Our commitment and dedication to children is reflected in the quality of care and education we provide. Research highlights, from birth, children are experts in their own lives, skillful communicators, active agents and meaning makers (Clark & Moss in Landsdown 2005). This belief recognises all children, including the youngest of babies, as contributing members to society who have the right to express their views on all matters affecting them.
All children experience learning that is engaging and builds success for life.
The United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (1989 pp 1-2) proposes that children are to be brought up in the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, and in particular in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity. Article 3: In all actions concerning children the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration. It also states all children have the right to an education that lays the foundation for the rest of their lives, maximises their ability, and respects their family, culture and other identities and languages. The Convention also recognises children’s right to play and be active participants in all matters affecting their lives.
Emergent curriculum means children’s learning is dictated by play. It supports the notion that children are competent, capable and knowledgeable, curious about their world and interested in connecting and relating with others.
The emergent curriculum at the ELC is supported by the National Early Learning Years Framework which is the basis for all learning facilities (educating children 0-5 years) in Australia.
"Children's lives are characterised by belonging, being and becoming. From birth children are connected to family, community, culture and place."
EYLF 2009, p.7
The Early Learning Centre, as part of a larger school community, also promotes a culture of “Mindfulness” through fostering the Habits of Mind. These 16 intelligent behaviours for problem solving are cultivated throughout the whole learning environment. The service also acknowledges the information obtained from the “Building Waterfalls” Framework.
At The Rockhampton Grammar School Early Learning Centre children (and their families) have the right:
- To be valued and respected for who they are as individuals and what they bring to our community.
- To feel safe and secure in a caring environment and be nurtured by all staff whilst at school.
- To be treated with respect and equality regardless of age, sex, culture, ability or beliefs
- To establish friendships and develop ongoing productive and caring relationships with their peers and with the adults who work with them.
- To have continuity within the program and one that affords consistent attendance.
- To be engaged in play and learning that is meaningful, purposeful, rich and challenging.
- To a program that reflects their life within their family, school and community.
- To be encouraged to be all they can be, whilst respecting that all children grow and progress at their own pace.
- To an environment that is inviting and incorporates home like elements to create a sense of familiarity. An environment which is engaging and supports their learning, enhances their senses and their creative intellectual, emotional, social and physical selves
- To participate in a program that observes and upholds social justice and ensuring equity and inclusion for all
With these rights comes a number of responsibilities which we expect of our children. These are:
- Valuing and respecting their families, peers and staff
- Maintaining and valuing friendships and relationships
- To play fair
- Caring for their environment and assisting adults in the daily tasks
- Practice social justice principles in their interactions with each other, families and staff
Staff at The Rockhampton Grammar School Early Learning Centre value:
- Family: Families, the extended family and the community as the most important and powerful influence on the child. They provide the context for children’s growth and development including beliefs, values, knowledge, skills and attitudes. Families have the right to feel secure in the knowledge their child will be provided with a high quality, educational program and trust staff with this responsibility. Families have the responsibility for engaging with staff, and sharing with staff information, ideas and questions and the responsibility of building mutually trusting and respectful relationships.
- Shared Learning: The knowledge, provocations and questions families bring and share. In turn families are asked to value the professional knowledge and experience staff bring to the learning community and to family/staff relationships. Staff attend numerous professional development opportunities to increase their skills and knowledge and hence are encouraged to share this with families, the children and other staff. Staff have the responsibility to reflect on their roles and responsibilities annually in a formal evaluation process and more regularly, on an informal basis with their team leader or mentor. They should have professional goals in the spirit of this philosophy and current educational theories and practice and the nationally recognised framework. Staff need to be capable, flexible and willing to deal with all aspects of change within the early childhood profession and the day to day organisation of the school.
- Diversity: the principles of equity and social justice underpin our practices related to family/staff relationships.
Staff have the right:
- To be valued and respected by the children, families and each other.
- To attend conferences, workshops, seminars and programs to gain skills, knowledge and understanding pertinent to their personal and professional goals
- To work in an environment that is supportive and collaborative, and all staff have the responsibility for demonstrating respect and for acknowledging the unique gifts that the others bring to the setting.
In an early childhood school, as well as the wider community, parenting, educating and caring for children is and should be a shared responsibility. As members of this learning community The Rockhampton Grammar School Early Learning Centre staff are willing to share this role with families valuing and embracing diversity, respecting and upholding the rights of children and of each other and accepting the responsibilities that these relationships require.