At St Mark’s Northbridge Preschool (SMNP) we aim to provide a safe and warm environment for all children delivering a play-based and sound educational program. We seek the development of each child in social, emotional, physical, cognitive, linguistic and creative skill. We are a not-for-profit preschool where the interests of children and families are the first priority. We are committed to a strong Christian influence in the preschool in terms of programmed biblical content, ethical governance, and care for both staff and children.
Our vision at SMNP is to create a supportive and collaborative culture within a nurturing environment. Through our interactions with children and families we endeavour to inspire intellectual engagement and creativity thus fostering capable, confident and caring individuals who are respectful and value their own and others’ uniqueness. We embrace the Early Years Learning Framework and ensure that “all children have the best start in life to create a better future for themselves and for the nation.” (Belonging, Being and Becoming- The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia, 2009)
SMNP for Children
At SMNP we believe that children have a natural curiosity and a passion to explore the exciting world in which they live. We encourage children to think critically and to be advocates for others and themselves. We promote values that support children in becoming active contributors and participants in our global society.
Central to our values at SMNP is the ‘image of the child’ as full of potential, competent and capable. Our pedagogical approach is underpinned by theorists Loris Malaguzzi, Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky. Having been influenced by these theorists, our role as educators has evolved from instructors to co-researchers, co-constructing and researching knowledge together with children and families.
Embracing Loris Malaguzzi’s belief that children are ‘knowledge bearers’, children are encouraged to share their thoughts, ideas and interests. Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development has influenced how we support children in their transition to school. We believe strongly in play-based learning and the importance of providing opportunities for exploration and play with concrete materials. Our two year program is supported by Lev Vygotsky’s belief in the importance of relationships. Participation is central to collaborative learning and scaffolding is used as an educational tool to broaden children’s knowledge.
At SMNP we recognise children as resourceful, competent, curious and capable learners. We value the voices of children and this is evident through our documentation and daily routines. We believe that children flourish when they, their families, and educators hold high expectations for them because we have a high view of their capabilities as learners. All curriculum decisions are made to promote the inclusion and participation of all children.
SMNP for Families and Community
At SMNP we endeavour to provide all families the opportunity to actively play a role in the success of our preschool. Families are encouraged to participate in our preschool formally through the Management Committee, Fund Raising Committee and as class parents. They are also invited to contribute their skills and interests informally in their child’s class at any time.
Educators acknowledge parents and caregivers as partners in their child’s education. We strive to ensure families feel at ease in discussing matters concerning their child at any mutually convenient time. We endeavour to support families from all cultures, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds and through this help build strong partnerships within our community.
We strive to be a community that is embedded in sustainable practices, encouraging children and families to be respectful of the environment and God’s creation.
We acknowledge and respect the Cammeraygal People who are the traditional owners of this land that SMNP stands upon.
SMNP for Staff
Through intentional and spontaneous teaching moments we aim to provide provocations and possibilities to encourage all children to be actively involved in their own learning. Dialogue between educators and children is a pedagogical process in which new ways of thinking are encouraged. As educators we will listen to children, encouraging challenging questions to engage them in the joy of learning and research.
Through reflective practice, we as educators gather information that supports children’s developmental learning. “Reflective practice also allows staff, both individually and collaboratively, to improve professional knowledge and learning practices. It highlights areas where further training and professional development can be undertaken.” (Belonging, Being and Becoming- The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia, 2009)
“Learning and teaching should not stand on opposite banks and just watch the river flow by; instead, they should embark together on a journey down the water. Through an active, reciprocal exchange, teaching can strengthen learning how to learn.” (Loris Malaguzzi, ‘The Hundred Languages of Children’)