The Federation Approach to Learning
Responding to Process
Lev Vygotsky, the Russian developmental psychologists said,
“It must not be forgotten that the basic law of children's creativity is that its value lies not in its results, not in the product of creation, but in the process itself. It is not important what children create, but that they do create, that they exercise and implement their creative imagination.”
We understand that for parents and care givers knowing that their child is in an environment they love and with educators they trust, is essential. Our approach to teaching and learning is rigorous, thoughtful, intelligent and requires highly skilled early years specialists to deliver it. Our 'gentle' approach to learning in essence leads to much deeper learning and relies upon our educator’s almost intuitive response to each child, valuing the whole child and nurturing learning.
Our pedagogy has been influenced by the innovative and inspiring Reggio Emilia approach as well as the collective knowledge and understanding of our educators past and present. We believe that learning and development can only begin when a child feels safe and when they are immersed in an environment that nurtures respect. We believe that children need love and they need to play in order to develop the skills they need to grow, develop and flourish.
When children are at the very beginning of their learning journey, they are learning skills through their play. We recognise that a child who is concentrating and absorbed in the process of engaging with their environment, whatever that may be, is learning. It could be a child at sand repeatedly filling and emptying a container or a child watching paint drip from a brush or a child making marks and then ‘reading’ their ‘writing.’ These moments are recognised by us as precious, because it is in these moments that cognition, the mental processes involved in gaining knowledge and comprehension, are taking place.
These mental processes include thinking, knowing, remembering, judging and problem-solving. These are higher-level functions of the brain and encompass language, imagination, perception, and planning. Our educators are able to recognise these processes as they take place, in the moment, for our children.
Educators use their knowledge of child development, sustained shared thinking and schemas to help them to find a child’s interests more precisely. Understanding of each child’s ability, interests and strengths are key to this process. It is in the educator’s response to this process, their interaction, that enables the child to make progress, it is right here that teaching is happening, which is why we call our approach ‘Responding to Process.’
Adult interactions are therefore incredibly important to us and may take the form of adults;
Observing, modelling language, learning and behaviour, suggesting, supporting, explaining, praising, showing, exploring ideas, encouraging, wondering, questioning, recalling and reminding, commenting, providing a narrative, facilitating and setting challenge.
It is only through observation, reflection and gentle, appropriate interaction that the educator is able to begin to understand children’s interests and engage with children to extend their knowledge and skills.
It is through our planning and documentation we make this process visible. This visibility is vital, through it the children can see that their educators value their learning, this makes them feel positive about their own abilities and skills and it enables them to reflect so they can make decisions and become independent in their thinking.
These developing attitudes about learning will last a lifetime, forged as they are in the developing brain of a young child. Children who receive the right support and encouragement during these years will become creative and adventurous learners throughout their lives.
We believe that spending time interacting with our children is the most important thing we do. Our documentation is part of that interaction.