Learning for life

Sarah education coordinator‘Education is not filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire’.

William Butler Yeats

No child learns in exactly the same way. That’s why they need the opportunity to realise their own unique learning style and to discover the joy that learning can bring. This is an understanding that we hold firmly and that is perfectly reflected in our dedicated ‘child-led’ approach.

Our team of experts

Our team of education experts have a wealth of experience and are constantly monitoring international best practice in education. They consistently strive to improve the quality of our programmes and to implement new and exciting educational initiatives. It is this commitment and proactive attitude that has placed us at the forefront of childcare in Ireland for the past twenty years.

Child-centred education

At Park Academy Childcare, children are encouraged to explore their environment and to choose their own activities, in a supervised environment with respectful boundaries. Through a mix of child led, guided and adult led activity, they will benefit from a comprehensive education programme that provides many opportunities for interaction. Children learn so much more through active participation and most importantly, they gain so much more enjoyment from learning in this way.We know that interest will always be the best teacher, so we facilitate self-directed learning, while using the curriculum as a guide. Every experience presents an opportunity for new learning and our team utilize these experiences to extend the children’s understanding. Through this approach, we ensure that learning is meaningful for a child and relevant to their life. By nurturing a child’s natural curiosity, we aim to ignite a passion for learning which they will carry with them throughout their life.

Educational influences

Our ethos has always been influenced by the methodologies of Regio Emilia and Montessori and our education programme continues to be based on these core philosophies. However, we have recently made adaptations to our approach, so as to reflect the new and exciting developments that have occurred in modern education. One example of this is our Montessori materials, which will no longer be restricted to a separate area or a specific time of the day. Instead these materials are being incorporated into different areas of interest in our rooms, such as the construction or home corner. Through this approach, children can make connections between the materials and their related real world skills and topics. As our world changes, so too must our education, in order for children to be prepared for the environment that they will be inhabiting. This is the sole purpose of education and a responsibility that we take very seriously.

Over the few years, we have also drawn great inspiration from the Scandinavian ethos of outdoor learning and this led to the establishment of our Nature Kindergarten – the very first of its kind in Ireland. Following the great success of this initiative, we have now redeveloped the outdoor education facilities in all of our centres and developed a dedicated outdoor education programme in Co. Wicklow. Read more about our outdoor education programme here.

Free play & Imagination

The Department of Education recently redefined their recommendations for early years education and these now stipulate a minimum of 1.5 hours of  free play per day. Park Academy fully adhere to this recommendation as we too understand the benefits that this type of freedom awards. Free play is essential for developing skills such as imagination and for enabling a child to follow their own natural learning instincts. We provide open ended materials in our rooms, and children are encouraged to use these in any way that they wish. By providing interesting opportunities for free play, we create a positive learning environment that gives children the space to explore and express themselves. This is just one example of how our education programme is evolving in line with international and national best practice.

The Aistear Curriculum

In addition to DES guidelines, we also adhere to the principles of Aistear and these underpin all of our early learning goals. Aistear is based on four key areas of development – well-being, communication, identity and belonging and exploring and thinking – and all learning activities are based around these.

At Park Academy Childcare, every child has their own personal Aistear book and this documents all of their activities and their progress to date. This way parents can have access to their child’s journey at crèche and can stay informed of their learning and achievements. The Aistear books also act as a record for our teams, so that they can monitor each child’s development and demonstrate how the Aistear goals are being fulfilled at every stage.

Skills for life

Life skills are an integral part of our education programme and our learning environment fosters this development in many ways. Whereas before, the focus has always been on getting children ‘school ready’, educators and parents are now realising the importance of children being ‘life ready’. As they get older, children will require core skills such as resilience, problem solving and teamwork and therefore they need the opportunity to develop and refine these skills. Our team find lots of ways to promote this development, whether that’s by facilitating group projects or simply encouraging independence through everyday tasks. Our goal is not just to provide children with knowledge, but to give them the tools they need to succeed in life.

But what does this mean in practical terms for your child?

• It means that we schedule at least one and a half hours of free play each day, in accordance with new DES (Department of Education) guidelines.
• It means real world learning, with child directed themes that are explored in a range of interactive ways.
• It means dedicated areas of interest so that children can explore their passions, engage in role play and develop a variety of important skills.
• It means weekly trips on one of our ‘Adventure buses’, that whenever possible are linked to current themes in the curriculum.
• It means that parents are actively encouraged to get involved in their child’s learning
• It means our team recording what your child is saying, feeling and doing how this fits into the Aistear framework.

We will then share this information this with you so you are continuously aware of your child’s development, interests & strengths.

But more than anything…it means fun. Learning while laughing, discovering while playing. Ensuring children can be children while also feeding their minds, rewarding their curiosity, sparking their wonderful imaginations. That, more than anything, is exactly what Park Academy aims to provide.

But don’t just take our word for it. We strongly recommend that you view your chosen centre so that you can meet our team and see for yourself the reason why were parents no.1 choice for care and education.

To arrange a viewing, or for more information call our enquiries team now on:

1890 273 243

Also don’t forget to check us out on Facebook!

We look forward to meeting you!

 

Recommended reading:

The Irish Times ‘Lessons for parents of pre-school children’ > http://bit.ly/2cG2kMI.

The Washington Post ‘The decline of play in preschoolers – and the rise in sensory issues > http://wapo.st/2egC2hq

The Guardian ‘We need fewer exams and more wilderness in education’ > http://bit.ly/2a7PIdM