Written by Daphne Gaddie, Head of Early Learning Centre (ELC)

“Connecting the brain to the rest of the body: early childhood development and lifelong health are deeply intertwined.”

This is a statement from the publication titled ‘Centre on The Developing Child – Harvard University’, which goes on to say that “adult-child relationships, other early experiences, and environmental exposures influence child well-being. An increasing number of policies and programs around the world now reflect that understanding by supporting children’s early learning and nutrition to improve their readiness to succeed in school. As scientific knowledge continues to grow, we also know more clearly than ever how the conditions and environments in which children develop affect lifelong health as well as educational achievement.”

This is a responsibility that is felt deeply by all those in early childhood education.

The Early Years Learning Framework recognises that children’s learning is dynamic, complex, and holistic. Physical, social, emotional, personal, spiritual, creative, cognitive and linguistic aspects of learning are all intricately interwoven and interrelated.

Malaguzzi (Reggio Emilia) knew that education is among the most precious rights of all children, a common good-but not just any education-it has to be an education based on relationships; an education that at its very essence gives value to every child’s right to be respected and valued as a unique individual.

Bialik is unique in that it has children from the ages of 3 months to 18 years on one campus. We have sustained focussed leadership and accountability. Together with its sports centre, it is a hub that supports a community.
The kitchen in the Early Learning Centre (ELC) provides nutritious food to creche and kinder children and the Shuk provides food to all the other children and staff and has offered prepared meals to the wider community during the Covid-19 lockdown; all catering to our health and wellbeing.

Our team of psychologists, counsellors and all other well trained ancillary professionals work with children and adults supporting all members of our community.

2020 has been a challenging year globally and in Melbourne we have experienced a very long period of lockdown. As our teams of teachers prepared for online digital teaching, they continued to collaborate and explore ways to connect with children and families and to provide rich learning for the children.

Each year the ELC produces a journal “Windows into Children’s Thinking” and it is supported by an exhibition; a display of documentation of children’s learning throughout the year. These are based always on an overarching big idea and in 2020 this was “Crossing Boundaries.” This year the exhibition will not go ahead, however the journal is in its final stages before printing. It will focus not just on children’s learning but also on the reflections of teachers during this very challenging time.

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