International German Swiss School

Our Philosophy

Children are competent, resourceful and capable of directing their learning. They act as co-constructors of knowledge and actively seek to make meaning of the world. Children have rights as protagonists in their own learning and rights as citizens of a global society. They are each unique individuals that deserve care and attention in focusing on their interests and strengths. Children’s ideas and actions help to drive the program in the form of topics for research, observation, documentation and interpretation.

Children have a desire to interact and communicate with others as a means of constructing their knowledge and formulating their ideas. They benefit from opportunities to express their thoughts as well as to listen to others point of view within authentic situations.

Children communicate using many different ‘languages’ as a means of representing their ideas and co-constructing their knowledge. Engaging children in the processes of discussion, representing ideas using graphic formation or using some form of symbolic language, such as the use of drawing materials, paint or clay provides opportunities for children to develop concepts further and to become involved in problem solving.

Providing children with a range of different media and materials and encouraging them to engage in their use in a guided way allows them to explore the materials and to develop their understandings about their world. The co-construction of knowledge does not come about by involving children in the use of stencils, rather involving children in response activities using media allows them to work in a creative and imaginative way where their problem-solving skills are also utilised. Opportunities to make mistakes and to experience conflict provide the basis for authentic growth. Children learn from opportunities to work together to try to solve problems or to work through situations where conflict has occurred.

The environment plays an important role in supporting the children’s investigations and acts as ‘third teacher’. The organisation of the preschool setting in relation to how it is arranged and the materials within provide children with opportunities to embark on constructing and co-constructing their ideas and knowledge further. The environment allows children to work both collectively in small groups and individually and allows children to make these choices in a self-directed way. Children learn a second language in authentic situations where they have opportunities to engage in listening to and using the language. They develop new vocabulary and sentence structures by having opportunities to engage with people that speak this language as their mother-tongue. Often this language acquisition is not observable to begin with, but after having adequate time and opportunities to interact using the language and in an environment where mistakes are encouraged, then children begin to take risks and utilise this second language in the preschool environment.

Children with special needs also have rights and the right to have these needs supported by everybody within the setting including the support of specialist services where necessary eg: Speech and language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Psychologists. Respecting diversity means valuing and reflecting the practices, values and beliefs of families. We honour the histories, cultures, languages, traditions, child rearing practices and lifestyle choices of families. We value children’s different capacities and abilities and respect differences in families’ home lives.

Children feel supported when their family is encouraged to become involved in their education and when parents are made to feel welcome and co-collaborators in decisions relating to them. Parents feel supported when they are well informed and listened to and when they have opportunities to meet with other parents and teachers in ways and times that foster real collaboration.

We aim to achieve this through:

Creating an environment where children are encouraged to take risks, to express their potential, abilities and curiosity. Providing a challenging program using both provocations and ideas that evolve as part of the collaborative process between the children, adults and the environment as well as curriculums from both Australia ( National Early Learning Framework) and Germany.

Encouraging children to realise their potential as partners in the leaning process and protagonists in developing new ideas and projects by involving them in the process of developing ideas for research, observation, documentation and interpretation. Interacting with children in respectful ways that encourage them to develop their concept of self, their identities, autonomy and security and to know that their identities and privacy are respected.

Allowing for opportunities for children to interact as part of a group, as well as for opportunities to work in an individual capacity. Evaluating the physical environment on a regular basis and making decisions about the arrangement and the materials within, in collaboration with the children, staff and families. Ensuring that the physical environment is not only safe and hygienic but that it challenges children to inquire into their world in real and authentic ways. Using situations where conflict has occurred as a learning opportunity by encouraging children to talk through or think about the situation and develop strategies and ideas as a means of encouraging problem solving.

Providing children with opportunities and materials to interact with their environment such as use of light and shadow, mirrors and projected images (such as using an OHP) provide many provocations and possibilities such as opportunities to investigate, explore, play and to make-meaning of the world as well as to explore a range of concepts in an integrated way (art, science, creativity, language use). Providing children with a range of interesting creative materials and media including a wide range of drawing implements, collage materials and paper products in varying shapes, weights, colours and textures, a variety of different types of paint, clay, wire. Ensuring that children have access to technology that can be used as a tool in enabling them to explore their world and extend their investigations and ideas further.

Respecting the diversity of families and communities, and the aspirations they hold for children and in doing so foster children’s motivation to learn and reinforce their sense of themselves as competent learners. This involves making curriculum decisions that uphold all children’s rights to have their cultures, identities, abilities and strengths acknowledged and valued, and respond to the complexity of children’s and families’ lives. Encouraging the development of a second language (German or English) by providing opportunities to interact with native language speakers where models of the language can be heard in an environment where risk taking is encouraged. Encouraging families to become involved in the processes involved in various different parts of the preschool from project work to co-contributing to children’s individual portfolios. Providing opportunities for parents to meet other parents and teachers in ways and times that meet their needs.

Providing opportunities for staff to become involved in training and through collaborating both on a daily basis and in formal staff meetings. Referring children with special needs to appropriate services in consultation with parents. Wherever specialist assistance is then utilised, then conferring with specialists in order to support child with special needs further.