As part of the Buthera’s agreement Point Pearce Campus embraces the Reggio Emilia education philosophy that children, the environment and the teacher each play a part in learning and that children express learning in hundreds of different ways. We also believe that multi age play brings with it important benefits.
This has inspired a dedicated focus on Outdoor Play Experiences involving all our children from 12 months to 8 years old.
The Reggio Emilia approach is an innovative and inspiring approach to early childhood education which values the child as strong, capable and resilient (able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions), rich with wonder and knowledge. Reggio Emilia philosophy states that “all knowledge emerges in the process of self and social construction” and, therefore, the emphasis is placed on “each child in relation to other children, teachers, parents, his or her own history, and the societal and cultural surroundings”
The pedagogical focus is on play, inquiry, creativity, and discovery.
Our Outdoor Learning experiences:
- Provide stimulation of discovery through dialogue.
- Encourage students to wonder and think.
- Develop students’ own questions and questioning skills.
- Educators at Point Pearce Aboriginal Campus encourage independent play, parallel play, associate play and cooperative play. Children need these various types of play in order to support and facilitate meaningful learning opportunities as they develop language, motor, social, emotional, and cognitive abilities.
- Outdoor experiences can provide an opportunity to explore, discover and appreciate the natural world, as well as be active, strengthen fine and gross motor movement skills, test physical limits and get messy. We believe time spent in the outdoors should be an important part of the daily program for all children, including babies.
Stimulating multisensory outdoor environments promote not only physical, cognitive and social development in children, but also the appreciation of both similarities and differences among them. These experiences positively prepare them for the world beyond the playground.
Play is driven by the children’s interests, questions, and the world that they live in. The materials available for play add to the children’s play in meaningful ways. This child centred, open ended approach provides opportunity for children to create their own play and explorations and helps to develop independence and creative thinking.
Mixed-age Outdoor Play
Continuity of learning between the Parent Child Centre and the R-2 classroom is an important aspect of our program. We believe that providing a mixed age, outdoor, play based program is the best way to support this.
Mixed-age outdoor play allows children of different age ranges and abilities to play and learn together. Our goal is to build confidence in younger children as well as enhance their language and behavioural skills alongside maximising intellectual potential.
Meanwhile, older children benefit from multi-age grouping because it allows them to ‘mentor’ younger children, which builds on their sense of responsibility, and empathy skills. Younger children in mixed-age groups are also capable of contributing to complex activities and mix well with other children as they get to understand each other better.
Mixed age play offers opportunities for learning and development not present in play among those close in age, permitting younger children to learn more from older playmates than they could from playing with only their peers. In mixed age play, the more sophisticated behaviour of older children offers role models for younger children, who also typically receive more emotional support from older kids than from those near their own age. Mixed age play also permits older children to learn by teaching and to practice nurturance and leadership; and they are often inspired by the imagination and creativity of their younger playmates.
In a mixed-age environment, children get to discover unique qualities through fun learning activities. Children are also likely to become more cooperative. During outdoor experiences they learn to care for themselves as well as their peers while they learn together.
The mixed-age learning model thus opens up new doors of perspective and helps children see each other as individuals rather than contenders.
Mixed age play grows confidence in children. Children feel a greater sense of security since they are always surrounded by someone higher or lower than them in experience. It allows them to operate in their zone of proximal development. Having someone to motivate them gives children the confidence they need to move forward.