Writing a Philosophy

As I reach the final Practicum of my degree, I am faced with writing my Philosophy in relation to this setting for the final time at university. To inspire myself I look over past philosophies, and realize what a deeply emotional and personal experience this is.

How can a put into a few words the passion that I have for Early Childhood. When people ask me why I study Early Childhood, and questions its importance, what can I say to them to develop an understanding and appreciation for what I do?

I ask them to consider being five years old again and consider what it was would be like to have someone deeply care about your learning at the time, to understand who you are at that point in your life see both you strengths and areas for improvement, your interests, your needs.

For someone to help develop who you are and your understandings of the World around you, while at the same time having fun and playing and making you feel safe.

To have someone who knew that you weren’t always going to have a perfect day, but they’d care for you anyway.

To have someone who always encouraged you to have a go, and to be creative as you want.

This person is not your family, but they work with your family, to understand who you are when they see you.

While we may need the important skills, of reading, writing and mathematics in our lives how can we do this without first discovering how important they are. I help them discover, I help them have fun and whilst learning to make friends in the process.

Imagine having someone in your life that got such joy out of seeing you laugh and smile, they joined in.

That is who I am, for every child who walks through my door. I care about who they are, who they are going to be and I care about living in the moment with them.

Imagine now having someone in your life that cares like this; imagine who you’d be.

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Change

I love thought provoking conversation. This week at university we were discussing the nature of values and attitude. Often we resist change, but a shift can still occur, particularly when given experience and exposure.  My lecturer then asked whether we had ever noticed a change in our own values, which really got me thinking, and thinking, then finally I remembered something. I used to never think I would be interested in working with children with special needs. Then, at my job teaching swimming I began working with a child, one-on-one, who has severe autism. My perspective was changed, which sparked a deep passion and interest in working with children with special needs.

For them x

 

At first I did not know what to do,

But your smile, your laugh, touched my heart and a mutual fondness grew.

Young and naïve, I had much to learn.

And it certainly wasn’t about being stern.

Together we grew, and continue to grow.

Though words are not said, we connect within a look,

Something I could not learn from a book.

You taught me to look deeper inside,

To see the person others may think you hide.

I observed and saw what makes you smirk,

And all those things you could call a quirk.

Everyday is different,

But it is ours to hold,

A new story to be told.

People seem amazed,

Your parents are always there to praise.

What they do not realise,

Together we do not just benefit you.

You have shaped who I am today,

Who I will be,

What I will do,

And although you may never understand my dear friend,

I will forever say thank you.

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Play is understanding

Prompt: “Play is a child’s life and the means by which he comes to understand the world he lives in”.

IMGP0811My play: sometimes all you need is your siblings and some rocks…

When I think of play, as an adult, I think of fun, laughter, smiling, and a sense of unrestricted freedom and safety.  While play for children is still all those things, it is also very serious business; time to learn, to discover the world around them, take risks and create identity (Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, 2010, p. 30).

Ebbeck, & Waniganayake, (2010, p. 205) explore how in countries such a Cambodia, where work is highly valued, children still find opportunities to turn work into play, such as playing tag while guarding crops. When the opportunity arises for play the children also construct small versions of tools used in the fields. These examples show how play is ingrained in children, and that their working culture comes into their play, so it can be understood.

In western societies it seems we so often separate work and play, play being a privilege. We observe children who are over-scheduled with extra curricula activities, with little time for the freedom of play.

Play under the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child, is a right, proving the importance of play in a child’s life (United Nations, 1989). Leo Buscaglia (as cited in Oxford Shire Play Association 2011) states in perfectly in saying:

 “It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them.”

I recently had a conversation with friends, where we were discussing the new playground in our town centre. I expressed how I quite liked the new playground, particularly as someone who ‘studies playgrounds’, as a stated jokingly. They laughed at how much fun I have studying early childhood. While it’s a blast, it’s also very serious business to me, as it should be. Not everyone can see the value in play like I do, or simply see the learning that can occur by just looking at an environment. I wish everyone understood and slowly through my work I hope to develop greater understanding so the amazing nature of play can be truly valued.

When the connection is made, laughter and discovery can go hand in hand. As an adult I know completing tasks is so much easier when they’re enjoyable, why then do forget to allow ourselves, and our children fun in learning?

 References

Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (2010). Educators guide to the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia: Belonging, being and becoming. ACT: Commonwealth of Australia.

Ebbeck, M., & Waniganayake, M. (2010). Play in early childhood education: Learning in diverse contexts. Melbourne: Oxford University Press

Oxford Shire Play Association. (2012). Oxford Shire Play Association. Retrieved from: http://www.oxonplay.org.uk/

United Nations, (1989). Convention on the Rights of the Child: Article 31. Retrieved from: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm

All images sourced from own images.

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How a name makes you smile.

How a name makes you smile.

A break always reminds me of how much I love what I do.

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Hopscotch & Monet to fill my day

Even though I am on holidays at the moment I am constantly reminded that I am, forever an Early Childhood Educator.

On my morning walk this week, I marvelled. At times I worry deeply that children do not get outside and play and interact with one another in the street. I worry that their holidays are spent indoors, in bubble wrap looking at a screen.

The children of my neighbourhood showed me not all hope is lost. As I walked along, I looked at my feet to notice a game of hopscotch along the footpath. Then I kept noticing, and noticing. This game of hopscotch spanned the whole block and it went on and on for approximately 400m. I imagined the day’s work for the children and the teamwork involved and smiled hopefully, always the early childhood educator.

A trip to a Monet exhibition filled my heart with lust for his art and also creative ideas as an educator. I longed to teach children about his art and share my lust. Whilst most adults leave an exhibition with the catalogue, I leave with the children’s guide, a Monet picture storybook and puppet. Forever I am the early childhood educator building up resources.

IMG_1231

As much as I love having a break, I don’t think my mind ever really leaves my passion.

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Emergent Curriculum & the EYLF

Prompt: Explain the notion of emergent curriculum and how the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) facilitates it.

As I sit down, with the EYLF in my hand, I sigh. It’s finally time to get my head really around yet another framework.

Daydreaming of a trip Reggio Emilia, with an emergent curriculum on top of my philosophy I doubted this frameworks ability.

I flick to page one: Introduction. Suddenly I find myself inspired in this ‘I cannot put it down book’, the Da Vinci code, for early childhood educators.

I am overcome with the feeling that it is truly possible to teach children with such high quality practice. I feel the room to breath; it’s a framework not a day by day, you must do this instruction manual. The EYLF is a guide to my emergent curriculum ideals.

It clicks, the title says it all and reflects emergent curriculum: Belonging, Being and Becoming. Each heading to me means and for each child:

Belonging: The whole person and their connections to the community

Being: One living in the present, pursuing interests and playing for today.

Becoming: Recognising the whole person and developing the skills to engage in society.

As an educator through the eyes of the EYLF and emergent curriculum I am a partner with children in the great discovery of the world around us. With careful and considered planning, documenting and reflecting.

I now realise I should have never doubted this document, it’s creation involved the passion and knowledge of many early childhood academics and encompasses the most current practices, emergent curriculum being one of those.

Untitled

Above I have created this quote and image, that to me describes emergent curriculum.

What are your thoughts on the EYLF and how it relates to Emergent Curriculum?

References

Arthur, L., Beecher, B., Death, E., Dockett, S., Farmer, S. (2005). Programming and planning in early childhood Settings. Victoria: Thomson

Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (2009). The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia: Belonging, being and becoming. ACT: Commonwealth of Australia.

All images sourced from own images.

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