Creating an ‘Environment of Wonder’.
St Patrick’s ELC’s journey to developing a quality environment as part of providing 1140hr provision.
As a staff team, we were passionate about creating an environment that cultivates children’s curiosity, creativity and wonder. We worked very hard to develop a shared vision for our new 1140 environment, recognising the impact our environment has on our children as ‘the 3rd educator’.
This involved looking inwards: self-evaluating our environment and the barriers we faced e.g. comfort, light, space, barriers to free flow play to our outdoor environment; using Building the Ambition to support our self-evaluation.
Next, looking outwards: Falkirk Opens its Doors to Play was an immeasurable support – getting into other quality environments and taking inspiration from good practice within our authority. Following these visits, our team consulted on aspects of good practice which would fit our vision. In addition we took time to research examples of quality environments and resources shared on on-line platforms which proved to be a great support to us. We found inspiration from pages that share their environments and resources, such as ‘The Curiosity Approach’, and as a team, we shared and discussed ideas, challenging each other in a supportive manner.
Then looking forwards: by getting involved in all aspects of planning for our environment. We worked very closely with our Architect at the planning stage, making changes such as; the position of our kitchen, adding extra windows, changing the boundaries of our garden etc. As a team (including our children, parents and staff) we made all decisions re. décor and furnishings of our environment.
Staff embraced the opportunity to make real environmental change and a shift in the resources we provided to support learning. Staff created a wish list in keeping with our research and carefully selected interesting items and resources to purchase with our budget.
Staff worked extremely hard to get all our resources in place and create a warm, welcoming, homely environment for our children and opened our doors in August on the first day of term to our children as an Early Learning Centre delivering 1140 hours of provision. At that point, our environment continued to be an on-going daily priority. It was a focus of our daily dialogue; discussing how our children were using their environment, changes that were required and improvements we could make.
“Play is the Way! Come along to find out first-hand how Falkirk teachers and early years practitioners are using Froebelian principles and play-based pedagogy to deliver inspiring, motivating and developmentally appropriate learning experiences for Falkirk’s bairns. 2018 ENTHUSE winner, Nicola Connor, will also join us from West Lothian to share practical ways to promote STEM in your classroom through play and playful learning experiences.”
The Falkirk early years team are looking forward to hosting this play-based pedagogy workshop on behalf of Education Scotland’s Teacher Leadership Programme on February 10th 2020 in Camelon Education Centre from 4PM-6PM and hope to see lots of our own Fab Falkirk folk there. Please use the link below to sign up and come along to hear about some of the great learning and teaching happening in our schools and early learning settings.
Food Hygiene Refresher Training
A small reminder that all Falkirk ELC practitioners whose Elementary Food Hygiene certificate is approaching 5 years old should sign up for a two hour refresher course using CPD manager. Refresher courses are run every 6 months and places are limited so please ensure you plan ahead if your certificate will be 5 years old within the next year and sign up promptly to reserve your space. The next course will be held on March 4th 2020 from 4-6 PM in Camelon Education Centre.
The second Early Learning Leadership Forum was held in Camelon Education Centre on February 5th 2018.
A number of guest speakers from within and outwith the authority presented on a range of positive approaches to supporting themes 3 and 4 of QI2.3 from HGIELCC. Thanks again to all those who came to share their good practice.
Falkirk Council staff and employees from our private partners can now access some of the presentations on our early years Glow page http://tinyurl.com/y7yr939f (Please note, you will need your Glow login details to access these materials).
On December 5th 2017, we held our first Early Learning Leadership Forum in Camelon Education Centre. This event was the first of its kind in Falkirk and it was great to see managers from all of our different EYCC settings coming together to discuss delivering the ambition for all of Falkirk’s bairns.
Falkirk Council and our private partner employees can access the Powerpoint and handout materials on our early years Glow page http://tinyurl.com/y7yr939f (Please note, you will need your Glow login details to access these materials).
The Early Years Curriculum team are aware that many of Falkirk’s EYC settings have been or currently are focusing on developing their use loose parts as part of their provision. Inspiring Scotland have produced a toolkit which we would encourage practitioners within these settings to use to reflect on their provision of loose parts play. The Loose Parts Play toolkit was produced to support people working with children and young people across all age ranges and settings. It aims:
• To raise awareness of the value of loose parts to children’s play
• To provide practical guidance about loose parts play to those who work with children and young people of all ages
• To advocate the use of loose parts as an approach to developing play opportunities at home, school and in the community.