A recently updated publication from UNESCO; Why is Early Childhood Care and Education Important?, highlights a range of areas critical to the life success of a child. The period from birth to eight years old is one of remarkable brain development for children and represents a crucial window of opportunity for education. When children are healthy, safe and learning well in their early years, they are better able to reach their full developmental potential as adults. Neuroscience has shown that the environment affects the nature of brain architecture – the child’s early experiences can provide either a strong or a fragile foundation for later learning, development and behaviours.
Here at Alice Smith Early Years our approach to learning is shaped by child development theory as well as a firm belief in the importance of learning at this stage. In essence our Early Years extends from Preschool to Year 2 as children move from 3 years old to 7 years old. Central to our approach to learning is our aim to create the conditions for children to achieve agency.
The OECD Learning Compass 2030 is rooted in the principle that students have the ability and the will to positively influence their own lives and the world around them. At Alice Smith we share this belief. We believe that every child has limitless potential and, given the appropriate conditions for learning, can achieve anything. This way of thinking shapes all aspects of our Early Years experience.
Our children, adults and environment interact in a way which provides children with multiple opportunities to achieve agency throughout their experience. A huge amount of consideration is given to the role of physical spaces. Our environment is carefully crafted to align with our beliefs in the child. Children are free to explore in multiple indoor and outdoor spaces with a range of open ended resources which promote high levels of well-being, involvement and challenge. This in turn allows the child to be shaper rather than feeling they are being shaped. As a result, children are deeply involved in their learning, focusing for long periods, challenging their own thinking and that of others, collaborating, creating and deepening their understanding of the world around them as well as themselves. The role of the adult is key; knowing when and how to question, when to observe, when to support, scaffold or extend and most importantly to listen to our children. Built on a foundation of knowing every child, our Early Years Educators engage in hundreds of high quality interpersonal interactions every day. Through this complex and highly skilled approach, we believe our children develop important learning behaviours and ultimately become better learners. (Jan Dubiel, 2023)
To experience our Early Years, please join us in our upcoming Early Years Open Morning on Wednesday 31st May, more details here.