Lifelong Learning Instilled in Our ELC Students

By Emily Trenchard, St Leonard’s College Head of Early Learning Centre

In the intricate tapestry of a child’s early years, there exists a thread that weaves the very essence of learning, growth and inspiration. This thread is none other than the remarkable teachers who stand as beacons of guidance and unwavering commitment in our St Leonard’s College Early Learning Centre (ELC). The dedicated team in the ELC not only inspire, nurture and guide our young learners, but also embody the spirit of continuous growth and learning themselves.

Our ELC educators draw inspiration from the Reggio Emilia educational project, recognising the child as a capable and curious individual. By embracing ongoing observations and documentation, along with the role of the learning environment, our teachers channel their passion into creating a space where every child’s unique potential is acknowledged and celebrated.“What is unique about human learning is it’s dedications to possibility. When we human beings learn, the act of learning carries us beyond what we have encountered and propels us into the realm of the possible. The human learning process is not simply about acquiring knowledge about what we have encountered. It is dedicated to “going beyond the information given.” There is no other species on the face of the earth so dedicated to the pursuit of the possible” (Jerome Bruner, NYU).  

Each day at our ELC unfolds as a harmonious symphony, where teachers act as co-constructors, orchestrating a delicate balance between inspiration and nurturing, learning alongside the children. The educators foster a sense of wonder and curiosity, encouraging children to explore, question, and discover the world around them. The genuine care and dedication our teachers demonstrate, creates a safe and supportive atmosphere where every child feels seen, heard, and valued. We have a very strong and rich image of the child in the ELC. Children have the right to be recognised as subjects of individual, legal, civil, and social rights; as constructors of their own experience, and thus active participants in in the world around them. Through both small and large group experiences, the children in the ELC discuss, express, debate, theorise, reflect upon and investigate their thoughts and ideas alongside their teachers. The children’s voice is respected and through interactions with their peers, teachers and environment, their knowledge and understanding flourishes.

A distinctive quality of our teachers is their commitment to lifelong learning. This reciprocal learning dynamic fosters a culture of continuous improvement and ensures that our teachers remain the best versions of themselves, always evolving to meet the changing needs of the children and the ever-evolving landscape of education. This has been evident in many ways, one being our commitment to authentically embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into our provocations. All teachers across the College are encouraged to work in an Innovative Learning Community to assess current practice alongside research from world best-practice. The ELC team enthusiastically launched into this College wide initiative, building their skills and understanding, and as such, were able to share these learnings with the children and families.

Reflecting on the above, it is clear that life within the ELC is full of wonder and possibilities, with a large part of that being thanks to the incredible teaching team.