Throughout the year, the Early Childhood Centre educators have been exploring “children are intelligent, creative and capable, with rich potential and curiosities”. The mentality that a young child is capable of thinking and reflecting, questioning and finding answers, rests at the heart of our practice at Nazareth. The competent child influences our thinking, planning, interactions and the learning experiences we provide and inspires us to facilitate inquiry learning.
We do not view children as ‘empty vessels to be filled’. We respect and celebrate children’s prior knowledge by finding out what they already know and understand about the world around them. Inquiry learning provides scope for the child to imagine and dream, to invent and create and to express their discoveries in unique ways, operating in harmony with our invitation for children to speak ‘the hundred languages’.
Our belief in the importance of working with children’s preferred ‘languages’ of communication and expression compels us to allow for the growth of particular talents, skills and passions. It fosters creative thinking and the opportunity to represent and communicate discoveries and understanding in a variety of personal ways.
Founder of the Reggio Emilia approach, Loris Malaguzzi beautifully conveys the important roles imagination and discovery play in early childhood learning in his poem ‘The Hundred Languages’. Much of the Reggio Emilia philosophy is based on protecting children from becoming subjected too early to educational structures and curriculums, which often makes learning a chore rather than an extension of natural curiosity. Whether communicating through painting or drawing, music or dance, construction or sculpture, writing or speaking, ICT or weaving, printmaking or collage, we invite children to represent their understandings and make their thinking visible for others to share.
At our last staff meeting, we explored the idea that inquiry learning is deep learning. We were fortunate to hear from a range of our educators in the different rooms, who shared stories from their specific inquiry learning focus. It was wonderful for the educators to share their research with colleagues, and celebrate the high quality teaching and learning within our ECC.
I am excited and grateful to be continuing my leadership journey at Nazareth Early Childhood Centre with the recent announcement from Michael Dahl on my permanent appointment within the Nazareth Catholic Community. I look forward to continue working with such a passionate and dedicated group of educators.
Read Loris Malaguzzi's poem here - 'The child is made of one hundred'