Nurturing Environments are Paramount for Wellbeing

Did you know that a child’s brain develops more rapidly from birth to age five than at any other time in their life? Astonishingly, more than 85% of a child's brain development happens in these early years. It's these initial years that lay down the essential groundwork for learning throughout a person's life. That's why it's crucial to make sure these years are filled with positive and enriching experiences.

The benefits of nurturing early learning environments for young minds are immeasurable. In this critical phase, young brains are in a state of rapid development, creating new neural pathways that shape future capabilities. A child exposed to enriching early learning experiences is more likely to develop robust cognitive, language, and literacy skills. These experiences not only enhance academic performance but also contribute to emotional resilience and wellbeing in later life. Research underscores the long-term advantages of quality early childhood education. Children with such foundational experiences tend to achieve higher academic levels, pursue further education, and secure better job opportunities. We also know, from this research, that quality early learning fosters improved social skills and emotional health and even contributes to longevity, paving the way for a fulfilling life.

Last week, I had the pleasure of spending time with staff and students in the ELC, learning about their curriculum and programs. Our ELC certainly encourages curiosity and independence. The learning spaces promote positive interactions, enabling students to navigate challenges and build meaningful connections. They are designed to stimulate curiosity and foster a love of learning. The curriculum integrates play-based and interactive methods to teach fundamental skills in language, literacy, and numeracy.

I felt great joy watching our Pre-Primary teacher, Miss Maddie Newell, greet each child at the door. Making eye contact with each child and welcoming them into the classroom, she made sure that every child felt that they had a sense of belonging and connection to each other and their classroom. Aligned with the Berry Street Education model, I saw each class begin the day with positive routines and outlines for the day. The sense of excitement and positive approach to learning was palpable. It is evident that each child’s wellbeing is paramount. There is a focus on ensuring each child feels respected and secure, both individually and within a group. This is vitally important as we know that addressing each child's unique needs boosts self-esteem and confidence, which is essential for personal growth.

With recent Australian Government mandates, there has been a strong focus on literacy over the last 18 months, and this was evident in not only the learning students shared with me but also the way they articulated what they were learning. The literacy focus and building learning behaviours ensure that our ELC students will continue to thrive as the academic rigour increases in later years.

Our ELC educators shared with me how important their partnership is with families, and learning extends beyond the classroom. Thank you for all that you do to support your child’s learning: reading with them on an evening, expanding their vocabulary, and celebrating their successes.

We are very lucky to have our ELC at St Mark’s. I am excited to spend more time there next Term.

Ms Roseanne Madden
Deputy Principal