates a greater continuity of experience for children and families.
To support the continuity of experience between the CELC and school, connections can be seen between our play based curriculum, the Australian Curriculum, St Luke’s Pillars of Learning and the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF.)
I began this blog with the intention of unpacking each capability that is referred to in the Australian Curriculum and linking this to our experiences at the CELC. This was an error in judgement as I realised what a momentous task I had set for myself. (As well as a rather lengthy blog for the reader !) Instead, I will begin to link three of the capabilities to the children’s learning journey so far. Further ‘unpacking’ of the capabilities will occur over time throughout this year.
In reference to the General capabilities of the Australian Curriculum, it is anticipated that students will commence Kindergarten with, or develop by the end of Term 1, the ability to:
- recognise and identify their own emotions
- express a personal preference
- identify people and situations with which they feel a sense of familiarity or belonging
To recognise and identify their emotions
We have been open for eight weeks and the children are actively engaged with their learning environment. Already, there are noticeable changes in the children’s level of independence, as well as their social and emotional skills.
As the children learn to separate from Mum and Dad in the morning they are beginning to “recognise and identify their emotions.” For some children, this has been challenging to say goodbye in the morning. Educators have been supporting the children throughout their settling into the CELC environment, helping children become more aware of their emotions and how this can affect their behaviours. This can be linked to the EYLF Outcome One “Children have a strong sense of identity.”
Over time, the children will continue to be supported to recognise and identify their emotions. This may be through small group discussions to describe their emotions, connecting these to personal experiences. The recognition and identification of emotions is also scaffolded by educators when disagreements occur in children’s peer interactions, the children are supported to solve these with guidance to label and express their emotions.
To identify people and situations with which they feel a sense of familiarity or belonging
The children are beginning to demonstrate a sense of belonging to St Luke’s CELC. This can be seen in the friendship groups that are beginning to form. Connections with the school are being built for the children to support their sense of belonging to the wider St Luke’s community. This is further supported through weekly visits from Mr Constagna who shares musical based learning experiences with the children.
The sense of belonging to the St Luke’s community has been further facilitated through visits to the CELC from students from Stage 4, engaging in small group experiences with the children which have included Portrait paintings, building with blocks, book sharing and sandpit explorations.
Throughout the year, the children will be working towards the capability of identifying people and situations with which they feel a sense of familiarity or belonging. Strong links can be seen between this capability and the EYLF element of “Belonging” as well as the EYLF Outcome Children have a strong sense of well being.
We look forward to further connections and the building of a sense of belonging for the children and families by visiting the school and participating in events with the St Luke’s School Community.
To express a personal preference
Throughout the day, the open plan environment supports the children working towards expressing a personal preference. They are beginning to take responsibility for their own learning journey by selecting areas to investigate and explore.
The children’s investigative play is further extended by the teachers who thoughtfully plan and implement experiences to scaffold their learning and development. Links can be seen with this capability and the EYLF outcome 3.1 “Children become strong in their social and emotional well being.” As well, links can be made to St Luke’s Pillars to Manage Self and to think creatively and critically
From their experiences at St Luke’s CELC, the children are becoming actively involved in their learning to be involved in decision making and take responsibility for their actions, the surrounding environment and their learning . From here, they are supported in their learning journey as part of the St Luke’s community and becoming “faith filled curious children to become creative contributors and innovative problem solvers for a changing world” (extract taken from St Luke’s Catholic College vision and mission.)