Quality Learning Occurs Both Inside and Outside the Classroom at Export Park
26th April 2017
Located right next to Adelaide Airport, Export Park Childcare Centre has been open since 1988 and a Guardian centre since 2005. With a lovely outdoor space, dedicated Outdoor Leader, language lessons and daily family breakfasts, this childcare centre in Adelaide is a wonderful place for families and a true part of the community.
Over the course of the centre has seen some beautiful staff come and go, however three of educators have been at Export Park for over 10 years. Daniel, their family and sports orientated funny man, Linda who loves to travel and can always be found singing in the Baby 2 room and Aki, their onsite Japanese tutor, known to the children as “Aki Hime” (Princess Aki) and baby whisperer.
Language lessons at Export Park
Every family wants their child to be well-rounded, to have a love for learning and an appreciation for other cultures, and to grow up to be a successful, contributing member of society. Export Park are lucky to have a multi-cultural staff base, including Aki who, as mentioned above, teaches the children Japanese.
“I am just so amazed about how the children absorb the new language so quickly and copy the pronunciation correctly. I definitely look forward to the class every week,” says Aki.
Export Park’s Assistant Manager, Laura Caskie notes, “Learning a foreign language opens doors that would not otherwise be opened. Bilingual (or trilingual) individuals have access to resources, people, places, and things that the rest of us do not. We as educators believe that not only does this expose our children to a variety of languages provides a competitive edge, but it assists our children to develop a deeper understanding of and appreciation for humanity and culture, which enriches their life and personal experiences in the world.”
Research shows that language learning is more cognitive than linguistic. Here are just a few of the cognitive benefits to learning a foreign language:
- The concept of “object permanence” develops at a younger age
- Better problem solving skills
- Better critical thinking skills
- Higher levels of creativity
- Better flexibility of mind
- Enhanced memory
- Better multi-tasking abilities
The benefits of outdoor experiences
The Early Years Learning Framework places strong emphasis on the importance and value of daily outdoor experiences for children’s learning and development. This is a main focus for Export Park who have recently had their entire outside yard redesigned complete with water pump, mud pit, loose parts area, dance stage and fire pit just to name a few.
Export Park also employ a fulltime Outdoor Leader who is responsible for creating and implementing a program to encapsulate the value of the learning in our outdoor environment. The Outdoor Leader as well as the educators understand that experiences for every sense are needed in the outdoor environment. For example, rough and smooth, objects to look at and feel, light and heavy things to pick up, water and wet materials as well as dry things, cool materials and materials warmed by the sun, soft and hard surfaces, smells of all varieties, shiny, bright objects and dull, dark ones, things both huge and tiny, high and low places to look at and from, and materials of different varieties.
When asked about the benefits of outdoor learning, Laura says, “Learning outside the classroom supports the development of healthy and active lifestyles by offering children opportunities for physical activity, freedom and movement, and promoting a sense of well-being.”
Laura goes on to say that this, “gives children contact with the natural world and offers them experiences that are unique to outdoors, such as direct contact with the weather and the seasons as well as helping children to understand and respect nature, the environment and the interdependence of humans, animals, plants, and lifecycles.”
Children under 12 months learn predominately through their sensory and physical experiences which support brain development and the creation of neural networks, as well as promoting early language development. With this knowledge, the babies at Export Park are encouraged to explore their outdoor environment as much as children in the older rooms.
The Outdoor Classroom supports the development of children creating a healthy and active lifestyle foundation by offering children opportunities for physical activity, freedom and movement, and promoting a sense of well-being. It also supports children’s problem-solving skills and nurtures their creativity, as well as providing rich opportunities for their developing imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness.
Starting the day with a family breakfast
As most of us know, children who do not eat a good breakfast tend to become tired and have shorter attention spans, especially late in the morning. By adding a healthy breakfast to children’s daily routines, children are more likely to get the vitamins and minerals they need to be alert, engaged and emotionally balanced for the day.
Laura says, “To help support our families in this area we provide breakfast for our children every day. By providing this additional extra, it also supports our families, reducing the number of tasks they are possibly challenged with in the morning. By reducing morning stress for our families and children, they have a greater chance of a happy separation hence a happier and more productive day for both parent and child.”
Excursions – fun and functional
Exploring the local community is another important part of the Export Park experience. Excursions give the children an opportunity to respond to diversity — in the people they see, as well as the environments in which they are immersed, as well as learning social skills that simply can’t be taught in the centre, about how to behave in different environments such as shopping centres, cafes, or libraries, as well as the critical importance of listening and following direction.
Some of Export Park’s recent incursions/excursions have included:
- Catching a bus to the Adelaide Central Market to buy morning tea
- Heidy Ho (a fortnightly music and dance class)
- Visiting the airport
- Soccer Coaching Clinic
- Old MacDonald’s Travelling Farm
- Ready Steady Dance
As the EYLF states, children ‘develop a strong sense of identity,’ are ‘connected to and contribute to their world’ and ‘become confident and involved learners by further developing their dispositions for learning such as curiosity, co-operation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity.’ Through both incursions and excursions children are given different scenarios to aid develop these foundations for life.
Learn more about Export Park Childcare Centre
Export Park is a childcare centre in Adelaide that provides high-quality learning supported by dedicated and welcoming educators. Having been rated as Exceeding in the National Quality Standard for Early Education and Care, children are in good hands at this wonderful centre.
Toni the Centre Manager is a busy mum of four children and has been in the industry for 24 years both in the UK and Australia. Toni has recently travelled to Italy as part of an International Study Tour to Reggio Emilia and plans to bring the philosophy into the everyday practice of educators at the service.
We look forward to your visit.
To find out more about Export Park and to book yourself in for a tour, head here.
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