Early Education Reform Group EERG

Using play to create a Child-Centered Curriculum in the early years of school.

The more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core. David Sobel

Lauren Martyn-Jones, The Courier-Mail
August 20, 2016 12:00am

WITH 15-year-old twins, a 12-year-old, an 11-year-old and a four-year-old, Brisbane mum Ali Logman has watched ringside as Queensland’s schooling system changed dramatically.

The introduction of Prep, the push for all four-year-olds to attend kindergarten, the rollout of NAPLAN, the relocation of Year 7 to high school, and the decision to overhaul the OP system – some of the biggest changes to schooling in the state’s history – have all happened in the decade between her eldest and youngest children starting school.

PREP: All work, no play behind soaring suspensions

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Background: Ross Gwyther and Janny Boersma have both had extensive involvement in early childhood education, and are very committed to ensuring that our QLD State Government is able to ensure positive development of early childhood education in Queensland.

Ross has been involved closely through his mother Lil Gwyther. Lil was one of the founding members of the Early Education Reform Group (EERG), which was very active in the 1980s and 90s in promoting play-based, child-centred and developmentally appropriate early childhood education. Lil was Director of the West Ashgrove Pre-School for 25 years, and then worked as an advisory teacher in the Education Dept.

Janny spent her working life as an early childhood teacher and was active in EERG from its inception. The EERG group was instrumental in two major developments in Qld education, the growth of multi-age education in early years teaching in many State and private schools, and in the establishment of the Prep year in Qld State Schooling.

Our Current Concerns: The current Prep year of schooling is aimed at children aged between 4.5 years to 5.5 years, as a preparatory year before Grade 1. The basis of the Prep year is play-based learning - the now well established educational principle that young children develop at very different rates, and play is the most important way in which this development can be assisted, (using appropriate oversight) appropriately facilitated by trained early childhood teachers. The Prep Year curriculum when established in 2007 was explicitly play-based.

Read more: Put the Play back into Prep March 2015

Sydney Morning Herald by Julia Baird 

The moment you realise, as a kid, that your teacher is also a human being is a startling one. Like the time my high school teacher sobbed through an entire lesson, holding a handkerchief to her nose as we bent over our books stealing glances, hushed and wondering. Like the science teacher who endearingly sliced off the top of her finger trying to scoop condensed milk out of a tin. And the English teacher who read a poem of mine in Year 8 in which I described a classroom tutor writing on a chalkboard with a hand "weary, like her spirit." Next to those lines were two thick ticks, and an "EXCELLENT!" in capitals.

At which point I realised my teacher probably was a bit tired....

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