The ELC Preschool & Kindergarten
ELC Program Overview
Each 3-5-year-old child enters the NIS Early Learning Center (ELC) at an important and exciting stage of personal development. It is a time when children are becoming more independent and nurturing their natural, creative enthusiasm for learning while rapidly developing skills in many areas, including social relationships, communication, literacy, numeracy, and fine and gross motor skills.
In addition to following the IB PYP curriculum, the ELC is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach. This approach to early years education values the experiences, interests and potential of each child and empowers them to be active participants in their learning. It encourages them to co-construct new knowledge and understanding with their peers and teachers. In the ELC we use the Reggio Emilia approach to inspire the way we work with children and to support the implementation of the IB PYP curriculum.
The Importance of Play
Play is valued in the ELC as the most important way in which young children learn about themselves and the world around them. Through play, children learn how to solve problems, think critically, develop and test theories, communicate effectively, become independent and much, much more.
In the ELC we dedicate time to uninterrupted play which allows children to explore and interact with the school environment and a diverse range of materials. During much of the day children from both Preschool and Kindergarten can play and work together. This mixing of age groups encourages children to adapt their strategies to accommodate a variety of people with different motivations, abilities and opinions. It also encourages the children to become experts, sharing their knowledge and ways of working.
Terminology: Child/Children vs Student/s
In line with the inspiration we take from the Reggio Emilia approach, the ELC chooses to use the terms “child” and “children” rather than “student” and “students”. This deliberate choice in word usage aligns with our Image of the Child, which sets out our beliefs about each child.
The language we choose to use when describing children, not only highlights our beliefs but also impacts our thinking. We believe in children being full citizens and participants in society. However, due to both biological and social factors children are always, in some way, under the power of adults. Though this is not something that can change, we seek to empower children to be more equal and active participants in their learning, the life of the school, their community and the wider world. We take inspiration from the educators in Reggio Emilia, who continue to develop ways of ensuring children’s voices are heard in and beyond school.
Children are, of course, students but they are also teachers, researchers, inquirers, experts and have many other aspects to their identity. We feel that using only the word “student” to describe each child limits the many other parts of their identities and minimizes their capacity to demonstrate all that they are and all of their potential.