Early Learning in Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle acknowledges current research and best practice in the field, which respects the rights, capabilities, interests and needs of the Early Learner to achieve success and build the successful foundations to flourish in their learning and wellbeing. The Early Learner is a school context is the child transitioning into Kindergarten and the child in the school years of Kindergarten, Year One and Year Two.
Our schools have beautiful indoor and outdoor environments that invite, enable and enrich learning and support environmental sustainability. Our priority is to create an environment of safety and belonging where each child is known and valued as an individual member of the school community with their own sense of worth and identity.
Catholic schools recognise the importance of the transition from home and prior to school settings to school and transitions across the early years of school.
The Successful Foundations Action Research Project was designed to strengthen the process of transition to school in the first five weeks of Kindergarten utilising a strengths-based approach which supports the child’s active engagement in play. After starting in 2019 Successful Foundations continues to grow and evolve with all schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle being a part of the project in 2022.
Successful Foundations continues to develop innovative ways of communicating with families, highlighting the importance of play for learning and wellbeing as well as child development and neuroscience. The creativity, curiosity, wonderings, reflections and discoveries of children raise the image of the child and celebrate their many capabilities and strengths.
As Successful Foundations evolves, practices such as Play Reflection through Play Sharing and Play Stories have become more sophisticated. Play Reflections creates a climate of thinking, documenting, exploring and also support meta cognition.
Early Learning practices are instrumental in supporting school communities. This walks hand in hand with our Catholic faith, our commitment to re-imagining childhood and our understanding of transition to school as a time of establishing connections and relationships to eventually develop a sense of belonging for each child and the child’s family.