At Scribbles and Giggles we are dedicated to creating an atmosphere that is warm, safe and supportive as well as fun, lively and energetic. We believe that each child’s learning is individual to their interests, cultural background and own abilities and that our play and rest environments are designed and utilised to provide learning experiences catered to the individual needs of the children in our care.

PRINCIPLES

Our team upholds the rights of the child. Our Staff believe that children are successful, competent and capable learners. Equity, inclusion and diversity contribute to the richness of society. We value Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and we strongly support the role and engagement of parents.

Secure, Respectful and Reciprocal Relationships:- Our Staff gives priority to nurturing relationships and providing children with consistent emotional support that can assist them to develop the skills and understandings they need to interact positively with others. It is our firm believe that helping children to learn about their responsibilities to others, to appreciate their connectedness and independence as learners, and to value collaboration and teamwork, enhances children’s confidence, feeling respected and valued.

Partnerships between Early Childhood Educators and families:- Staff is convinced that learning outcomes are most likely to be achieved when they work in partnerships with families. Our commitment to strong and genuine partnerships with our families and support professionals contributes to better exploration of the learning potential in everyday events, routines and play so that children with additional needs are provided with daily opportunities to learn from active engagement in these experiences.

High Expectations and Equity:- For all children to succeed, regardless of diverse circumstances and abilities our educators believe in equity. Children progress well when they, their parents and our staff hold high, reasonable expectations for all children. We recognise and respond to barriers as well as to children achieving educational success. In response we challenge practices that contribute to inequities and make curriculum decisions that promote inclusion and participation of our children.

Respect for Diversity:- Staff honour the histories, cultures, languages, traditions, child rearing practices and lifestyle choices of families. We recognise that diversity contributes to to the richness of our society and provides a valid evidence base about ways of knowing. For Australia it also includes promoting greater understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing and being. Our staff values and connects with the practices, values, and beliefs of children’s cultures and communities, it motivates our children to learn and reinforce their sense of themselves as competent learners. Our staff endeavours to make decisions that uphold all children’s rights to have their cultures, identities, abilities and strengths acknowledged and valued. Centre’s staff think critically about opportunities and dilemmas that can arise from diversity and we take action to redress unfairness.

Ongoing Learning and Reflective Practice:- Our team continually seek ways to build our professional knowledge and develop learning communities. We strive to become co- learners with children, families and community and value the continuity and richness of local knowledge shared by community members, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders.

Reflective practice is a form of ongoing learning that involves engaging with questions of philosophy, ethics and practice. Our intention is to gather information and gain insight that support, inform and enrich decision-making about children’s’ learning. At Scribbles and Giggles our team is involved in an ongoing cycle of review which current practice are examined, outcomes reviewed and new ideas generated. Only on this platform a lively culture of professional inquiry is to be established and any issues relating to curriculum quality, equity and children’s wellbeing can be raised and debated.

PRACTICE

The above principles of Early Childhood pedagogy are to underpin practice of the team at Scribbles and Giggles. All aspects of the planning cycle are important for our staff to employ – planning, documenting and evaluating – but it is not a lock-step sequence. All educators are to plan learning experiences for children including intentional teaching segments for individual and groups and broad “invitations to play” as well as providing selected resources and experiences. We assess and document children’s progress and respond to celebrate, facilitate and extend it. Our team of early childhood educators gather further information, review and evaluate their programs and plan future provisions and interactions as we go about our professional work. Our goal is to look more closely at the ‘notice’, ‘recognise’ and ‘respond’. Early childhood educators’ practice needs to demonstrate how various forms of documentation of children’s learning can both inform planning and provide records of the ‘distance travelled’ by individual children.

Holistic Approaches:- At Scribbles & Giggles, all educators employ holistic approaches to teaching and learning: We pay attention to children’s physical, personal, social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing as well as cognitive aspects of learning. While we may plan or assess with a focus on a particular outcome or component of learning, we see children learning as integrated and interconnected. Our staff see learning as a social activity and value collaborative learning and community participation.

An integrated, holistic approach to teaching and learning also focuses on connections to the natural world. We foster children’s capacity to understand and respect the natural environment and the interdependence between people, plants, animals and the land.

Responsiveness to children:- All our early childhood educators value and build on children’s strengths, skills and knowledge to ensure their motivation and engagement in learning. Responding to children’s expertise, cultural traditions, the multiple languages spoken by some children, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and the strategies used by children with additional needs to negotiate their everyday lives, is a paramount of our team’s approach to enhance their learning. In response to children’s evolving ideas and interest, our early childhood educators, assess, anticipate and extend children’s learning via open ended questioning, providing feedback, challenging their thinking and guiding their learning. It is widely acknowledged by the staff of Scribbles and Giggles that using spontaneous ‘teachable moments’ to scaffold children’s learning is an excellent tool for educators to respectfully enter children’s play and ongoing projects, stimulate thinking and enrich their learning.

Learning through play: – At Scribbles and Giggles, all staff provide a balance between child led, child initiated and educator supported learning experiences. All educators actively engage with babies and children to build attachment. We use routines and play experiences to do this. As educators, we also recognise spontaneous teachable moments to facilitate children’s natural curiosity and thirst for learning. Early childhood educators actively support the inclusion of all children in play, help them to recognise when play is unfair and offer constructive ways to build a caring and inclusive learning community.

Intentional teaching: – In our centre, all early childhood educators actively promote children’s learning through worthwhile and challenging activities and interactions that foster high-level thinking skills. To do this we employ modelling and demonstrating open questioning, explaining and problem solving to extend children’s thinking and learning.

Learning environments: – At Scribbles and Giggles we believe that having indoor and outdoor environments supports all aspects of children’s learning and invites conversations between children, early childhood educators and families. Materials enhance learning when they reflect what is natural and familiar and also introduce something new to provide interest and complex thinking. It is our belief that learning spaces and resources can also highlight our responsibilities for a sustainable future and promote children’s understanding about their responsibility to care for the environment.

Cultural competence: – All staff in our centre view culture and the context of family as central to children’s sense of Being and Belonging and to success in lifelong learning. This is evident when we demonstrate ongoing commitment to developing our own cultural competence in a two-way process with our families and communities.

Continuity of learning and transitions: – In partnership with families, our early childhood educators ensure that children have an active role in preparing for transitions. As a team of educators, we ensure that our children understand the traditions, routines and practices of the setting to which they are moving and to feel comfortable with the process of change. All staff ascertain that our children can negotiate changes in their status, especially when they are to start full-time school. We endeavour to make these transitions by sharing information about child’s knowledge and skills so learning can build on foundations of earlier learning. To ensure successful transition, we as a team of early childhood educators work collaboratively with each child’s new educator and other professionals.

Assessment of learning:- At Scribbles & Giggles, all early childhood educators use a variety of strategies to collect, document, organise, synthesise and interpret the information that they gather to assess children’s learning. We believe, more recent approaches to assessment also examine the learning strategies that children use and reflect ways in which learning is co-constructed through interactions between the educator and each child. Used effectively, these approaches to assessment become powerful ways to make the process of learning visible to children and their families and other professionals. All early childhood professionals in our centre extensively utilise the five learning outcomes in the EARLY YEARS LEARNING FRAMEWORK (EYLF) for Australia. We are certain that ongoing assessment processes that include diverse array of methods capture and validate the different pathways that children take toward achieving these outcomes. Such processes do not focus exclusively on the endpoints of children’s learning, they give equal considerations to the ‘distance-travelled’ by individual children and recognise and celebrate not only the giant leaps that children take in their learning but the small ones too.

Approaches to assessment that are culturally and linguistically relevant and responsive to the physical and intellectual capabilities of each child will acknowledge each child’s abilities and strengths, and allow our team of educators to demonstrate competence. In order to make better sense of what our staff have observed, we strongly support development of inclusive assessment practices with children and their families. We support ongoing reflection on educational principles and educational practice as well as on our role in children’s learning and assessment.