At My Story we honour the importance of the first 5 years of life as essential to lifelong success and happiness. To provide children with the best opportunity to excel in life, we carefully consider new research, theory, and the individual ‘stories’ of each family. The following 8 principles underpin the program and relationships at My Story.
Children are capable, competent, autonomous members of society and co constructers of knowledge.
Children are intrinsically curious and are interested in concrete, complex, and abstract ideas. Children’s theories and perspectives are to be listened to, respected, but also problematised by ‘knowledgeable others’ in order to scaffold and enrich the process of learning.
Children are influenced by the unique time and social context in which they live.
Each child’s learning and development will differ depending on their lived experiences of concentric and simultaneous forces, ranging from their immediate family to their broader socio-cultural positioning. Each child will experience relationships and curriculum differently according to contextual influences such as religion, culture, values and socio-economic status. Because the nature of these contexts are complex and dynamic, a sense of belonging is being perpetually recalibrated with assistance from supportive and knowledgeable others.
Responsive relational experiences support a child’s wellbeing, sense of belonging and internalisation of learning.
It is through the formation of supportive, respectful, reciprocal relationships that children develop the confidence and agency to explore their environment and make meaning. Interactions and relationships with family, educators and peers provide a child with a collection of experiences that consequently underpin development of self-concept, self-efficacy and self-esteem.
Collaboration is key to supporting every child’s participation in the program.
True collaboration with families goes beyond tokenistic participation and involves shared decision-making, shared understandings, clarity of expectation and respect for families as the experts in their child’s wellbeing. Collaboration directly with children when co constructing curriculum is not only conducive to a sense of autonomy, it also provides rich opportunity for critical reflection on practice. Accessing the human, environmental, physical and cultural resources of the wider community also provides a diversity of knowledge and skill that enriches the program.
The curriculum encompasses everything a child experiences during their day.
An effective curriculum is co constructed with children and families based on their emerging interests, dispositions for learning and abilities of the children. Integral to the educator’s role is to capitalise on the day-to-day incidental events and spontaneous musings of children in a way that fosters progression towards holistic, child-centred curriculum goals.
A child’s ability to internalise learning is supported most effectively by ‘play’.
An effectively integrated curriculum promotes play as a medium to connect with the unique learning dispositions of each child, and strengthen a multitude of intelligences. The scaffolding of play by educators provides children with opportunities to traverse the gap between what they can do with, or without help.
A culture of inclusion provides children with the repertoire of pro-social skills to live successfully in a diverse society.
It is a social responsibility of the educator to use diversity of race, religion, sex, gender, ethnicities, family structures, abilities and socioeconomic status as a provocation to co construct an enlightening path towards tolerance, acceptance and celebration of difference. The early years are critical to the development or rejection of bias, and so the curriculum must champion the exploration of social justice principles rather than reinforcing the values of dominant culture.
Exploration of the natural world provides children with a wealth of learning and developmental opportunities.
Through engagement with the natural world, children’s imagination is stimulated, their capacity for risk assessment is supported, and their physical health is promoted. Meaningful engagement in the natural world fosters a sense of belonging and environmental responsibility. Consideration of the natural world also provides provocation for educators and children to authentically explore the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and the places we live.