EARLY YEARS PROGRAMME
The Early Years Programme provides a safe, nurturing and engaging learning environment where Compassion, Courage and Curiosity are fostered through a “play-based”, inquiry centered approach to learning. Children will spend a majority of their day engaged in “hands-on” activities in the classroom, outside in the sand and water, and around the lovely campus gardens.
Grounded in sound pedagogy, the Early Years Programme brings 3 and 4 year olds together, in one classroom, over a two-year period, to develop and explore concepts within a rolling curriculum for a more personalized learning environment.
Advantages of Multi Age Classrooms
Often parents worry that the younger children in a multiage classroom will distract the teachers and take attention away from the older children. This is not the case, in fact, the older children benefit from the ability to lead younger children. Leading, whether in guiding a new student or giving a bit of attention to a younger student who may be having a difficult time away from his parents, is a critical experience for a young child. These “soft” skills are vital in the emotional and social development of the child. As you can see, integrating this leadership mindset into the classroom shifts teaching strategies slightly, where there is not so much lecturing as there is group work throughout the school day.
Many parents worry that if their child is the oldest in the multiage classroom then he/she will not be challenged academically. In multiage classrooms, teachers engage older children in multiple ways through flexible grouping, in order to meet the needs of every child. There may be times when the teacher asks an older child to share a lesson to younger children. Younger children are encouraged to observe the older child’s more advanced work, and in turn, the older children benefit from the ability to teach. Teaching ingrains a concept and both groups of children benefit.
Older children model more sophisticated, complex problem solving and critical thinking. So, younger children are able to develop skills without the guidance of an adult teacher. In other words, if it weren’t for the older child, the younger child would most likely have to seek, or rely on, the adult. So, the younger child develops independence and feels secure about their capabilities.
Child-Led Learning Environment:
Same teacher, Same classroom. The child and the teacher are able to truly get to know and to trust one another over the two years. The child becomes intimately familiar with the environment and begins to understand themself as a learner and as a person of the world. The classroom community is strong and family-like, in that the children and teachers support and care for one another.
Because a core group of students stays with a teacher for the next year, start-up time is faster when students come back to school in August. Once students have been in the same class for a year, they take on leadership roles and help new students adjust.
A child in a multiage classroom is able to develop over time within a supportive community according to their ability. As a result, a child is able to lead their own learning… and is able to take control of their learning… to own it. The result is a lifelong love of learning.