Curriculum & Room Programs
Whatever experience the children bring to Neighborhood House, whatever language they have, is the key starting point for developing their learning. A program is planned every week and is available for you to see on the board in all rooms. The program aims to allow each child to work in their own way and at their own pace, so that they become a more self-sufficient and independent individual. The key to this is offering the child choices as to what they would like to do. Staff members are always there to offer help to children with support and companionship – and in an environment that is carefully planned and developed.
Neighborhood House embraces the National and Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework which has been developed to advance all children’s learning and development from birth to eight years.
Children learn from birth and their learning and development at each stage of life forms the foundation for the next. During the period from birth to eight years children experience more rapid brain development and acquire more skills and knowledge than during any other period in their lives. By the time they enter school children have already developed key communication, learning and thinking skills, learned to build and maintain relationships, and form a strong sense of their own identity. These skills and knowledge are the foundations for learning at school and for lifelong learning. Each child is encouraged to form a sense of Being, Belonging and Becoming which is evident in our programs and personal goals for all children.
Organised activities are planned by the staff to suit the various ages and interest of our children. Children are also involved heavily in the planning process. Staff observe or consult with children regarding their current interests and wishes regarding activities. These activities, often needing involved preparation, are reviewed on a weekly basis. Staff constantly supervise and participate in these activities, which often provide a learning experience, eg: nature studies; current news items (the Year of the Family, the Commonwealth Games); recognisable events in children’s daily life (birthdays, holidays, Christmas, Easter, Mothers’/Fathers’ Day, etc).
The focus on experiences can vary between three different approaches which are guided play and learning; adult led experiences; child-directed play and learning.
All of these help to improve each child’s co-ordination, developing gross and fine motor control (ie. Indoors: woodwork table, blocks, books, puzzles, home corner, dress-ups). Activities offer a wide range of stimulation including role-play and dramatic play. The biggest benefit of all these activities is that they provide children with the chance to share, communicate and negotiate with other children.
It is important to note that this routine is very flexible and changes according to children’s needs.
Finally the program aims to foster the following:
Learning experiences appropriate for each child (note that extensive individual records are kept and all activities are based on group and individual goals)
Personal and social development
Fine and gross motor skills
Creative development and aesthetic awareness
Important Note: All parents are welcome to make any suggestions and ask questions regularly in regard to our programs. Parent participation in the program is very valued and encouraged. Please feel free to talk to staff within your child’s Room if you would like to carry out a group session with the staff’s absolute support.
As a vital part of the planning process for each child staff regularly maintain and update a Portfolio folder for your child. A portfolio is a collection of your child’s work and other information that provides a detailed picture of your child’s progress. Each portfolio will be unique as every child’s level of development and interest will be different. We encourage you to add items of interest, photos or stories about your child whenever possible throughout your child’s time with us.
The portfolio will include:
A profile of your child including background information.
Photographs of your child participating in aspects of the program.
Transcripts of conversations between your child, other children and carers.
Regular developmental summaries that are collated as part of the planning process.
Documentations of children’s projects
Reference to which goals and objectives are being met.
Parents are encouraged to sit and look through their child’s portfolio with them or at times take them home for the family to view together. We ask that parents look only at their own child’s portfolios so that each child’s privacy and confidentiality may be respected. The portfolios are kept in your child’s room.
Additional Individual Needs
Neighborhood House has a highly recognised and developed incursion program whereby children with additional individual needs are welcomed at the Centre. In order to include each child into the program we do draw on the relevant resources available in the community in conjunction with relevant advice and communication with specialists involved with the individual child. The number and intensity of resources used generally depend on the child’s needs.
‘ISS’ Funding Grants are also available for staff. These provide for an extra person to support the child in the room. In order for successful integration to take place, there needs to be a well-organised plan that involves room staff, relevant professionals and general support for all concerned. It is a necessary practice for staff and professionals to liaise in regard to common aims and goals. A communication Folder with a section for each of the treating professionals and the Centre is provided in order for weekly exchange of communication to take place.
How staff Plan for your Child
In each room, staff must ensure that the program is displayed for your information. Please do not hesitate to review the plan and ask staff for any clarification you require. The process of planning for each room is outlined below.
We gather as much background information as possible in order to understand what life experiences each child has had.
It is important we talk with you, the parent, to understand how you feel about your child in the childcare situation. We need to exchange information about needs and desires, so that we all work with your child’s best interest in mind. We need to have this open communication happening throughout the year. Questionnaires are sent to parents from time to time, to help collate this information.
The use of observations and possibly a developmental checklist help us to know what stage of development your child has reached. We also rely heavily on consultation with the children to ascertain their current interest and wishes.
Using our observations, a program is written that incorporates activities to interest, stimulate, extend and build upon each child’s development.
It is also important that staff continue to assess and evaluate the programs provided to children, to ensure they are both developmentally appropriate and challenging as well as providing new experiences for them to progress through the stages of development. Any suggestions parents care to make are most welcome.