Sparks Early Years

Aeon Academy’s Sparks Early Years program is tailored to meet the needs and to nurture the creative spark in our youngest students aged 4 – 6. Our Sparks enjoy a higher educator-to-student ratio with dedicated Sparks educators consistently leading this program and providing a higher level of developmentally targeted support. These caring educators design the afternoon’s/day’s activities with early childhood development in mind, whether it’s working on social and cognitive skills through dress ups and roleplaying, or improving fine and gross motor skills through obstacle courses, painting, or clay play in an enriched learning environment.

We work with the school to ensure a seamless supervised transition from preschool and kindergarten. Children are escorted directly to the program when school ends just in time for a healthy afternoon tea!

We have the privilege of taking care of Sparks who, as the youngest members of Aeon Academy, may be with us for many years! We invest in these children by sharing with them the different aspects of our philosophy;

Sustainability & caring for the environment:

  • Washing our own plates and composting our food scraps is what we do at meal times
  • We see how food is grown in a garden and we can be a part of this process.
  • We treat the garden with care and respect. We nurture the plants and animals we come in contact with.
  • We recycle paper and other materials. We try not to waste things and reuse and make do where we can.

Compassion, consideration and thoughtfulness;

  • How to eat at a table with other people politely, sharing and being considerate and enjoying interesting conversations
  • We take turns and wait for people to have their turn.
  • We accept that people eat, dress and believe in different things! Creativity;
  • With just a few skills you can open up a whole world of playing, making and doing- learn through doing.
  • You get good at something by doing it and doing it and doing it! We don’t need to buy other people’s creations to make our own games we can use imagination and found objects to be anything we want. We are screen free as we are too busy playing, doing, making and moving our bodies or just quietly resting.

Personal autonomy;

  • We are our own people and that is a wonderful thing 🙂
  • We are all responsible for our own actions even if we do things we are sorry about later.
  • Everyone has the right to feel safe and cared for and if they don’t we want to listen to why not.

Nurtured Play

Sparks Programming is all about facilitating exploration and play – we don’t get hung up on the finished product of an activity. Little children are learning how to use their fingers and hands and need the space to self guide their activities at their own pace. Educators watch and support them to do it themselves. Our youngest children experience an afternoon/day of nurtured play including; Arts & Crafts, Dramatic make believe, Gardening activities, Nature play, Storytelling and Active & physical games.

The Sparks Trolleys

Aeon Academy invests in maintaining an extensive ‘Sparks library’ of developmentally appropriate equipment and materials which facilitate the Sparks programmed activity of the day. The Sparks trolleys are restocked and updated from day to day, depending on the programming focus and intention. This approach enables the Sparks area to be responsive and engaging, supporting creativity, inquiry and curiosity.

The Sparks trolley always includes:

  • drawing materials; a tray of coloured pencils, paper and drawing boards, crayons, watercolours etc may be provided (see below) books/stories related to the theme
  • items that can be touched, looked at, explored (found objects -feathers, stones, seed pods, driftwood), dioramas, items of interest (artworks, models) etc.
  • activity specific materials for either planned or free form interactions including:
  • fake money, treasure chest full of jewellery, Dress ups, object of interest to stimulate conversation, ideas

Tracking Our Sparks.

The Sparks notice board displays primary materials which help us assess the progress of our youngest children. Lead Educators collect evidence of each child’s individual learning journey including film/photographs of ephemeral group activities or occasional performances, examples of student’s activities in OSH from which children later select work to display for the Open Day and unfinished work, half finished craft projects, photographs, little things children have collected which express their personalities. In addition, throughout the sessions, we take note of:

  • how willingly children can share together.
  • their ability to compromise and play in a group.
  • how they listen to instructions and their capacity for working with others. their ability to cope with not being in control of a game, losing a game etc

All of these observations help us to evaluate a child’s needs and their challenges, providing us and their families with the information we need to develop tailored strategies to support their learning journey.

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