Early Learning at Holy Rosary School

Opening Statement

At Holy Rosary School our vision is to create a Kindergarten programme that recognises all children as strong, competent and unique individuals.  We are dedicated toward creating a warm, welcoming environment that provides our children with varied, relevant and challenging learning opportunities, allowing them to grow and develop to their full potential in all areas of human development (spiritual, emotional, physical, social, and intellectual).

We recognise and value the uniquely individualised experiences children have gained before coming to school and strongly believe that their early years at Holy Rosary must promote continuity between their learning and the knowledge they have gained prior to encountering the school environment.  Learning occurs through contexts that are meaningful for students. Our programmes give every child multiple opportunities to learn through consistent exposure to new experiences which include both direct teaching strategies and open-ended, child centred, play-based practices.

Our programmes reflect the Early Childhood philosophy that recognises every child develops at a different rate and in their own unique way.  We recognise parents as the first educators of their children and foster strong school-home communication links and a working partnership with parents.  We strongly encourage parents to actively form working partnerships with their child’s educators.

Holy Rosary’s Kindergarten Programme is directly guided by the five outcomes as stated in the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia: Belonging, Being and Becoming (2009).

This document clearly states that a child’s learning and development happens in three phases of Belonging, Being and Becoming.

Concepts of Early Years Learning Framework

Belonging, Being & Becoming:

Within the Framework there are three basic concepts that children’s lives are characterized by Belonging, Being and Becoming. This refers to how a child from even before birth is linked to family, community, culture and place.

Through these relationships a child’s development and learning takes place as they begin to explore, develop interests, create their own identity and make meaning to the world around them.

The three concepts, Belonging, Being & Becoming, represent life and living and are constantly referred to throughout the EYLF.

Belonging – to understand that you are part of a group, feeling that you are part of a family.Having a feeling that you are linked with others and experience important relationships.  A child’s sense of belonging can be referred to their relationships with family members –recognizing mum, dad, siblings, grandparents etc. Within early childhood, a child’s sense of belonging can relate to how comfortable a child is within the setting, having a sense of trust and security with childcare professionals. When a child has a sense of belonging they are more confident, feel more secure, be more creative and more likely to explore the world of learning.

Being – to experience what is happening now, life in the present. For children, understanding that they are accepted for who they are and knowing that others care about them. Within early childhood, a child’s sense of being can relate to how childcare professionals show respect to each individual child, through greetings, conversations and actions. When a child has a sense of being they build and maintain relationships with others, take part in life’s journey and face challenges in everyday life.

Becoming – to experience change through different events and circumstances in one’s life. A child’s sense of becoming refers to the changes they experience as they grow, learn and develop.Within early childhood, a child’s sense of being, changes overtime as they gain knowledge, extend their understandings, create relationships and develop skills. This enables a child to learn to participate actively in today’s society.

Principles, Practices and Learning Outcomes:

The Early Years Learning Framework has a structure provided by three key elements –  Principles, Practices and Learning Outcomes.   These help us to reflect about our work, to appropriately plan our programs for children and guide us on how we work with children, their families and our community.

Principles relates to our beliefs and values. The Early Years Learning Framework provides us with Principles to guide us in our work with childrenand focuses on assisting each individual child to make progress towards theLearning Outcomes. The five principles are the following -

1. Secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships – having an understanding and being aware of children’s thoughts and feelings. Positively interacting with each individual child in their learning and support the development of a child’s sense of well-being.

2.Partnerships – working in partnerships with families within the early childhood setting. Creating a warm and welcoming environment for all children and their families. Collaborating with childcare professionals, parents, people within the community to ensure learning experiences are meaningful for the children.

3. High Expectations and equity – believing that all children are able to succeed, regardless of cultural diversity and abilities. Having high expectations for all children in their achievement in learning. Ensure that all children have opportunities to achieve learning outcomes.

4. Respect for diversity – respecting, valuing and reflecting the values and beliefs of families. Show consideration and respect of cultures, languages, histories, traditions, family lifestyle practices of all families. Promote a greater understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

5. Ongoing learning and reflective practices – continually improve professional knowledge and learning practices. Value the local knowledge of families and the community. Engage in ongoing learning of philosophy, ethics and practice. Gather information that supports children’s developmental  learning.

Practices relates to how we put our Principles into action by working together with children, their families and within our community. The Early Years Learning Framework promotes children’s learning by drawing upon a repertoire of pedagogical practices (using our skills and knowledge that enable us to help children to learn) by

1. Holistic approaches – teaching and learning through recognition of the mind, body and spirit. Paying attention to a child’s physical, personal, social & emotional, cognitive and spiritual wellbeing aspects of learning. Foster and enhance children’s understanding of the natural environment and the connections between the people, plants, animals and the land.

2. Responsiveness to children – being aware and responding to each individual child’s strengths, abilities and emerging interests. Value and further develop children’s strengths, interests, skills, abilities and knowledge to further extend their learning.

3. Learning through play – provides an endless amount of opportunities for children to explore, discover, create and imagine. Play extends children’s thinking and promotes a hands on approach to learning. Create a learning environment which encourages children to build on children’s learning in positive ways.

4. Intentional teaching – that is deliberate, purposeful and thoughtful. Actively promote children’s learning through challenging experiences and interactions. Use strategies to extend on children’s problem solving and thinking such as demonstrating, explaining and questioning.

5. Learning environments – respond to the interests and needs of the children. Both indoor/outdoor environments offer children and families to contribute ideas, questions, and interests and promote children’s understanding about their responsibility to care for their environment. Provide a range of opportunities for individual and shared experiences.

6. Cultural competence – celebrates the benefits of diversity and has the ability to understand and acknowledge differences. Effectively communicate and interact with children, families and members of the community across cultures. Gain knowledge, understanding and a positive attitude towards cultural differences.

7. Continuity of learning and transitions – building on each child’s past and present experiences enables them to feel secure, confident and connected to people, events and situations that they are familiar with. Transitions between settings offer opportunities and challenges. Assist children in understanding the traditions, routines and practices of the settings to ease the transition process and to help deal with any changes that may occur.

8. Assessment for learning – relates to the process of gathering and analysing information as evidence about what children understand and their abilities. An ongoing cycle of planning, documenting and evaluating each child’s learning which enables us to support and extend children’s learning. It should include a variety of methods as all children demonstrate their learning in different ways.

Kindergarten Learning Outcomes and Achievement Goals

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes encourages childcare professionals to track what children can do. Supports and guides individual learning programs for children. It provides reference points which can be used to identify a child’s progression. The Learning Outcomes are relevant to children of all ages (birth to five years) and acknowledges that each individual child learning progresses at their own rate. In the Early Years Learning Framework there are five Learning Outcomes and under each of the outcomes there are broad goals which provide key components of learning that may be observed in children as they learn.

The following Achievement Goals have been directly linked to their appropriate Learning Outcome as stated in Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (2009). They have been created to support planning, teaching and assessment for learning within Holy Rosary’s Kindergarten programme. The Learning Outcomes also take into consideration the Australian National Curriculum Learning Capabilities.

Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of identity

Learning Outcome 1 focuses on every student’s social and emotional development.

Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world.

Learning Outcome 2 describes how students make sense of and contribute towards the immediate world around them. It specifically relates to language and communication skills; society and communities; the environment; science.

Outcome 3: Children have a strong sense of wellbeing.

Learning Outcome 3 describes how children develop and understand their physical health and wellbeing. It also relates to such skills as fine and gross motor development.

Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners.

Learning Outcome 4 relates to student creativity and their ability to think critically. It allows teachers to provide learning experience that develop skills relating to the Inquiry Processes, Mathematical problem solving, Technology and Science investigations.

Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators.

Learning Outcome 5 has a strong literacy focus. It involves learning experiences that relate to speaking, listening, viewing, reading and writing. It also includes communication through dance, drama, music, movement, storytelling, visual arts and media. It promotes mathematical learning in the area of spatial awareness, patterning, number, measurement, data and exploring the world mathematically.

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION OUTCOMES/EYLF PRINCIPLES

  • DISCOVERING GOD IN PEOPLE AND CREATION
  • DRAWING ON HUMAN EXPERIENCES OF GOD
  • KNOWING JESUS
  • LIVING LIKE JESUS
  • CATHOLIC PRACTICES –PRAYER EXPERIENCES

Secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships

  • Being a friend like Jesus - What does being a good friend look like?
  • We all have special gifts
  • Environment/creation
  • Welcoming and getting to know children’s families
  • Greeting each child by name in the mornings
  • Allowing parents settling/transition time each day
  • Making exceptions for child/family circumstances
  • Sending home questionnaires regarding interests, needs, concerns etc…
  • Parent/family roster and special visits – appreciating talents.
  • Orientation morning
  • Staggered intake
  • Conversations (individual and personal) with each child
  • Listening – what it looks like and respect for person speaking
  • Special skills and abilities acknowledged
  • Reflective time after a situation
  • Manners and respect for self and others
  • Building trust
  • Relate to Jesus – His family, blessing the children, loving others
  • Visit Church and Parish Priest
  • Buddy system
  • Assemblies – care certificates
  • Child protection curriculum
  • Sensory play – “I wonder…” play, sensory table
  • Prayers with intentions – eg. thank you
  • Discuss feelings with the children – link with their behaviour
  • Using Jesus as a role model for developing relationships with peers – social skills
  • Prayer mat
  • Working in small groups to achieve a common goal
  • Reflective time after a situation

Partnerships with families

  • Talking about how RE is taught at parent meetings
  • Mother’s Day – Jesus’ mother is Mary
  • Family – God id our Father in Heaven, Jesus is God’s son, stories such as Jesus lost in the Temple
  • Ash Wednesday visit from parish Priest – asking children if they’d like a turn
  • Parent learning when on roster/involved in the learning
  • Parent information sessions
  • Parent interviews
  • Parent support information: emails, letters, newsletters, weekly updates, communication books
  • Open night/ learning journey
  • Work displayed
  • Be aware of individual family needs and situations
  • Pastoral care and services - school social worker
  • School-based events – busy bees
  • Mother’s/Father’s/Grandparent’s days
  • Family liturgies
  • Greeting families as they arrive
  • Class prayer
  • Building trust with families through good communication
  • Children taking home information on the love of God (from what they’ve done at school)
  • Take home prayer box
  • Family posters – I belong to the _____ family
  • Family celebrations – birthdays, births
  • Including RE in the focus of parent rosters
  • Family traditions at Easter/ Christmas
  • Celebrations of feast days, school special occasions (including siblings reception of a sacrament)

High expectations and equalityIMG Bus Log

  • Praying/ reverence/ silence and stillness
  • Providing opportunities for all students, not just Catholics
  • Stories about Jesus’ life
  • Focus groups/children
  • IEPs/CAPs
  • Consistent routine
  • Transition
  • Best practice – enabling learning/facilitating
  • Teacher modelling expectations and integrity       
  • Children managing morning routines themselves and acknowledging achievements
  • Each child should have the opportunity to achieve their best
  • Atmosphere of risk taking – having a go
  • Modelling love to all
  • Community influence
  • Sermon on the Mount
  • Provide a safe place for the children where their self-esteem is built up
  • Home corner/dress ups reflect different cultures (eg. dolls of different nationalities)
  • Differentiation
  • Extension and support
  • Acknowledging children of different faiths and their celebrations
  • Expecting children to treat each other with respect and all are capable
  • We all have unique abilities and we should use them to the best of our ability
  • Giving all children the opportunity to succeed
  • Provide a safe place for the children where their self-esteem is built up

 

Respect for diversity

  • We are all special/we are all the same/we are all different
  • Acknowledging and celebrating different cultures within class: Harmony Day/International Day – flags, food
  • “The Peace Book” – different families look different
  • Special needs
  • Children with different abilities
  • Adapting experiences depending on individual children’s needs – health, special needs
  • Comparing and exploring creative environments
  • Celebrating diversity, including children who haven’t been baptised/go to Church regularly
  • Incidental teaching when issues arise
  • Bring in God Talk – Good Samaritan
  • Cultural awareness – children bring in artefacts/photos from their culture
  • Relate to bible stories
  • Spontaneous prayer – different cultures
  • Displayed photographs
  • Different cultural traditions for special religious celebrations (Easter and Christmas)
  • Treating everyone equally

Ongoing learning and reflective practice

  • Wondering and questioning (through creation and nature play)
  • Reflecting on all that you do in RE
  • Bible stories – praying in garden or on hills, discussions with disciples
  • Stories of saints
  • Magic Moments in RE lessons – where to from here?
  • Thanking God prayer
  • Catering for different cultures
  • Songs/poems
  • Prayer tables
  • Sign of the Cross
  • Participating in rituals
  • Observing – noting questions children ask and responses and programming from those
  • Discovering the environments and treating it with respect
  • Reflect on children’s behaviours (killing a spider – God’s creation)
  • Meditation
  • Partaking in events with Church community eg. faith formation
  • Spontaneous class prayer
  • Social and emotional issues – what would Jesus do?