There are seven areas of learning within the Early Years, three of which are called Prime Areas. These are communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development. Here at JB, our commitment to learning through play is very much influenced by how important these prime areas are and the vital role that play has in developing them in each and every child.
A key aspect of our childrens’ learning experience is outdoor learning. Our students have continual access to learning outdoors throughout their school day from Preschool through to Year 1. Our outdoor learning environment is far more than just another space. For our students, it contributes significantly to the feeling that learning is limitless and when combined with our amazing resources and staff, our children have the most incredible opportunities to imagine and create. Additionally our garden supports high quality interactions between children and teachers which is recognised as a key contributor to early childhood development. This involves adults listening attentively to children as they speak, and allowing them time to think, process and respond. Please see video here and further reading here.
One of the most amazing learning spaces at JB is our garden in Early Years. Here our students are thriving as so much of their learning is self directed.
Children can build with our loose parts creating vehicles to take them to far away lands, they develop their interest and curiosity in the world around them through discovering insects, snails and other creatures amongst the plants and vegetation and they investigate the properties of materials through sand, water and mud kitchen play.
In the garden this term we have reopened a newly refurbished treehouse with a pulley system and slide, adding another dimension to an already amazing learning space. Our treehouse is allowing children to feel like they are in their own jungle far from school and is provoking all kinds of imaginary play.
What impresses me most when visiting our garden is the clear and obvious growth amongst our children socially, personally and emotionally. As they interact with one another; collaborating, negotiating and co-creating, we can see how much they are developing. We are observing children who are so happy, so engaged and so involved in their learning.
Professor Helen Street describes flourishing as the interplay between our best individual selves and our best environment and I believe we are seeing this currently within our Early Years children who have made the most amazing start to the school year.