At Possums Corner, we value and welcome every family. Children are competent and capable learners who strive to make sense of their world through the relationships they have formed with their families and the wider community. We aim to create an environment in which children are encouraged to discover the joys of learning and develop an enjoyment for lifelong learning.
In relation to the program
Our program is based on the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) to provide a holistic and inclusive approach to caring for and educating our children – “Educators pay attention to children’s physical, personal, social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing as well as cognitive aspects of learning” (DEEWR, 2009, p. 14). Our program emphasises play-based learning through which children are empowered to “discover, create, improvise and imagine”. We believe children learn autonomously and value the ‘magical moments’ that occur during spontaneous, child-initiated experiences.
Intentional teaching and structured learning is also embedded in our program. We believe teacher-led experiences that extend upon children’s interests and strengths are vital in challenging children’s learning and fostering high level thinking skills. This is based on Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory which states children are social beings who learn via hands on experiences and interactions with their families, educators and peers. When we implement intentional teaching or encourage children to teach each other, we adopt Vygotsky’s ‘zone of proximal development’ and enable children to master more advanced skills and concepts.
In relation to children
We believe that children express themselves via learning and play. Children are able to engage in learning experiences when they feel “safe, secure and supported” and experience belonging in a supportive environment (DEEWR, 2009). We value each child and celebrate their uniqueness by supporting their interests, strengths and capabilities. We recognise the complexity of learning and encourage children to become “confident and involved learners” by building their self-help, problem-solving and risk taking skills and providing freedom of choice (DEEWR, 2009). Children are always encouraged to be active investigators in their environments leading their own learning and development.
In relation to educators
We respect and support each child’s individuality. Our educators value cultural competence as an integral part of educating children as it broadens their views of children’s worlds and expands understandings of what it means to be, belong and become. We view change as a powerful and positive process where reflections, conversations and research lead to our continual growth and development. We believe in a team teaching approach where all educators are equally respected and valued for their contribution.
In relation to families
Families are the most important people in children’s lives. We value their input and the role parents have as active participants in their child’s learning journey.
We seek to engage in meaningful relationships with families to create collaborative partnerships and to deliver holistic education that connects the home context to our centre. We respect and value the uniqueness of each family and make it a priority to embrace various cultures, traditions, languages and ways of life.
As a community-based service, we believe in the importance of a community-based culture. We collaborate with services within the community by providing incursions and inviting visitors from the community to teach children about community life. We offer natural learning environments, a community garden and the opportunity for children to learn about living sustainably.
As educators, we aim to nurture every child’s respect for the environment. We treasure the wonder and beauty of natural environments because they are abundant in opportunities for learning about sustainability and the importance of respecting all forms of life.