Presenting the first ever St Nicholas Early Education Clay Project
All six existing St Nicholas Early Education centres are currently participating in an agency-wide clay project; an initiative designed to challenge children to create something unique out of clay, based on their interests.
At the Lochinvar centre, the 1-2-year-old children are currently interested in painting, so educator Lynette is collaborating with the children to make medallions out of clay, to be painted once dry.
“At any opportunity, every child will want to paint,” Lynette says, “so that’s based on their interests.”
Some of the older children have developed an interest in sea life, so their educators are helping them to make coral sculptures, to be moulded and decorated in whatever way the children choose.
“We base our entire program off of the children’s interests,” another educator said. “They don’t learn for us, we construct learning experiences for them.”
Reggio Emilia-influenced approach to early learning
St Nicholas Early Education centres utilise a Reggio Emilia-influenced approach to early learning, which is a child-centred and play-based philosophy that endorses self-directed, experiential learning in relationship-driven environments.
By giving the children agency in their interpretation of the clay project, educators are empowering them to explore and discover through their manipulation of the clay.
Clay play also promotes children’s physical development by assisting hand strength and dexterity, hand-eye coordination and the ability to focus their attention on a single task.