Building and developing each child's learning journey is an essential part of our curriculum at ACG Parnell Early Learning School (ELS). Our play and inquiry-based approach encourages our young charges to explore and investigate the world around them. At the same time, older children are introduced to our School Readiness Programme, which helps them smoothly transition to Primary and provides a solid foundation for future learning.
The programme's holistic framework equips children with fundamental foundational skills that prepare them for school, both emotionally and mentally. Not only is it expertly designed to underpin students' learning, but it supports them to become competent and confident learners and communicators. And the children have plenty to get excited about with weekly visits from the ACG Parnell Primary team.
"Our trained Primary School teachers work alongside our children in fun and interactive activities focused on early mathematics, literacy, and science," explains Centre Manager Jane Dixon. "Children are taught to recognise their name and the sounds each letter makes, see the true value of a number, and develop concepts around science. We also visit the Primary School each term to support children's understanding of the classroom setting. They get to see aspects of the structure of the school day as well as the sheer size difference of a school compared to the preschool environment."
Meanwhile, our dedicated preschool teachers work alongside children to encourage their creativity, help them develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills, and foster their ability to "think outside the box".
"They challenge children's working theories and extend on these during daily inquiry times, encouraging students to become future innovators and creators of tomorrow's technology."
Inspired by the Reggio Emilia pedagogy, our learning programmes see children lead their learning with teachers working alongside them to extend, challenge and scaffold their working theories through planned investigation.
"We utilise the children's interest to build on the skills they need for school. We develop mathematic skills like measurement, understanding angles and weight distribution, and build on their linguistic skills through our conversation in play. In our group times, we weave in mathematical concepts (like subtraction and addition) and phonetic awareness. This allows children to see the value in numbers (rather than just counting) as well as the phonetical value in letters (rather than just recognising letters, they know the sounds), which allows them to use these to form words."
Following each child's unique abilities and trajectory means youngsters at ACG Parnell ELS develop a deep sense of curiosity and a love of learning.
"Our children learn how to ask questions that give them the answers they need; they also learn how to problem solve and adapt the skills they already have to fit other, different contexts. This builds on their confidence to learn new skills as well as leading the way for their peers in areas where they have key strengths."
This well-rounded approach, combined with an exceptional teaching team who participates in regular professional development, makes for a winning combination.
"Our teachers are our greatest asset," says Jane. "They set up an engaging environment that meets the needs of our learners, and the relationships they build with whānau enables them to get to know learners on a deeper level.
"There's no one-size-fits-all methodology to teaching and learning. Having strong relationships with each child and their family is the foundation to building a strong curriculum and individual learning plans for our community of learners."
It's also the secret to success as children take their first steps through the gates of ACG Parnell Primary School.