At Nurture and Develop Early Childhood Centre (NDECC) we provoke children to think for themselves and develop an image of themselves as a child rich in potential, strong, powerful and competent.
From birth a child has the need and the right to communicate and interact with others. Through energy and curiosity, the child constructs his/her own learning through interaction with peers, adults, objects and symbols.
In our atelier (art studio), we have made a space that enables children to encounter, discover different context. It allows them to explore and use a diverse range at materials that can give them endless possibilities to tune their technique.
This assists us as educators to see and have a better understanding of the process of how they learn and how they invent the process that allows them to have expressive, cognitive and symbolic freedom that gives them a pathway to communicate with the wider world.
NDECC is deeply inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to preschool and primary education founded by educator Loris Malaguzzi after World War II.
The approach is child-centered and uses self-directed, experiential learning in relationship-driven environments.
The program is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery through a self-guided curriculum.
Malaguzzi penned a poem The 100 Languages of Children in which he acknowledged the ‘infinite ways that children can express, explore, and connect their thoughts, feelings and imaginings’.
The poem illustrates the myriad methods and mediums that children seek out in order to express their ideas, theories, thoughts, feelings, frustrations, discoveries, understanding and knowledge.
Of course, these languages are symbolic – but they allude to the key concept of the Reggio Emilia approach – which is that every child has infinite potential to discover, learn and communicate.
Children do this in many, many different ways including drawing, playing, painting, writing, sculpting, construction, dance, music, movement, role playing, drama – even reasoning, listening, laughing, crying, hating and loving to name but a few. The possibilities are endless.
Our Atelierista, Jennifer Strutt is an award-winning and practising visual artist from Newcastle’s famous artmaking duo, The Strutt Sisters.
“As the Atelierista at NDECC I am very lucky to be able to introduce very young children to the stimulating world of Visual Art," Jennifer said.
"Emphasis is placed on the importance of sport in children’s lives but what about their minds? What about feeding the mind and soul as well?
"Creative outlets encourage thinking, problem solving, discovery, concentration, fine and gross motor skills, emotional well-being, social skills and feeds the imagination. In the atelier (art studio), as well as free creating opportunities, the children study real art movements and visual artists.
"I break everything down into manageable segments as we work through colour, technique, art history and choice of materials particular to the artists we are looking at. The children have become familiar with art terms, colour mixing and correct use of tools.”
“The children’s storytelling of what they have made is inspiring to adults who have forgotten how to wonder and get lost in their own imaginations. Placing finished artworks on the wall in a gallery like environment shows respect for the children’s work and gives them a sense of pride in themselves.”
NDECC strives to provide the environment that enhances endless possibilities as describe by Mallaguzzi.
- “This child is a born researcher. I would say that [his] and our searching together for things that we do not know, searching for things that can improve our relations, all this in some way not only produces a marvellous understanding, but I believe it forms the directional axis where intelligence is fuelled, and I would say it increases expansive capacity to relate with things or between things. Therefore, it also produces a capacity of interaction, dialogue, searching for things and relations between things and events which to me seems to be the essence, the massive force of what we call intelligence.” Loris Malaguzzi 1993.