The following is a copy of my own personal teaching philosophy that I crafted back in my teaching days, and these beliefs still guide the way I currently set up our home learning environment, play activities for my children and my day to day interactions with them as a homeschooling mum.
I believe that children LEARN through play.
Play is a context for learning that:
1) Allows for the expression of personality and uniqueness,
2) Enhances dispositions such as curiosity and creativity,
3) Enables children to develop relationships and concepts, and
4) Stimulates a sense of well-being
(Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace, 2009, p. 9)
I believe it is important to know the children I teach. Each child has unique strengths, preferred learning styles, varied prior learning experiences and knowledge that they bring with them into a childcare or education setting. Harnessing their individual strengths and learning styles helps them to develop positive attitudes about learning so they will emerge as confident and self-motivated learners.
I believe that all children explore and learn at their own pace and it is for us to make the learning process challenging (one that encourages children to take calculated risks and to stretch their limits), stimulating (one that actively encourages children to engage with all their senses) and vibrant for them.
Children learn well in an aesthetically pleasing environment and the presence of colour in the immediate surroundings and materials definitely contribute to an enhanced visual and emotive learning experience which benefits their development.
(MacNaughton and Williams, 2009)
I believe in the Reggio philosophy of the environment as the third teacher.
The environment is recognised for its potential to inspire children. An environment filled with natural light, order and beauty. Open spaces free from clutter, where every material is considered for its purpose, every corner is ever-evolving to encourage children to delve deeper and deeper into their interests.
The space encourages collaboration, communication and exploration. The space respects children as capable by providing them with authentic materials & tools. The space is cared for by the children and the adults.
(An excerpt from An Everyday Story)
I believe in being aware of and planning for children’s interests. Observing them at play, recognising their unasked questions and emerging interests and providing opportunities for them to explore those further. It involves introducing resources and learning experiences with the aim of stretching their current abilities into what they can potentially achieve developmentally. It should not be limited by what the child is perceived to be able to do, but instead allow them to encourage their emerging abilities.
I believe that children should be viewed as active participants in the co-construction of knowledge in the classroom with the ability to self-direct their learning. This includes being aware of spontaneous ‘teachable moments’ that stem from child-initiated ideas and activities and extending on their learning.