NEXT OPEN DAY
Children are in a constant state of growth, moving through a sequence of crucial, short-lived developmental stages on their path to adulthood. Psychologists believe that each learning stage is not only linked to a particular part of the brain, but is necessary to build future stages. Similar to building a house, these stages follow a defined order, from physical (foundations) through emotional (floor), mental (walls and windows) and on to intuitive abilities (upper story and roof).
Missing development stages when they arise, limits the child’s opportunity to develop future stages. Providing difficult environments or forcing children to learn things for which their minds are not ready is even more detrimental. Not only is their natural development repressed, but negative beliefs and unhelpful behaviour patterns are hardwired into their minds as they experience frustration, failure and helplessness.
5-6 years old (year 1 & 2)
At this stage of development, children are heavily engaged with development of their emotional life. They are nearing the end of their most concentrated period of physical development, and are launching into the development of their creative abilities. Here, as at all ages, children need to feel loved for who they naturally are so they can relax and give full attention to their learning. When they feel unsafe (physically and emotionally) only part of their mind is available for learning while the rest is guarding and defending the child against what might happen.
In our 5-6 year old class, emotional awareness is a strong focus. Students learn how to notice, name and express their feelings and grow their social skills amongst their peers. Through a variety of physical activities, they hone their fine motor skills and develop a strong awareness of their senses through artistic and outside activities. As this is a crucial time for the development of children’s creative abilities, their ideas and interests are often followed and creative expression is encouraged. Because logical brain development starts later and because at this age children are naturally immersed in the present moment, reading, writing and maths are engaged with in a playful way.
7-8 years old (year 3 & 4)
This is typically the age when the rational/logical centre in the brain begins its concentrated development phase. This part of the brain defines our individual separateness. Not surprisingly, at this age girls and boys tend to divide socially. This is a period of exploring/observing and discovering/explaining - when lifelong beliefs and subsequent behaviours emerge in response to their experiences. Sensitivity to each child’s emotional needs and creative development are important for a balanced development.
In our 7-8 year old class, all students engage in reading, writing and maths, through an approach that is personalised to fit their own pace and style of learning and involves a variety of practical activities to maximise engagement. Creativity is fostered and students often take on major ‘construction projects’. Emphasis is placed on learning to accept each other's differences while also learning to be together as a group. They are asked to take more responsibility for the decisions they make and how these impact on others in the class.
9-10 years old (year 5 & 6)
This is typically a consolidation period for children. They are still in the middle of their creative development phase, and now nature now shifts its focus from emotional development to the further opening of their rational/logical abilities.
Reading, writing and maths is a strong focus in our 9-10 year old students. Students regularly meet with their educator to review their learning pathway. Projects, selected by students and guided by educators, are an important factor in growing their creativity and self expression. Students are guided to learn team skills and leadership skills and are encouraged to grow through personal and group challenges. Social responsibility is fostered through encouragement to consider their actions and their influence on others from what feels right in their hearts and minds..