A focus group of families and boys were given opportunity to meet with the lecturers to discuss the heart of the Centre. What was the evident practice that made the Centre unique? How was the impact of the reflective Reggio Emilia practice part of the Centre's philosophy?
Each teacher then chose an action research question and became part of a practitioner inquiry to research the question in their class. The research was diverse and was refined over a year as small groups and teachers refined their thinking and saw evidence of change in their practice. Data was collected, practice changed and re-evaluation in teams and classes meant at the final presentation of the work, teachers had not only found some answers but continued with a further question or line of inquiry. Many felt it had finished with a new beginning. Shared ideas and experiences have provoked new directions with year levels and teams reexamining documentation, classroom designs, furniture, small group combinations and programs.
Parent participation has given us a great collection of ideas and information to rebuild our website and to offer different ways of communicating our learning while reinforcing the much loved portfolios and celebration materials we currently share.
Questions explored included:
What starts aggressive play in the playground?
How does the outside environment impact learning?
How do we normalise IT in the Lions program?
Do parents value/understand our practice or do they think we should be more formal?
How can I prioritise reading skills and strategies during guided reading time?
What strategies impact phonetic development in the EALD boys?
How do we build a class community?
Sarah Jane Marmion
Can problem solving maths strategies be productive in low skill sets?
How can I utilise the best class arrangement with boy's voices to build community?
What impact is fidgeting having on learning?
How can I encourage a student voice in curating the class displays?
The research confirmed our list of essential philosophy components in the Centre.
- The agency of the child is paramount.
- Knowing the child deeply is the beginning to growing.
- Choice of the child is heard.
- Voice of the child in the environment of the room and Centre, in documentation and celebrations of learning is important for connection and comprehension.
- The environment must be a place of provocation to learning both beautiful and engaging.
- The experience of play is needed to reinforce and consolidate learning in a social, linguistic and physical domains.
- The environment is the third teacher.
- The differentiation of the program to meet the child's needs is foundational to design of programs.
- Connection and community are important for a sense of belonging, confidence and respect.
- All boys can contribute to learning.
These key points will now become the basis for our document outlining the philosophy for the Centre. We are not a Reggio Emilia 'all of us thinking a bit differently about it' school. We are The Scots College and we do Early Childhood Education this way. We seek to reflect world's best practice, influences and research, in an Australian context.