Philosophy and Pedagogy
What is our Philosophical and Pedagogical Approach?
Penola Casa operates a strength based program using around the Early Years Learning Framework. We are also inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to education created by Italian Lorris Malaguzzi. Our philosophy puts the child at the centre of their own learning, as constructors of knowledge. Children are encouraged to question, participate and explore. Strong relationships with family, educators, other children and community are the foundation for social, emotional and academic development.
“We must credit the child with enormous potential and the children must feel that trust. The teacher must give up all his preconceived notices and accept the child as a co-constructor.” (Malaguzzi)
The role of the family
Families are most valuable and critical to the creation of the culture of our school. Families bring their unique identities to and are invited to share their ideas in the formulation of a responsive program.
What is a family?
“Lots of people together and they are your family” (Harvey 5 years)
The role of the teacher
The teacher is a co–learner with the child. We see the child at the centre of their own learning – a co-constructor of knowledge, who is infinitely capable. Therefore the teacher is a partner in a child’s learning, with the role of researcher and acting as a resource to inspire learning. “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed at,” Montessori.
What is a teacher?
“Someone that teaches you everything” (Thea 4)
The role of materials
Children live in a rich world of materials and learn through interaction with these materials. Children are provided with an array of recycled, repurposed, interesting, unique and familiar materials and invited to offer new meaning and purpose for the materials. Children need to be given infinite resources to create with in the way they see fit. Real, genuine learning occurs through engagement and discovery acted upon by the child with their own motivation to learn. It is our role to provide opportunities for this. Penola Casa will offer children a myriad of resources, experiences and provocations to entice the child to discover, experiment and take risks on the journey of learning and becoming oneself.
“Children need the freedom to appreciate the infinite resources of their hands, their eyes and their ears, the resources of forms, materials, sounds and colours” (Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach).
“The schools in Reggio Emilia act as a mirror – not a model. When we look in a mirror we see ourselves and when we look at the practice and pedagogy of the Reggio Emilia schools we find a provocation to challenge our assumptions and question our practice,” Reggio Australia.
Overarching principles of the Reggio Emilia approach
- Participation – we recognise the value of actively engaging all children, teachers and families in a community setting of researching learning together.
- Rights – we recognise children as having social, legal and civil rights. Children are a source and constructor of their own experiences. It is the right of the teacher and parents to participate in the learning of the child.
- Image of the child – It is important to recognise the child as a competent, intelligent and enquiring being. We recognise that the existing conventions of ‘child’ are above all cultural conventions, and also political and social.
- Importance of relationships – children from birth are social and wanting to form relationships. These relationships become paramount to participation, and facilitate co-construction of knowledge.
- The environment – attention is paid intently to the reflection of the environment as the “third teacher” in reflecting the principles of the Reggio Project and as listening to the children and their interests and needs.
- Listening – is the premise of learning in any relationship.
- Progettazione – “an Italian term which defines the approach to pedagogy shared by adults and children” – How we approach learning
- The Atelier – a space for expressive languages and arts.
- Theory of the hundred languages – all children are rich and possess skills, abilities and intelligences across 100 languages. It is our role to facilitate these languages – whatever they may be.
Our philosophical approach of Reggio Emilia is followed in an Australian context, and this includes adherence to the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and the National Quality Standard (NQS). As well, our kindergarten programs are informed by the Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guidelines (QKLG).
The EYLF, NQS AND QKLG are part of the National Quality Framework which sets out standards for the quality of childcare in Australia. A vision for Australian childcare, that: “All children have the best start in life to create a better future for themselves and for the nation.”
NQS establishes seven key quality areas for early childhood education:
- Educational program and practice;
- Child’s health and safety;
- Physical environment;
- Staffing arrangements (including the number of staff looking after children);
- Relationships with children;
- Collaborative partnerships with families and communities;
- Leadership and service management.
Penola Casa strives to find ways to exceed these key areas in everything we do.
The EYLF is based upon promoting a sense of BELONGING, BECOMING AND BEING. It emphasises play-based learning. It also recognises that communication and language (including early literacy and numeracy) and social and emotional development are vital for early learning.
The framework offers a vision where ‘all children experience learning that is engaging and builds success for life’. It has been designed so that early childhood services will be able to develop their own strategies to implement its objectives.