Play is the work of childhood
At First Hand Experiences, what matters to children
is at the heart of everything we do.
'First Hand' Adjective ˈfərst-ˈhand:
Coming directly from actually experiencing or seeing something
We encourage young folk to consider 'Big Ideas' and ponder 'Questions Worth Asking' as they go about the important business of exploring the world around them with authentic purpose.
ExploreTo explore is to engage with our surroundings on our own terms. To discover what a place has to offer led by our own instinct and desire.
When children are released from the four walls of their educational setting, out and about exploring and playing, they are in charge. They are instinctively making hundreds of decisions as they assess and determine the levels of risk they want to take, physically, emotionally and socially: mastering, day by day, an increasing repertoire of skills, adding to their bank of experience.
So, through exploration, our children acquire confidence, but also an awareness of limits and boundaries. They learn, in short, how to be safe. As the popular American educator and broadcaster, Fred Rogers said, "Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood".
DiscoverThrough exploring and playing in the real world children discover a myriad of opportunities.
As our children gain confidence in the world and become familiar with their surroundings, they start to take on challenges. A key feature of our programme is our flexibility, we adapt and respond to what interests the children, this way, we provide a framework for children to make their own discoveries.
InspireOur carefully considered themes provide experiences that engage children on a personal level. We aim to spark their imagination and evoke stimulating questions worth asking and big ideas. Whilst our job is to inspire it does not always have to mean going on elaborate trips. Children are naturally fascinated by the world around them, from interesting looking buildings to bugs under over-turned logs; observation is the basis of learning from your experience.
Children know instictively how to observe, our job is to encourage this innate skill. We look up, high and low, closer, for longer, we give them things to look for, we notice things, compare, contrast, touch and taste.
RelateTuning children into the small and everyday elements of the world through questioning and imagining, we encourage our children to make sense of the world and their part in it.
CreateTo be creative, when we refer to the art, literature and intellectual life of a society, is what most spectacularly differentiates us from all other animals. Expressing how our experiences affect us, interpreting them and giving them meaning is a vital and distinct element of our programme.
Drawing on experiences directly, and working as often as possible with raw materials that we have had contact with on our trip, we guide children in creating art and craft through which they can not only discover new skills but express their personal relationship with their experience.