It takes a whole village to raise a child
Our Early Years Franchise believes strongly in integrating and drawing from a number of key principles:
– A Learning Village Mission and Values
– Reggio Emilia
– Play Based Learning
– Multi-Sensory Approaches
Rationale for GSE’s Early Learning Franchise is a Village Mission and Values
“It takes a whole village to raise a child.”
This Igbo and Yoruba (Nigeria) proverb exists in different forms in many African languages. The basic meaning is that child upbringing is a communal effort. The responsibility for raising a child is shared with the larger family (sometimes called the extended family). Everyone in the family participates especially the older children, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and even cousins. It is not unusual for African children to stay for long periods with their grandparents or aunts or uncles. Even the wider community gets involved such as neighbours and friends. Children are considered a blessing from God for the whole community. This communal responsibility in raising children is also seen in the Sukuma (Tanzania) proverb “One knee does not bring up a child” and in the Swahili (East and Central Africa) proverb “One hand does not nurse a child.”
An extension of this is an environment that is rich in resources. A village can provide access to a wide range of resources and learning opportunities.
Learning Village Values in an Early Years Franchise
- We believe that learning is accelerated when children have access to a range of multi sensory experiences
- We believe every child has the ability to make independent choices that increase their engagement and rate of learning
- We believe every child should feel a strong sense of well-being
- We believe that the environment is the ‘third teacher’ and therefore it is essential that we set up our physical spaces in a manner that encourages engagement and exploration
- We believe in building relationships with families and encouraging a high degree of involvement and participation
- We believe that children need to develop a sense of international-mindedness by understanding and appreciating global diversity
- We believe the early years are the foundation years and by providing meaningful learning experiences we can cultivate a love of learning
- We believe that children can stretch and achieve advanced academic milestones
- We believe that learning is ongoing and we constantly seek to develop our own knowledge and thereby offer richer experiences to the children in our care
“Teachers in our school believe in the importance of challenging children to think for themselves, using uncertainty and discovery as a springboard for learning. By introducing a level of chaos and disorder, teachers encourage children to construct their own approaches to problem-solving, to devise new ways of overcoming obstacles to learning. This teaching strategy involves allowing mistakes to happen, or beginning a project with no clear sense of where it might end. A task is complete when it is evident that mastery of one or more key benchmarks is achieved.”
The Reggio Emilia approach is an educational philosophy focused on preschool and primary education. It is a pedagogy described as student-centered and constructivist that utilizes self-directed, experiential learning in relationship-driven environments. The program is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery through a self-guided curriculum.
The Reggio Emilia philosophy is based upon the following set of principles:
• Children must have some control over the direction of their learning;
• Children must be able to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, and observing;
• Children have a relationship with other children and with material items in the world that they must be allowed to explore;
• Children must have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves.
Documentation (Assessment) in an Early Years Franchise
Using a variety of media, teachers give careful attention to the documentation and presentation of the thinking of the students. Rather than following standardized assessments, the teacher inquires and listens closely to the children. An example of documentation might be a book or panel with the student’s words, drawings, and photographs. By making learning visible, the student’s thinking and feeling can be studied while the documentation serves to help with evaluation of the educators’ work and refinement of the curriculum. It provides parents information regarding their child’s learning experience while creating an archive from with progress can be evaluated. A GSE Early Years Franchise delivers quality.
The Environment in an Early Years Franchise
Reggio believes the physical environment to be of fundamental importance to the early childhood program; he referred to it as the “third teacher”, alongside adults and other students. Static One of the aims in the design of new spaces – and the redesign of existing ones – is integration of the classroom space with the surrounding environment: the rest of the school, and community the school is a part of. The importance of the environment lies in the belief that children can best create meaning and make sense of their world through environments which support “complex, varied, sustained, and changing relationships between people, the world of experience, ideas and the many ways of expressing ideas.”
Physically, the preschools generally incorporate natural light and indoor plants. Classrooms open to a center piazza, kitchens are open to view, and access to the outside and surrounding community is provided through courtyards, large windows, and exterior doors in each classroom. Entries capture the attention of both children and adults through the use of mirrors (on the walls, floors, and ceilings), photographs, and children’s work accompanied by transcriptions of their discussions. These same features characterize classroom interiors, where displays of project work are interspersed with arrays of found objects and classroom materials. In each case, the environment informs and engages the viewer.
Other supportive elements of the environment include ample space for supplies, frequently rearranged to draw attention to their aesthetic features. In each classroom there are studio spaces in the form of a large, centrally located atelier and a smaller mini-atelier, and clearly designated spaces for large- and small-group activities. Throughout the school, there is an effort to create opportunities for children to interact. The single dress-up area is in the center piazza; classrooms are connected with telephones, passageways or windows; and lunchrooms and bathrooms are designed to encourage community.
4 Reggio Teachers:
- The Classroom Teacher
- The Child
- The Parent
- The Environment
Play Based Learning in an Early Years Franchise
Research on brain development has proven that play shapes the structural design of the brain. We know that when we create environments that stimulate and encourage exploration of ideas and activities it assists in building and strengthening brain pathways. Play creates a brain that has increased flexibility, adaptability and it improves student potential for learning later in life.
We know that children are pre-wired to learn. It is a natural process that happens at varying rates when children are given the opportunities to do so. When learning is pleasurable, like play, then learning is accelerated.
Play will sometimes include challenges, frustrations, fears, risks and conflicts but all of these simulate real life and create contexts for learning. Early childhood teachers are often heard saying “what if” and this is a quality of play that when fostered can encourage children to stretch their imagination and activities into new areas.
We encourage children to be physical and verbal. We encourage them to think and engage with materials, people, ideas and an environment that stimulates these essential areas.
Young children’s play allows them to explore, identify, negotiate, take risks and create meaning. Children who play develop memory, language skills, and are able to adjust and modify their behaviour. It leads to an acceleration of learning in both academic contexts as well as social and personal development contexts. A GSE Early Years Franchise is best practice.
Multi-Sensory Approach in an Early Years Franchise
How the Brain and Multi-Sensory Learning Works
We know that the brain stores information both as short-term and long-term memory but it also has other methods.
Our five senses assemble and sort our impressions of the outside world. All of these impressions are sorted and updated as mental representations. Some of this process is very conscious and we examine them directly while others may get little attention. Nonetheless, they are all very important for our thought processes and our ability to carry out the simplest actions. These mental representations are the data on which we base all our thoughts, ideas, and thinking processes for acquiring knowledge and understanding.
Think about our own memories:
- A fresh cut grass can include memory and knowledge that includes:
- The sound of a lawn mower
- The sight of beautiful manicured lawn
- The feeling of soft fresh lawn when we lie on it or touch it
Memories of the person who cut the grass, his personality, look even his emotions, tired face or the sweat on his/her brow
- The type of mower, its power, the type of motor, its fuel and operation
- The time it takes to cut it and the speed that grass grows
- The biology of how grass grows
If we use just one sense, eg. sight, we limit our brains ability to process, store, recall and apply knowledge.
Phonics is a very popular method and early step used to help children acquire knowledge but multi-sensory approaches can accelerate language acquisition as well as many other areas of learning by increasing relevant connections of and between different knowledge and concepts. An Early Years Franchise accelerates learning.
Teaching Using a Multi-Sensory Approach in a GSE Early Years Franchise
The goal is for all learning to be explored, as much as possible, through the VAKOG approach.
This means that topics are explored as much as possible using a wide range of senses.
Using our five senses strengthens our everyday experiences. It helps us understand the world around us.
• What noises did you hear?
• What is it you saw?
• What did it smell like?
• Did you like the taste?
• How did it feel?
Reading Philosophy in a GSE Early Years Franchise
Multisensory teaching helps children pick up reading skills. Here are some ideas for multisensory teaching and reading:
• Making play dough models of alphabets
• Making letters on sand
• Teaching vocabulary during an activity instead of from books alone
• Reading a book with headphones and a tape where the story is being read.
• Running a finger over alphabets and saying them loud to learn them
• Drawing alphabets on the skin with a finger
• Writing words on sand
Early Math in a GSE Early Years Franchise
Math concepts are learned best through multi sensory techniques:
• Gluing the right number of objects on the card according to the number written on it.
• Sorting games and activities.
• Puzzles to learn shapes.
• Joining two triangles to form a bigger triangle, and two squares to form a rectangle.
• Learning addition and subtraction by writing numbers on stairs and jumping up or down according to what needs to be added or subtracted.
Outdoor Play in a GSE Early Years Franchise
It is through unstructured, open-ended creative play that children learn the ways of the world. While playing outside, children explore with all their senses, they witness new life, they create imaginary worlds and they negotiate with each other to create a playful environment.
1. Outdoor play is a multi-sensory activity.While outdoors, children will see, hear, smell and touch things unavailable to them when they play inside. They use their brains in unique ways as they come to understand these new stimuli.
2. Playing outside brings together informal play and formal learning. Children can incorporate concepts they have learned at school in a hands-on way while outdoors. For example, seeing and touching the roots of a tree will bring to life the lesson their teacher taught about how plants get their nutrients.
3. Playing outdoors stimulates creativity. Robin Moore, an expert in the design of play and learning environments, says, “Natural spaces and materials stimulate children’s limitless imagination and serve as the medium of inventiveness and creativity.” Rocks, stones and dirt present limitless opportunities for play that can be expressed differently every time a child steps outside.
4. Playing outdoors is open-ended. There is no instruction manual for outdoor play. Children make the rules and in doing so use their imagination, creativity, intelligence and negotiation skills in a unique way.
5. Playing in nature reduces anxiety. Time spent outside physiologically reduces anxiety. Children bring an open mind and a more relaxed outlook back inside when they are in more traditional learning environments.
6. Outdoor play increases attention span. Time spent in unstructured play outdoors is a natural attention builder. Often children who have difficulty with pen and paper tasks or sitting still for long periods of times are significantly more successful after time spent outside.
7. Outdoor play is imaginative. Because there are no labels, no pre-conceived ideas and no rules, children must create the world around them. In this type of play, children use their imagination in ways they don’t when playing inside.
8. Being in nature develops respect for other living things. Children develop empathy, the ability to consider other people’s feeling, by interacting with creatures in nature. Watching a tiny bug, a blue bird or a squirrel scurrying up a tree gives children the ability to learn and grow from others.
9. Outdoor play promotes problem solving. As children navigate a world in which they make the rules, they must learn to understand what works and what doesn’t, what lines of thinking bring success and failure, how to know when to keep trying and when to stop.
10. Playing outside promotes leadership skills. In an environment where children create the fun, natural leaders will arise. One child may excel at explaining how to play the game, while another may enjoy setting up the physical challenge of an outdoor obstacle course. All types of leadership skills are needed and encouraged.
11. Outdoor play widens vocabulary. While playing outdoors, children may see an acorn, a chipmunk and cumulous clouds. As they encounter new things, their vocabulary will expand in ways it never could indoors.
12. Playing outside improves listening skills. As children negotiate the rules of an invented game, they must listen closely to one another, ask questions for clarification and attend to the details of explanations in ways they don’t have to when playing familiar games.
13. Being in nature improves communication skills. Unclear about the rules in an invented game? Not sure how to climb the tree or create the fairy house? Children must learn to question and clarify for understanding while simultaneously making themselves understood.
14. Outdoor play encourages cooperative play. In a setting where there aren’t clear winners and losers, children work together to meet a goal. Perhaps they complete a self-made obstacle course or create a house for a chipmunk. Together they compromise and work together to meet a desired outcome.
15. Time in nature helps children to notice patterns. The natural world is full of patterns. The petals on flowers, the veins of a leaf, the bark on a tree are all patterns. Pattern building is a crucial early math skill.
16. Playing outdoors helps children to notice similarities and differences. The ability to sort items and notice the similarities and differences in them is yet another skill crucial to mathematical success. Time outdoors affords many opportunities for sorting.
17. Time spent outdoors improves children’s immune systems. Healthy children are stronger learners. As children spend more and more time outdoors, their immune systems improve, decreasing time out of school for illness.
18. Outdoor play increases children’s physical activity level. Children who play outdoors are less likely to be obese and more likely to be active learners. Children who move and play when out of school are ready for the attention often needed for classroom learning.
19. Time spent outdoors increases persistence. Outdoor games often require persistence. Children must try and try again if their experiment fails. If the branch doesn’t reach all the way across the stream or the bark doesn’t cover their fairy house, they must keep trying until they are successful.
20. Outdoor play is fun. Children who are happy are successful learners. Children are naturally happy when they are moving, playing and creating outside. This joy opens them up for experimenting, learning and growing.
Sample Lesson from a GSE Early Years Franchise:
MULTI-SENSORY LESSON – GOING ON A TRIP
To incorporate all five senses (and many subjects) at once, tell your class to prepare for an in-school field trip. Decide whether you are going around the U.S. or around the world. (For this example, we’ll say we’re going around the U.S.) Figure out how many days you will be on the trip and make sure to send a letter home to the parents to let them know about the lesson.
• VISUAL (sight) – Use a large map to determine where you will drive. Try states like Arizona, Louisiana, Florida, Maine, and your home state. Consider dividing your class into teams and handing each team a section of the map. Have them decide what roads they will take to get there. You can even ask them to determine how far away the states are and how long it will take to get there. (Geography and math, check!)
• KINESTHETIC (fine or gross body movement) – On the day of the big trip, set up your chairs like a school bus. Have your students bounce up and down to mimic the feel of motion. As the bus driver, you can call out quick stops, tight turns, and a very bumpy road. Take turns and let your students play the bus driver, too.
• AUDITORY (hearing) – When you arrive in your first state (for example, Louisiana), set up your class CD player or iPod with authentic Cajun music or some jazz. Find music that is unique to your region to help set the mood. You could even incorporate rhythm instruments and have your student try to match the feel of the music. (Depending on the type of music, you can also tie in another kinesthetic activity – dancing!)
• TACTILE (touch) – Announce to your students that they are going to make a local dish so they can understand the culture of the region. Search online for age-appropriate recipes and break your kids into groups. Have them read the recipe together and start to prepare it. (Here is a wonderful opportunity to review fractions.) Talk about how to check the produce to see if it’s too ripe. Exercise caution with your students and teach them proper knife techniques.
• OLFACTORY (smell) – As the students are preparing their dishes, have them smell their recipe to determine flavors. Create sample spice jars and have them smell and taste each individual spice. Without consulting the recipe, let them decide what they think will work best.
• GUSTATORY (taste) – This is the best part of cooking – taste the food! Encourage your students to cut off a small piece of the food and sample it as they go. (Remember to wash your hands!) By tasting the food as they go, the students will get a better sense of what the whole meal will taste like. When the dish is done, have them try it and describe the texture and the flavors. Do they like it? Why or why not? Have your students pretend they are food critics and review their dish and their neighbors’ dishes, too.
GSE’s Early Years Franchise – Unique Approach to Framing Play and Multi-Sensory Learning
We approach planning by exploring all content through the following 8 frames:
This innovative approach helps teachers and children get the most out of fun and play!
Contact us now about the GSE Early Years Franchise and we will provide a comprehensive proposal to match your exact requirements