Learning at Mad Hatter House
"Curiouser and curiouser!"
- Alice, 'Alice's Adventures In Wonderland' by Lewis Carroll.
The first years of a child's life are when brains are built. Brains need caring responsive relationships, stimulation and lots of play! The Early Years Learning Framework is a guide to supporting and nurturing young children's learning from birth to five years of age, and their transition to school. It, and the research behind it, shape much of what happens at Mad Hatter House.
Find out exactly what's in the Early Years Learning Framework by clicking here.
Or learn more about how play build brains in the video below.
Areas of Inquiry
Language & Literacy
It’s understandable that families want their children to develop skills to get children ready for school…and life!
Literacy however is much more than learning to recite the alphabet. In fact, you’re probably already doing much more to support your child’s early language and literacy skills than you even realise! You do this by reading stories, asking questions and singing songs with your child.
At Mad Hatter House educators extend on this by creating rich learning experiences to help children develop spoken language skills, concepts of print, phonemic awareness and much more.
We recognise that children learn through exploration and experimentation so we join children in play to scaffold their skills; talking about concepts, and demonstrating writing and reading in ways which are meaningful to children. This might involve writing shopping lists, reading signs, or documenting their own learning.
At Mad Hatter House we value the skills learnt through STEM (or Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and give children the opportunities to investigate, manipulate and experiment with a wide range of resources and materials.
With the support of our educators, children develop STEM concepts, skills and dispositions such as curiosity and creativity, generate innovative ideas, identify problems and explore solutions. MHH Educators take children’s innate curiosity and support them to seek answers to their questions.
Children work on joint projects based on the interests of individuals and groups. We encourage you to share with us the questions - big and little for us to explore together!
Nature & sustainability
We build on children’s curiosity about the natural world. We see them as capable of understanding “big ideas” and to have agency over the world around them.
Children are also taught to acknowledge the traditional owners of our land - the Birpai People and to learn from them. MHH children are supported and encouraged to engage with the natural world and look at ways to care and protect it.
Children, educators and management work together to seek out ways to minimise our environmental footprint. Recycling, water-saving practices, composting, gardening and caring for our chickens are just some of the everyday practices. We also look at reducing, re-using, recycling which is not only useful but can be a whole lot of fun too!
We’d love to hear about your environmentally sustainable practices or how we can work together.
Our children engage in a whole range of creative arts including art, dance, drama, puppetry and music.
Creative arts support children to develop communications skills, creativity and imagination, self-esteem, as well as teach them a whole range of skills from pattern making used in mathematics to vocabulary development just to name a few.
It also allows children opportunities to “be”, in a world where so much is about the end product, children are given opportunities to enjoy the process and the journey.
Community & Culture
Young children thrive when the feel a sense of belonging and connection. This is at the heart of our everyday practices at Mad Hatter House, where relationships are key and we work intentionally as educators to ensure everyone feels at home and valued.
Very young children are already attuned to the world around them, therefore it is in these very early years that our Educators can play a significant role in in planting seeds of tolerance, compassion and understanding.
Educators also have a responsibility to value and promote greater understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing and being. Mad Hatter House Educators aim to do this by using Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander pedagogies, building on children’s interests and using culturally inclusive spaces.
At MHH we also offer children to learn about other cultures and languages through the ELLA or Early Learning Languages Australia program. You can learn more about the ELLA here...
Movement & Health
Early childhood is an important time to establish lifelong healthy eating and physical activity habits. Mad Hatter House uses a range of strategies to interest and engage children in these habits. Educators are receive training in Munch & Move, a NSW Health initiative that supports the healthy development of children birth to 5 years.
The Service also engages Be You. BeYou is the national mental health in education initiative delivered by Beyond Blue, in collaboration with Early Childhood Australia and headspace. Be You supports educators from early learning services and schools to develop a positive, inclusive and resilient learning community where every child, young person, educator and family can achieve their best possible mental health.