Education at Fahan can start from as young as three years of age with entry into the Fahan School Pre-Kinder program. The newly upgraded Fahan Early Learning Centre offers students, from Pre-Kinder to Year 2 tranquil gardens and a safe haven in which to experience their first years in institutional education. The Reggio Emilia educational philosophy underpins the learning program in the Early Learning Centre. This philosophy supports thinking, questioning and discussion between students and teachers and encourages children to feel proud of their achievements and to be excited about learning.
At Fahan School we have always appreciated that each child is unique and our class sizes ensure that each child’s learning style is catered for. There is a strong emphasis on English and Mathematics and, while a range of teaching methods is used to cater for individual learning styles, phonics is central to the English Program.
A Kitchen Garden is one of our unique facilities in the Early Learning Centre, instilling in the children a sense of responsibility for the environment, as well as teaching them the values of good nutrition and a healthy regard for animals through various animal programs. Children plant, grow, harvest, cook and eat the vegetables from the Kitchen Garden.
Children in the Early Learning Centre also have the opportunity to enjoy diverse programs including tennis, dance, music, physical education and specialist art. An Early Learning artist-in-residence works closely with teachers and students, investigating and supporting projects in the classroom through art. From a child’s first days at Fahan, they are encouraged to feel confident at school; to develop a sense of ownership of their learning and achievements; to become involved in environmental sustainability and to gain a passion for learning that is vital to their success in later school life.
Early Learning Centre Artist-In-Residence
For the students in Pre-Kinder to Year 2 at Fahan, Art is seen as a language, a voice and mode of expression that comes naturally to young children. At Fahan School, an Early Learning art specialist works together with the children and teachers, investigating and supporting, through art, projects occurring in the classroom. The children are thus encouraged to express their thoughts and ideas and to take their investigations to a deeper level. For instance the comment “I can’t explain what I mean so I will draw it to show you, Mrs Stephen,” was made by a Prep student who wanted to explain to her teacher what she knew about the reason for the differing lengths of shadows at a certain time of the day.
Using the Reggio Emilia approach, teachers and children work with a professional artist in small groups, often in a dedicated studio, on projects that directly relate to their classroom learning.
Students are introduced to the work of famous, and not so famous, artists whose vision of the world is relevant to the children’s enquiry. The children are encouraged to talk and write about their art and to discover that line, form, shape, colour and tone can have powerful meanings. The Early Learning art program gives children the confidence to express ideas through a variety of media, which will equip them in a world where the exchange of information and the speed of communication often rely on a diversity of creative expression.
The best methodology for early childhood teaching, the Reggio Emilia philosophy, is central to the curriculum for children in Kindergarten to Year 2. Developed in Italy and embraced by leading educational institutions worldwide, the Reggio Emilia philosophy encourages thinking, questioning, discussing and learning with excitement and purpose.
The Octagon environment is one where children learn by doing. Students collaborate with teachers and peers on group investigations and projects that the children themselves help to determine. Topics of investigation are often derived from the teachers’ observations of what interests the children. These are teacher-directed, child-initiated projects and because the children have such a strong sense of ownership and purpose, they are engaged and highly motivated to learn.
There is a strong emphasis on Mathematics and English. Both areas of the curriculum are often taught within the context of a current classroom topic of inquiry.
This philosophy celebrates the natural curiosity of children and fosters a life-long love of learning as they progress through their schooling and on to adult life.