ACU students bring Early Years Research into Ballarat Schools
In an innovative teaching pilot at ACU’s Ballarat campus, second year Bachelor of Education Early Childhood and Primary students are working with local schools to build community capacity through facilitating supported playgroups in schools.
Under the guidance of a playgroup coordinator, the pre-service teachers help establish, develop, resource, and implement these playgroups. This provides them with valuable experience in the birth to early years setting and challenges them to engage with the Governments Early Years Framework.
Activities such as creative play, physical education, literacy, and numeracy, help children link their early years learning experiences with future educational experience. The project also helps provide an environment where families can understand the importance of play while being active members in the children’s play and learning.
The Schools involved also benefit with stronger connections with the local community and through better sharing of information between children, families, early childhood educators, out-of-school-hours carers and prep teachers.
This project is especially relevant to ACU and Early Years Education as it brings to the classrooms current research on the importance of play based learning in intellectual, physical, social and creative learning in children.
In 2012, the program is being run as a pilot with 11 pre-service teachers and five schools involved on a weekly basis. Ballarat City Council developed the Connecting Schools and Communities program in a partnership designed to link families with children’s services and early learning opportunities.
The partnership included government organisations, the Australian Catholic University and primary schools.
A collaboration between ACU, City of Ballarat Best Start Project, Catholic Education Office Ballarat, Playgroup Victoria, primary schools and government organisations, the partnership aims to extend this project to provide more families with access to playgroups, children’s services and early learning opportunities.