"We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today."
As a leader who sets the direction for my organization and passionate preschool educator, the first question I ask myself is: ‘who do I think the child is?’ It is this fundamental yet significant question that guides the curriculum and pedagogical approaches at Talent Plus, as well as its trainings and workshops for our teachers.
The world renowned Reggio Emilia preschool views the image of the child as “rich in potential, powerful, competent, and most of all connected to adults and other children” (Malaguzzi, 2004). He is “intelligent as a person capable of making meaning of the world from his own experiences” (Dahlberg & Moss, 2005b). Similarly, we believe that the child is in control of his own present social and intellectual identity, he is the main driver of his own learning. This realization leads to the approach that we plan and deliver our programme, relentlessly embracing the child as having limitless capability and therefore everyday with him is a treasure trove of possibilities.
This belief extends an image of the child, and our role becomes not only a transmitter of knowledge, but also a child’s co-creator of knowledge and co-partner in his voyage of growth.
We build our pedagogy based on offering possibilities, emphasizing the child’s boundless potential in the ‘NOW’ experience, and not merely for the purpose of achieving adults’ targets in preparing them with the discrete skills necessary for future school success.
In this journey of advocating a ‘child-centered’ pedagogy, the challenge lies in inducing the paradigm shift among our teachers. For decades, the mindset of the players in the educational field: the policy makers, the institutions (preschools and formal schools), educators and parents have been ‘result-orientated’ and ‘setting goals for preparedness for the future’. My teachers and I have been educated in this dominant discourse and no one can change a paradigm overnight. Now, Talent Pus is doing it one step at a time. What then, are the efforts to materialize our belief?
With a group of enthusiastic curriculum team members galvanized in the belief of enriching the present state of the child, we planned a set of programmes that provides our children not only basic academic knowledge, but bring in the ‘happenings’ around them through thematic learning, Montessori practical life skills, cookery lessons, science programmes etc. We offer a wealth of possibilities that does not underestimate the child’s capabilities. With these fun-filled yet purposeful activities, Talent Plus provides the child with dynamical platform to learn through play – where he develops meaning of the world through interacting with the myriad of experiences in the class.
The twice per annum training and workshop aims to align our teachers with our vision of embracing Talent Plus’ ‘image of the child’. Besides sharing our philosophy and conviction, practical trainings were conducted to materialize our belief: ‘purposeful play activities’, ‘how to be a co-creator and co-partner’, ‘effective pedagogy through play’ and ‘pre-lesson sharing (by teachers) with circle time (by children)’ are just some sessions we had with our teachers. We believe that teachers, ultimately, are a child’s partner in co-engineering the early years of his life.
We set up learning corners at some of our classrooms to facilitate the ‘now’ experience for the children by giving them the freedom to learn at their own pace.
With the image of the child at heart, we bring the world into our classroom. To your child, his eagerness and readiness in exploring the possibilities in his everyday life is his world. Our mission is to provide him with an expedition that enriches his early years, one day at a time, with the conviction of him developing “a Rich Heart and an Eager Mind” in his head start journey with us.
"How can we help children find the meaning of what they do, what they encounter, what they experience? And how can we do this for ourselves?"Rinaldi.C