Play sets the foundation for the development of critical social and emotional knowledge and skills. Through play, children learn to forge connections with others and to share, negotiate and resolve conflicts, as well as learn self-advocacy skills. Play also teaches children leadership as well as group skills. Furthermore, play is a natural tool that children can use to build their resilience and coping skills, as they learn to navigate relationships and deal with social challenges as well as conquer their fears. Play is a fundamental value of our educational experience, for us, it is a language that supports discoveries and a better understanding of the world around us. Children are given the opportunity to develop this language and the other ninety-nine through project work.
“Children need the freedom to appreciate the infinite resources of their hands, their eyes, and their ears, the resources of forms, materials, sounds and colours. They need the freedom to realize how reason, thought, and imagination can create continuous interweavings of things, and can move and shake the world.” (Loris Malaguzzi,1996)
Teachers and children work together on projects based on the interests of the class group after an evaluation of the most appropriate theme for the age group. Children are provided with a multitude of opportunities to work through their ideas. They are encouraged to depict their understanding of the world and their ideas through various representations. Working on long-term projects allows children and teachers to explore and investigate a topic together, and in doing so, develop creative intelligence, divergent thinking and improve problem-solving skills.
We consider it essential to teach our children to inquire, as they consider and explore the many possible answers to the same question. At Aurora, we will begin investigating a topic through questioning and focusing on the thought processes rather than an outcome or result to be achieved. Children and teachers will leave for a journey of discoveries building the path as they go.