An environment for learning

Choosing the right start for your little learner is vital to develop their potential to learn.

Choosing an early learning centre for your child involves balancing practical issues – a location convenient to your workplace, quality classroom facilities and cost – with the emotional and educational well-being of your child.
So while the process of comparing the location, facilities and cost of various early learning centres is relatively easy for parents, the greater challenge is determining how the centre manages and encourages the emotional and educational development of children.
Suncoast Little Learners, in Woombye, strives to create an environment where children can become enthusiastic, inquiring and challenged by embracing holistic and developmentally appropriate methods of learning.
Krystle Cullen, director of Suncoast Little Learners, comments: “We believe that the best centres are those that encourage children and give them opportunities for open-ended, play-based learning and not be enclosed within sterile, risk-free indoor spaces”.
It is increasingly important for centres to create open-ended, or loose parts approaches, where play directs the child’s learning.
Sandra Cheeseman, from Early Childhood Australia, comments: “When watching a highly effective educator you can see them move seamlessly from creating a play situation, choosing different ways to be involved with children and their ideas, and drawing out the potential learning in the situation through their challenges and provocations which develop the play further”.
Marcelle Holliday in her book Every Child also argues for the play-based approach – where children are exposed to literacy and numeracy learning through hands-on, practical and play-based experiences, they are more likely to engage meaningfully and successfully with them.
Top tips in making our early childhood decisions:
* The choice of centre must be greater than just location, facilities and cost.
* Children thrive in a loose-parts environment, were play-based learning is encouraged.
* Play-based education should balance child-led trial and error with direct instruction from well-qualified early childhood educators.
* Sterile, risk-free indoor spaces might be look impressive, but are they the right environment to provoke challenging learning experiences?
* Ensure that the centre is genuinely interested in the emotional well-being of your child.
Krystle Cullen puts it well when she comments: “Early learners need adventurous, imaginative, whimsical experiences where education fluidly integrates with their day”.
Suncoast Little Learners is conveniently located within the grounds of Suncoast Christian College with ample parking and direct (and easy) access via Kiel Mountain Road exits from Nambour Connection Road. Contact Krystle on 5451 3600 or learn more at www.suncoastlittlelearners.com.au