Space, community and curriculum revolutionise early learning - Education Matters Magazine
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Space, community and curriculum revolutionise early learning

Childcare provider Harmony Early Learning have emphasised that it is vital to maintaining a normal learning environments for young children to avoid harmful impacts on social skills during key development years.

The company has launched a new facility and curriculum in Hope Island, Gold Coast which is based on the growing knowledge of the impact of space on the development of imagination and creativity.

Harmony Hope Island has been designed with a focus on the unique needs of children, promoting physical activity and a connection among children that improves behaviour, self-esteem, and academic performance.

Chief executive officer Peter Warner said that active design spaces and a shifting focus on incorporating a sense of community in the early learning experience will be increasingly important in supporting developmental milestones, particularly through difficult times that can feel confusing and unstable to children when they are at their most impressionable.

“Environment plays a pivotal role in a child’s development, physical health and wellbeing, and directly affects their interaction with society. With the pandemic challenging us all over the past year, rarely has there been a greater need for a normal and stable environment to deliver healthy personal development for our children,” Warner said.

“The imaginative use of material to bring spaces to life is becoming critical in personal development. We are seeing this among adults, who face changing workspaces and working environments in the face of this pandemic, but there remains a gap when applying this knowledge to the development of our children. This is what we’re aiming to overcome with Harmony’s new centre.”

Beyond the physical benefits of spatial design, the facility has been developed to reproduce a community atmosphere and encourage the participation of the local community in the development of their children.

Underpinning Harmony’s new approach to physical learning is a new, evidence-based early learning curriculum, the Active Early Learning (AEL) Study. Completed over two years with over $2 million invested, the curriculum is proven to provide children with the essential skills needed for their first year of school.

AEL was implemented in partnership with the University of Canberra and Deakin University by world leading researchers, resulting in the development of an integrated curriculum which has been proven to positively impact children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development.

The implementation of the curriculum at Hope Island will be overseen by Harmony’s Centre director Jasmine Facey.

“AEL is all about integrating physical literacy into children’s daily routines and is delivered by our professional educators in collaboration with the Australian College of Physical Literacy,” she said.