Focus on Fun and Learning in ELC
Haileybury’s ELC Programs
Haileybury’s Early Learning Centre (ELC) Program provides a safe place for children to have fun, develop social skills and learn educational concepts that will help them when they start school.
Each ELC has a carefully developed evidence-based learning program that allows the children to develop important social and academic skills through a range of enjoyable and stimulating activities.
Zones of Regulation—Social Thinking
‘Zones of regulation’ is a curriculum introduced to ELC students alongside our existing program. The curriculum is designed to help girls and boys gain skills to consciously regulate their actions, which in turn leads to increased control of emotions and problem solving abilities.
Students are guided through the program to help recognise when they are in different states called ‘zones’. They are taught how to use strategies or tools to stay in one zone or move from one to the other. Calming techniques, cognitive strategies and sensory supports are introduced to children so they have a toolbox to utilise.
Children are taught to read facial expressions and recognise a broad range of emotions, perspective about how others see and react to their behaviour, and insight into events that could trigger them.
Haileybury Edrington ELC received government funding in 2019 to implement a program or staff teaching model to aid the development of students and their school readiness. After discussions and research, the zones of regulation was chosen as a great learning tool to benefit students and staff.
A well-known and prominent figure in this field, Ms Julie Liptak, has helped to facilitate and initiate this program in the ELC. Ms Liptak will visit students and staff meetings to model the program and ensure a smooth implementation.
Developing Social Thinking in Children
Social thinking is a flexible teaching framework that can help individuals to enhance and improve thinking abilities in social awareness, emotional intelligence and behaviour self-regulation.
Elements of this framework will evolve and strengthen over the year, but staff have already begun developing many social thinking concepts within their everyday practice with the children by incorporating the following:
- thoughts and feelings
- following the group plan
- whole body listening.
It has been wonderful to observe the ELC children begin to grasp these concepts and show development in their identity and wellbeing, as well as in empathy and their understanding of how to work together as a group.
Literacy in the ELC
Our Literacy Program has been developed by the collaborative team of Haileybury early childhood educators. It has been reviewed over many years and is what we define as best practice in delivering a high-quality Literacy Program in the early years.
The two-year program is sequential, engages children in their own learning, builds on skills and understanding in a developmentally appropriate way and motivates young children to engage meaningfully with literacy.
The children are introduced to each literacy concept in a supported learning experience and are given the time and space to engage with their new knowledge in planned and spontaneous play opportunities.
Over Term 1, Pre-Prep children were introduced to the first 14 sounds and shared their knowledge with their families over the break.
Loose Parts Boost Creativity
The five best toys for children were recently cited as dirt, string, cardboard tubes, boxes and sticks. These items are collectively known as ‘loose parts’, which are materials that can be moved, combined, redesigned, lined up and used for endless possibilities, limited only by a child’s imagination. The use of recycled and bought loose parts empowers creativity.
When using loose parts in the ELC, children are practising their observation and numeracy skills to compare, contrast, balance and measure. They use critical thinking skills to sort according to size, shape and colour and engage in foundation mathematical skills of patterning, symmetry, spatial awareness and problem solving.
Digital Learning in the ELC
Newlands’ ELC incorporates iPads daily into the children’s learning with the delivery of the ELLA Mandarin language program in Pre-Prep and a focus on Literacy and Numeracy apps in Reception class.
Research presented at the recent Digital Learning in the Early Years conference in Melbourne highlighted the importance of using creation apps with children, allowing educators to assist children to use specific apps to express their creativity and knowledge. These apps feature in the children’s program.
Conference presenters outlined American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines that suggest screen time is limited to one hour a day for children aged two to five. Parents are encouraged to watch and participate during this time to ensure children understand the content they are viewing and how it applies to their world.