Skip to Main Content

What’s special about the ELC years?

Haileybury’s ELC program is all about fostering a love of learning in every child

NEWS 28 Feb 2023

Every day, something magical happens across Haileybury’s ELC classrooms.

The play-based learning and the many activities that wrap around that learning look different from day to day and from campus to campus, but every ELC encourages children to explore, create and be curious.

Children might spend time outdoors learning about Indigenous plants and bush tucker, discovering how the climate affects what plants can grow where, learning about science and space travel, or getting out into their communities to learn about local wildlife and landmarks.

These journeys of discovery happen within a curriculum that is led by the children’s curiosity and sparked by their different interests and this is the basis for their learning.

“We listen to what the children say and this helps educators encourage a genuine love of learning in each child.”
Lisa Christopher, Director of Early Learning at Haileybury

“For example, an educator may notice that a child wants to take part in water play. Through that play, the educator can then introduce science concepts like floating and sinking, bring in maths vocabulary such as full, empty, heavy and light, and encourage a child to make a hypothesis and test theories during their play.

“The learning experiences within our ELCs are open-ended and we see children as having unlimited potential. So, we design a play-based environment that caters for all developmental areas, engages a child’s sense of wonder in their environment and supports them to develop a growth mindset.”

The play-based learning and exploration is underpinned by a strong focus on children beginning to learn how to read and write from the earliest days of ELC. They also begin to develop their numeracy skills in the early stages of their ELC journey and as that journey continues, these skills are deepened.

The early literacy and numeracy exposure ensures that by the time the ELC children start Prep, they have foundational skills to build on and they also have confidence to tackle increasingly complex literacy and numeracy tasks.

The ELC Program

The five pillars of the program include:

  1. Play-based activities with intentionality – these enable children to make choices and learn through hands-on activities that help them pay attention to a task, persist and develop resilience and cooperation.
  2. Literacy – using the Jolly Phonics multi-sensory approach teaches children phonic sounds and letter names. This program starts in the ELC and continues into Prep and helps children learn to read and write sooner.
  3. Numeracy - children use materials to learn mathematical language and concepts like number value, numerals, classifying, sequencing, addition, data collection, prediction and subtraction. To support learning, the numeracy curriculum relates to everyday experiences and interests.
  4. Social thinking - children are explicitly taught how to identify feelings and to regulate their emotions to support their personal wellbeing and help them enjoy positive social interactions.
  5. Child empowerment - the focus in ELC is all about supporting children to reach their learning potential, enjoy respectful relationships and contribute to their world.

As well as building a strong educational foundation, Haileybury ELCs nurture a sense of belonging that follows children throughout their years at the school.

“The children and their needs are at the forefront of everything we do. They celebrate their individuality, develop positive relationships, acknowledge diversity and develop care and empathy for others,” explains Lisa.

“They bring their personality and individual strengths to the ELC each day and the connections they make continue throughout their school life and into adulthood through the Old Haileyburians Association.”

Haileybury ELC educators are passionate about their roles as early childhood educators and the School recognises the importance of attracting highly-qualified and skilled educators – minimum Diploma qualified.

For Lisa, the tremendous importance of the ELC years keeps her passionate about her work. Watching the growth and development of each child in a thriving ELC class is also incredibly rewarding.

“For me, a good day is sharing a child’s pride in mastering a new skill,” says Lisa.

“At the end of each day I leave work with energy and a sense of fulfilment. Our students are amazing.”

What parents say about our Early Learning Centres

The reviews speak for themselves…

  • ‘The teachers are exceptional, they are so kind, nurturing and have a way of getting the best out of every child both academically and emotionally.’
  • ‘My son started at ELC this year and the change we have seen in him in such a short time has been incredible. The engagement and enrichment that the program provides him is beyond what we could have imagined.’

  • ‘It’s incredible how every single child is so excited to be at ELC. Caring and dedicated staff provide an amazing environment for kids to learn, be social and develop friendships. They learn so well.’

The Haileybury journey begins at ELC. We invite you to visit one of our Early Learning Centres at our upcoming School Tours.