At Horsley Kids, our curriculum philosophy is inspired through an approach called “Emergent Curriculum”. An emergent curriculum allows learning activities to arise out of each child’s interests, actions or recurring events. In an emergent curriculum, both adults and children take initiative and make decisions. This curriculum is also negotiated between what interest’s children and what adults know is necessary for children’s education and development.
We believe that through ‘play’ activities children will develop the skills to become self-confident, self-motivated and self-disciplined.
At each developmental stage there are tasks to be mastered, such as: talking, listening, running, throwing or bouncing a ball and cutting with scissors. Our curriculum provides many opportunities for children to choose activities that gives spontaneous skill practice.
In our classroom spaces, children have opportunities to engage in sensory exploration, drama play, block building, game playing, puzzle work, writing and drawing, and reading. Children will play with their peers, dress up, be immersed in constructing with Lego or blocks, re-create and make with play dough, read books, sort tiny objects, or write letters and draw pictures.
Teachers will watch and listen to children, document their play, take photos, offer resources to support and extend their play, or play alongside them. We believe that children learn as they pursue their passions and questions; our objective is to deepen and extend that learning. The activities are interesting, inviting, developmentally age appropriate, open-ended and process oriented. If a particular activity is popular we may choose to repeat it often (with slight variations) until the intense interest passes.
“As we undertake in-depth project work with children, we foster investigation, building relationships and appreciation of diversity and thinking. We want children to develop a love of learning and inquiry, an interest in taking new perspectives and in collaborating with others. We want to enrich their childhoods with a deepening sense of belonging to a group that has a growing, collective history.” – Reggio Children 2000
As an in-depth project begins to grow, the children continue to play in typical ways, engaging in role playing in the dress-up area, building with blocks, assembling puzzles, and exploring sand and water. Life in the classroom continues in its usual way, even as some children become absorbed in projects. During these times children are able to use various media to explore their ideas and represent their understandings whilst being engaged in exploratory work and sensory discovery.
Teachers will observe and work closely with children, facilitating their use of materials, asking questions, and offering materials that provoke children to stretch their thinking.
To carry out this approach, Educators engage in an ongoing process of planning, analysing, observing, and evaluating the children’s activities, ideas, needs and interest. Educators document topics that children bring up, what they are curious about, they photograph the children and their work and activities, scribe conversations in group discussions, the words they use, in an effort to plan curriculum that reflects their interests while planning for the skills children need to learn for Kindergarten and to provide information for our families on their children. The educators also use documentation to collaborate, looking at it through a variety of perspectives and developmental skills to provide the best programming and to use as a teaching tools to see how it could be built upon. It supports a learning environment, and extends learning, makes the learning process visible.
Social interactions with their peers and other people are also observed and recorded, class work transcribed, laminated and displayed. You’ll see educators watching and listening to children, documenting their play with photos and notes.
Throughout the Centre, you will see a display of photographs of children at ‘play’. The visual media and pictures show children busily engaged in daily activities. Their words are recorded as they discuss what they are doing, feeling and thinking, and how they explain their interpretation of these experiences. The photographs are a valuable resource used in class discussions and incorporated into the curriculum.
‘Showcasing’ children’s work in this way enhances their self-esteem and self-confidence as well as providing parents an opportunity to see what happens throughout their child’s day.
A Portfolio is included into the Horsley Kids curriculum. At the end of the year each child will receive a personalised portfolio that will summarise a child’s year in the centre. The portfolio will display a collection of photographs, craft, artwork and written observations.
Within the Reggio Emilia philosophy Educators see the Environment as the Third Teacher- the first and second being teachers and the children. Reggio Inspired environments are given careful consideration to the aesthetics, the equipment and materials, to how it is laid out to encourage exploration, curiosity, to provide areas for individual, small and large group activities. Educators are life long learners, they are collaborators working together as a strong team who work alongside children to guide to observe and develop in-depth explorations built upon the children interests and implemented through projects and learning centres and using graphic arts.
Appropriate pre-school computer programs will be readily available in the classrooms. With technology fast advancing, we have two smart / interactive boards in both Preschool rooms, as well as ipad’s and two Mac computers in the Ragazzi room to allow children to explore technology in a safe environment at an age appropriate level. With all primary schools in the local area including technology in their curriculums; we feels our exposure is a great stepping stone for children to feel comfortable and knowledgeable about the use of technology the bets way possible before entering primary school. All computer and smart board games, story telling aids, audios, visual and interactive programs have been carefully selected by educators to make sure they are age appropriate and censored for their age group. All children are carefully supervised at all times with technology.
The area of school readiness looks at all of the factors that are most important in preparing each child for a successful and productive time at school. Readiness is often incorrectly perceived to be based upon whether a child can count to 10 or 20 or write their name. However, the most important factors associated with a successful start and continued learning in school relate to a child’s social and emotional maturity.
At Horsley Kids, developing those important social and emotional life skills doesn’t just start in preschool – it starts from their first day with us. Every child’s program is designed to allow our educators to guide and lead our children through to the next step or stage in their individual learning and development.
By providing numerous opportunities to learn, through varied experiences and activities, children are equipping themselves with those essential skills preparing them for the transition to school.
Excursions are an important part of a curriculum, however due to child safety and staff child ratios, Horsley Kids Early Childhood Centre do not participate in any out of centre excursions. We do organise in-house visitors, such as: Reptiles up Close, Mobile Petting farms, pantomimes, Musical productions, local dentist visits, eye screening test, and other interests to the centre at no extra cost to the families. Fundraisers for Red Nose Day, Jeans for Genes Day, Pyjama day for Westmead children’s hospital starlight foundation, breast cancer awareness, Autism Spectrum Awareness day are all special fundraisers we support annually throughout the centre with dress up days and gold coin donations.
The local Fire Brigade, Ambulance service and local Police also visit the centre at random times throughout the year, teaching children about safety, healthy Harold life skill awareness program, fire protection, child protection- brave hearts program and stranger danger campaigns and other relevant youth rated issues we embed into our yearly program.
Horsley Kids Director, Phoebe Speranza was interviewed by "The Australian" Newspaper.Read More
ACECQA awards Horsley Kids as Exceeding National Quality Standards. To achieve this result Horsley Kids Exceeded in 2018.Read More