As a new team, the teachers have thrown themselves into our setting and our way of working with enthusiasm. Co-teaching and sharing spaces and children is quite different from the traditional professional and cultural solitude and isolation of teachers. Co-teaching can at first be a tremendous challenge. Imagine having to find ways to work so closely together, to dedicate time in developing strong relationships and respect for one another, to be able to read one another’s emotional needs and respond with love and support. There are clear advantages, however, both educational and psychologically for the adults as well as the children in this approach.
I have been delighted by the collegiate and friendly attitude and actions evident in our teachers this half term. A member of the team can bring a problem to the group and together everyone talks through it, taking the issue seriously and building on each other’s ideas in order to come to a solution. (This is in fact mirrored in the teacher’s work with the children as the teachers guide the children in working together to solve a problem.) Pedagogical discussions and even by simply coming together as a group to share the joys and challenges of the week goes far to build a firm foundation of trust and respect.
We are reflective practitioners and continuously look at the ways we are working and asking questions of ourselves and of our colleagues. Together we have examined our collective underlying beliefs about young children and learning. The discussions we have had concerned our views of the child and of childhood, as well as about learning and education and the relationships that exist between these concepts. Then we have begun to build a bridge between our values and our practice. Through the lens of our values about children and childhood, we have reflected on our physical environment and space and the organisation of time. Our values will help to shape our approach to the documentation of learning, questioning and observations that will then give life to the curriculum and the programme. Below are our guiding principles that we have constructed together over several weeks. I am very much looking forward to our learning and work together this year.
Our Guiding Principles
• Each child is unique.
• There is goodness and compassion in every child.
• Children are curious, creative, natural inquirers and motivated by their own interests.
• Children learn through exploration and play.
• Children learn through their mistakes and mistakes can be celebrated.
• That teachers and children guide and facilitate the learning and co-construct their knowledge as a group.
• Relationships are fundamental.
• School gives each child the opportunity to develop their learning in the way that suits them best, providing them with learning experiences to value the whole child.
Therefore, at BISH, the Early Years programme:
• Recognises that children come with personal histories and strengths which provide a foundation for working with them.
• Provides a safe environment that supports the needs and learning styles of each child as an individual.
• Provides open-ended, self-directed provocations to nurture child initiated inquiry and wondering.
• Encourages children to re-visit experiences and use trial and error methods.
• Empowers children to push through their comfort levels and be resilient.
• Welcomes children’s approximations and supports children and adults to view challenge, struggle and mistakes as positive creative opportunities for learning and growth.
• Provides opportunities for children to interact with challenging questions and inquiries of real importance to themselves and the world.
• Encourages children to listen to each other and show respect for others ideas and prior knowledge
• Provides time for play and to deeply explore.
• Offers children opportunities to communicate their ideas through multiple means of expression such as, performing arts, visual arts, creativity, movement.
• Fosters a sense of belonging through caring, nurturing, joyful and collaborative environments.
• Encourages relationships through connections between children, families and educators.
• Has teachers who are researchers, continuously reflecting on what they observe, to determine the direction of the work with the children may go, to develop understandings of how children come to understand their world and sharing the children’s thinking through documentation.