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In Early Childhood all services are required to have a learning framework and most services have adopted the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) to guide their learning programs.  EYLF is a guide that inspires services to develop their own unique learning for their particular service.  At PHPS, it has inspired us to develop a learning tree.  A learning tree that has evolved over time through the journey we had with our children, families, teachers and the community.
Many fun journeys and learning stories has created our learning tree.  Some of our highlights and ideas behind our activities are shown below:   
PHPS Learning Tree 2018

The performing arts - singing, dancing, acting & playing musical instruments 

From a very young age, children have a natural enjoyment moving along to the tune of music.  Wanting to create sounds with instruments, as well as singing along to nursery rhymes and immersing themselves in imaginary play.  At PHPS, we like to take these interests further into our 'Performing Arts' program.  Whereby each quarter, teachers will hold a concert for our families to witness the fun and confidence children have in the performing arts.  With songs, dances, musical plays and drama performances.   They are huge events in the outdoor stage with many props and costumes created by teachers and families.   The events are most memorable moments, tiered up around Mothers Day, Fathers and Grandparents Day, End of year Christmas Concert and Party, and a special ceremonial night performances from our graduates in November.   Our performing arts program has taken another step further with performances out in the community for the elderly residents at Lutanda Manor Retirement Village and performing for the "Children's Voice for Reconciliation" at Hornsby Mall on Reconciliation Day.  The concerts highlight the everyday activities that make the performing arts program such a success.  Some of the daily activities in the performing arts curriculum involve:
  • Dancing – to enjoy free expression and structured movement to express thoughts & feelings.  To Performances – choreograph dance groups and routines.
  • Singing – singing along to nursery rhymes, live with our pianist, having fun exploring high/low pitch, tone/texture and scales .  Learning multicultural songs and having fun singing songs in other languages.
  • Music & musical instruments – appreciation of various musical styles and instrument types. Simplified music theory – beat, rhythm, rhymes, notes, melody, pitch, tempo.  Instruments: Percussion, xylophone & keyboard.  During school holidays, previous students from the local primary school are invited to perform for our preschoolers in fostering future musicians.  
  • Drama – Acting games: Charades, characterization, gestures, expression and movement.  Drama also involves costumes designs, props and staging.  Children develop the understanding of practice with rehearsals & to experience live performances. Theater play is an extension of children's imaginary role plays. Over the years, children have produced simplified narrative plays as well as fun musicals.
The best way to capture the essence of our performing arts program is through videos in our CONCERT Webpage 

EQ program - Emotional Intelligence/ Character Education/ Body & Mind/ Life skills

EQ is a fundamental program at PHPS for children to become happy and successful learners.  It is about character education, understanding the body & mind, and developing life skills.  It is an important part of the setting and forms part of the atmosphere of the centre.   Some of the key areas of EQ include:
  • Sharing, turn taking, fairness, co-operation, teamwork, interpersonal skills, resolving conflicts
  • Manage emotions, develop self-regulation, resilience, self-esteem, initiative, self-control
  • Character Education – responsibility, cooperation, respect, acceptance, honesty, compassion, self-discipline, perseverance.  Manners, empathy, caring for others. 
  • Showing initiative, being motivated. Embracing challenges, persevering over setbacks, praising effort, learning from criticism, being inspired by others. Children’s desire & evaluation of situations – can/cannot do. Being optimistic, assertive, tolerant and attentive.
  • Morals, conscience, ethics (good v's bad), spirituality, yoga, relaxation and rest.
  • Independence skills: Looking after self – belongings, lunches, toileting, asking for help. Listening skills. Packing away, following routine, rules and instructions. School readiness and transition to school or from the toddler room to the preschool room.
Excursions - taking learning beyond the preschool classroom 
Excursions extend children's learning beyond the preschool classroom.  For children, it is like going on a bear hunt.  The excitement, the adventure and the enjoyment seen in children's smiles are the reasons why excursions have become a regular part of PHPS's program.  Besides that, it's also enjoyed by all our teachers and parent volunteers.   With our own preschool mini bus, almost every week there will be an excursion, allowing all children the opportunity to participate in the excursion adventure, for both our preschoolers and toddlers.  Some of the excursion activities include:
  • Enjoying the abundant nature around us – from local Wollundry Park, Cumberland State Forest, to Fagan Park with their gardens of many nations and their Eco Garden.
  • Connecting with the surrounding community – such as visiting the library, railway & fire station, Hornsby heritage museum, art gallery display at the local primary and high school.
  • Extending physical activity beyond the preschool outdoor area – fun obstacles in local playgrounds, learning to bike ride with our own push bikes, soccer and athletic games at Penno all weather oval.  
  • Other highlight excursions in the year are the preschoolers visiting the Lutanda Retirement Village to perform for the elderly residents, and our toddlers excursion to Taronga Zoo. 
The joyful learning can be seen in the photos captured on our EXCURSION webpage.  It is also important to note that excursions are not just about having fun exploring the greater world around them, but also instilling in children: responsibility, to be able to follow rules/guidance and practice road safety awareness, and to be model class of preschoolers/toddlers in the public, and to develop respect and love for the outdoors. 

Other special programs

Little Scientist
Little Scientist program - is used to promote STEM (Science, technology, engineering and maths) in early childhood.  It is about promoting inquiry based learning and developing meta-cognitive skills in children while developing co-construction partnership in learning experiences with peers and adults.

ELLA - Early Learning Language AustraliaELLA (Early Learning Language Australia) -  is a government initiative given to selected preschools to teach children another language.  It is an app based program which also promotes acceptance, and the enjoyment of languages to support children's literacy outcomes.  This supports the language program we already have in place with our Mandarin and Korean speaking teachers.  Over the years we have used the ELLA Polygots apps to learn Mandarin and Spanish.  Teachers are also having fun learning another language with the children. 

munch n move
Munch & Move is a NSW Health initiative that supports the healthy development of children birth to 5 years by promoting physical activity, healthy eating and reduced small screen time.  It is a successful program that has found it's place in most preschools and day care centres in Sydney. 

PHPS joined Narragunnawali in 2018 to establish a commitment to reconciliation in our Early Learning environment.  We will be developing a Reconciliation Action Plan and registering our initiatives and actions  with Narragunnawali.   One of our big initiatives is coupling our flourishing performing arts program with Children's Voice for Reconciliation and to perform at Hornsby Mall during Reconciliation day.

At PHPS, we acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on our preschool and would like to pay our respects to Elders past and present. 

Our team welcome all families and students who wish to know more about our program at PHPS to visit us.  Appointments can be made via email: info@phps.nsw.edu.au  Alternatively, each year in March, our centre open its doors to our local families and we run an information night to display and demonstrate some of the key areas of our program offered at Pennant Hills Preschool.