Stirling Community Early Learning Centre Philosophy

September 2022

Relationships with children and their families form the foundation of our philosophy and practices here at Stirling Community Early Learning Centre. Educators seek to build strong, collaborative, positive, respectful, and trusting relationships with all children, families, and each other. Open reciprocal communication in an inclusive environment where everyone has a sense of belonging guides our daily interactions. Families are respected as their child’s primary care, support network and foundation for learning and development. We encourage meaningful family participation in our Centre and value their positive contributions.

Our interactions and relationships with children are guided by the Marte Meo approach, Latin for “one’s own strengths”. This places great importance on educators’ interactions and communication to support children’s learning, behaviour and development. In doing so, we strive to encourage all children from birth to 5 years of age to construct a strong sense of security, wellbeing and belonging.

Our child initiated play based learning programs stimulate children’s knowledge, exploration, social connections, and brain development. We believe play is how children learn best as it supports each childs individual interests, strengths, and needs. Programs are emergent, play based and built around the key concepts, principles, practices, and outcomes described in the Early Years Learning Framework and the National Quality Standards. Play-based learning experiences and project work are supported by intentional teaching as we seek to extend on, scaffold and challenge children’s thinking, interests, visions, and ideas.

Our centre is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to learning where children are accepted as important, capable, contributing members of our community and their own learning journey. We view children as being competent, inquisitive, diverse, creative, playful, social, and emotional individuals who come to our Centre with their own unique personalities and culture. Educators are committed to embedding Indigenous culture, perspectives and teachings into everyday experiences. We acknowledge Stirling Community Early Learning Centre is built on the land of the Kaurna people and respect their spiritual connection to the land, waterways and community and recognise them as the Traditional Custodians of the land.

We view our indoor and outdoor environments as the Third Teacher which is critical when working to the Reggio Emilia curriculum approach. Our environments promote natural textures, materials, objects, and resources to invite open ended interactions and play, spontaneity, risk taking, problem solving and a connection with nature. Nature based learning is also explored through our Bush Kindy and Beach Kindy programs which provide many developmental benefits including problem solving, engineering, gross motor skills, communication, visual discrimination, risk assessing, caring for our environment and sustainability. Education for sustainability is also embedded into our programs as we promote sustainable practices to teach children how to look after their environment.

Educators also encourage children to represent their ideas and understanding through the ‘Hundred Languages’ or modes of expression, including speaking, writing, drawing, painting and sculpture as well as shadow play, dance, collage, dramatic play and music.

At SCELC we are a community of leaners where our connection to our local community, each other and our unique Adelaide Hills environment all work together in harmony to generate growth, shared learning, and a feeling of belonging. We firmly believe in supporting our local community produce and people by buying and using local made throughout our centre. Working in conjunction with other not for profit and volunteer groups in our community ensure our children develop and maintain an appreciation for diverse ways of being that will stay with them for life.