At Queen of Apostles, we recognise the importance of a play-based program in the early years. Play is a critical component of children’s cognitive physical, social and emotional development. With 85% of a child’s brain development occurring between birth and five years of age, this is a critical period. Play shapes the architecture of the brain and provides opportunities for children to learn as they discover, experiment, theorise, predict, solve problems and engage in critical thinking. Play motivates and enhances a child’s desire to know and learn. Through play, children experience a wide range of emotions and can learn the skills to manage them. Children need play to develop the skills they will use in later years.
The National Quality Standard
The National Quality Standard (NQS) sets a National Standard for early childhood education and care providers in Australia. The National Quality Standard, developed in partnership with State, Territory and Commonwealth Governments, is intended to deliver high, nationally consistent standards for young children in the areas of education, care and health. In November 2013, the Minister for Education informed schools that early childhood programmes to Year 2 in Western Australian schools will be required to meet the NQS. The NQS focuses on delivering play-based programs through an early learning framework. The NQS is divided into seven areas that contribute to the quality of early childhood education and care.
Kindergarten – Year Two
While children initiate play-based learning, the educator’s role is to intentionally intervene by changing the experience, expectations, environment or social group. Interventions are tailored to the children’s needs at the time, resulting in different processes and products for different groups of children. Children are provided time and opportunities to self-direct their learning within this environment, in the active presence of educators who interact with, scaffold and extend learning within the context of children’s play. Literacy and numeracy developments are embedded in all areas of the programme.
At Queen of Apostles we foster the happiness of each child and provide them with a sense of agency within their learning. Every child is unique and able to learn. Childhood is a time of exploration, learning and developing relationships. Children need the opportunities and encouragement to take risks, make choices and learn to persist; developing the resilience to overcome challenges they may face along their journey.
Our pedagogy recognises the individuality of every child. We implement all mandated documents. A variety of teaching strategies and learning environments are provided through a play-based, inquiry learning approach. Respecting the developmental stages of each child we thus provide for differentiation. The child’s needs are central to every learning experience and value is placed in the process, not the product. This pedagogy enables the children to acquire the skills to become critical thinkers, in the 21st Century.
As Early Childhood Educators we build positive relationships by providing a safe, supportive and stimulating learning environment where children feel that they belong. We believe inquiry, investigation and experimentation leads to curious, creative and imaginative learners and allows them to apply their learning to real life experiences and be fully engaged.
Queen of Apostles School acknowledges parents as the child’s first educators and we respect the unique qualities of each family. We aim to build close relationships and have open communication with the families of the children in our care. It is important to be inclusive, embracing all cultures, working collaboratively for the growth of our community.