It’s surprising to me that we have been at school less than a month with the children. Everyday I feel myself overflowing with delight as I watch our spaces come alive when inhabited by the children. It is wonderful to notice how many of the children already bound into the classroom with much energy and curiosity, eager to start the most precious time of the day, EXPLORE. The children can move around, occupying different spaces, following their own lines of inquiry. The children are encouraged to develop their own ideas and take control over their own learning. They have the freedom to deepen their understanding of those things that interest them. This autonomy is the foundation for successful life-long learning. Through their explorations of the environment, the materials and the people, the children’s research and thinking become richer, interweaving the experiences they have. Through the projects and challenges that the children embark on we observe an interweaving of thought, planning and action. There is a pleasure in the work from sustained thinking and an attention to possibilities and new lines of investigation. Children are able to greet their friends and have conversations to set the tone for the day and to discuss multiple ideas to explore. Relationships are deepened, children collaborate, negotiate, coming to understand one another. EXPLORE is a truly invaluable part of the day.
We are reminded by the words of Tiziana Filippini (2008)
“Our times are dominated by ideas of knowledge as linear development and strong trends for accelerating children’s learning. Instead children’s strategies for thinking and acting, their extraordinarily divergent sense of invention, invite us to remark just how much and in what ways creativity, play, expression and aesthetic sense together with the times and rhythms of reflection and knowledge, are capable of combining and transforming, of emotion and analysis, empathy and connection. They are a vital, a structuring part of the educational process.”
When you cross the threshold of the Early Years classrooms with your children every morning, maybe you also feel the warmth of the relationships and the hum of learning that we are privileged to be a part of every day.
I wonder what stories will emerge from the children’s many interactions and discoveries within these spaces as we come together this school year?
- Clair Wain, Director of Early Years