Forward July 2017 Forward July 2017 - Page 30

PR E PA R ATORY S C HO OL Outdoor Adventures Once a week, the lucky children in the Early Learning Centre (ELC) can be found exploring the almost 100 hectares of land on which our school stands. We pull on our gum boots and raincoats and load up our wagon with our cameras, mark making tools, jars and other important paraphernalia, and off we go on our outdoor adventures. We set off with excitement, energy and enthusiasm to explore, learn and experience the great outdoors together. Early in 2016, the entire Early Learning Centre (ELC) staff attended an inspiring Professional Development Session run by Kirsty Liljegren, Director of Early Learning at Cornish College in Melbourne. She spoke of her experience in running a Great Outdoors program at Cornish College. We were so inspired by the idea that we decided to embark on our own Outdoor Adventures. Our pedagogy is based on our belief that children learn by doing, using real materials. The environments and explorations are real life and not in preparation for life. Our highly valued play-based pedagogy recognises that exploration and playful learning is the most effective learning style for young children. This approach encourages investigation, exploration and inquiry. It fosters and develops the important skills of questioning, hypothesising, researching and utilising their emerging literacy and numeracy skills to problem solve. We encourage child- chosen exploration and teacher observation and scaffolding to ensure playful learning occurs at all times. ELC Outdoor Adventures allow us put this ‘best practice’ into action perfectly. To compliment this pedagogy and support our Reggio inspired environments, we provide a range of natural materials in the 30 classroom and in our ELC playground for the children to explore. These materials are often collected during our weekly Outdoor Adventures. “Our very youngest children are part of nature and have a natural connection to it. We have a role to enable that connection to happen throughout their lives.” – Claire Warden (2007) Journal of Awe and Wonder The natural environment on which our school is built provides the children with unique learning opportunities. The time the children spend on Outdoor Adventures helps them to develop a sense of WONDER about the natural environment. We hope to foster within each child a desire to EXPLORE and LEARN about the world around us and to PROTECT and CARE for that world. The staff of the ELC encourage and support our students in this environment. We actively question, observe and stimulate the children’s interest. We are ready and willing to interact with the children in order to research and provide opportunity. These adventures allow for uninterrupted exploration in order to fully investigate and follow opportunities. The children get to determine their own learning and the future direction of exploration. They are provided with opportunities to share their learning with their peers and the staff on our adventures. We value and actively encourage group exploration and collaboration. Our Outdoor Adventures provide our children with many challenges they may not have previously experienced or get to experience within an indoor environment. It is the perfect context for children to develop resilience, solve problems and work cooperatively and creatively. We frequently discus ]H[[H[\قH]\[[\ۛY[[[[BHܝ[]HXZHY\[ۜX]HZYX[YH\H\ˈH\B[\Y[H[[HX]H\›X[Y\[][\ۛY[ [›]܈Z\XX\[Y\\[\šY\[[\[\YK\[YH[ۈ]܈Y[\\[œݚY\H\X۝^[\[Y[H\X[[KH[[&\YX\[\ݙ\Y\\H^[Y\ۈ[B]\H\ܛKH]\]BX\[[][][^][” XH[\و][Y[ BY[X\[\X\ˈ\X\[›ۈ]܈Y[\\[\XHBX\[][\\ܛH[BVS X\HYX\X\[[Y]ܚKBH\X[[H[H[\[\X[]Y\˂H[و\]܈[\ۛY[\[^[[ۈو\\ܛK[ۘ\[ۋB]HHۙ\[XX\[XH]H\H][YYX\ۈHY[\\\˂'YHX[H[\[[]BHYY]Z\ۛX[ۈ]\B\\H[K'B$HZ\H\[ BH\\HY]\B[\KT[X\HXX\XXX[[\\[XX\X\HX\[[