Early Learning: Curiosity, Wonder and Discovery

Joanne MacLachlan
Head of Junior Primary

I had the pleasure of meeting and greeting families at the Kiss and Drop last week and it was wonderful to see parents and children that have passed through the Early Learning Centre again. It was great to reconnect and have a chat, as well as having the opportunity to meet our new 2020 families and students.
Everywhere I looked children were skipping, running and walking happily into school, with parents a way behind in most cases, and smiles all around. I enjoyed kind, happy and friendly exchanges with many people.
Walking back to my classroom I was overwhelmed by a great sense of joy, having been surrounded by children who it was evident were happy not only to be at school, but at this school in particular. It is rewarding and exciting to know that parents, staff and our community are endeavouring to work together to provide a place where children can ‘Be, Belong and Become.’ (Early Years Learning Framework). 

The Early Years Framework is a collective of principles, practices and outcomes designed to ensure all children experience learning that is engaging and builds success for life; Guildford Grammar School has a similar vision.
To support this, the Early Years staff worked together to create a shared statement that reflects our beliefs, current research and our approach to teaching and learning.

At Guildford Grammar School we celebrate the whole child as a unique individual. We are passionate about creating a purposeful learning environment where children are encouraged to be courageous risk takers, creative thinkers and empowered learners through positive, hands-on experiences. Using developmentally appropriate practices, we strive to foster curiosity, wonder and discovery.

I have been involved in education for quite a while and things are constantly changing and evolving. Adults change, children change, technology, resources and thinking change. Just consider the mobile phone you were using five years ago compared to today. Think about the car were you driving ten years ago compared to your car now! We must keep informed and current in all we do and change is necessary. What hasn’t changed over time is a teacher’s intention and desire to support each child to achieve personal excellence. It is the constant in all we do. Our committed, experienced and supportive team continue to do all they can to achieve this.  Importantly, we know that forming trusting relationships and having positive interactions are key to supporting this.
Each day we aim to make time to listen more and talk less so that we can really get to know the children we educate and work with families to deliver a successful program. We want the children to skip into school each day with a desire to learn and develop a love of learning. We want every child to be curious, explore, and ask the why’s. We want to support and extend the learning from home to create an environment where children demonstrate respect and responsibility and know this is an expectation in our beautiful school and in life. 
Our learning environments reflect this. They are intentionally designed to be aesthetically pleasing and engaging and encourage independence and open-ended discovery. When you hear chatter, laughter and informal interactions between children and staff, you are witnessing a setting that fosters communication and language development. A setting where the child’s voice is recognised and valued.
We believe children are competent and capable learners and we allow them to lead and share their learning when appropriate. Learning experiences offered are the result of our multi-faceted approach to planning. We consider the children’s interests and questions, alongside deep curriculum knowledge and designed learning sequences that cater for individual differences.
Our teams are constantly working collaboratively, learning and reflecting on what we see, hear and know. We value the opportunity to reflect together about our day and our observations, and take away suggestions and ideas from our colleagues to trial and explore. In this way, the different areas of expertise and the skillsets each educator offers, are utilised in the best way.  I believe we are innovative and brave in our approach. We are blessed to work in an educational setting with forward thinking leaders that support and encourage us, allowing us to do what we do best. I believe we have an approach to teaching and learning that is the best of a collective of pedagogies. I believe that is why I saw the children skip into school with smiles on their faces.
Our 3-year old program, Little Explorers, is our newest example of this. It is truly a special place to be. If you have a minute to spare and want to see this in action, please come and visit our spaces and feel the ‘Being, Belonging and Becoming’ for all our learners.

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12 Mar 2020 - 10:45 AM
GGS Admin
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