Enriching early childhood development through an integrated approach to learning

SAHETI School > Exploratorium > Enriching early childhood development through an integrated approach to learning

When planning our family life and organising our children’s weekly activities, along with other daily demands, we are constantly making use of multiple areas of knowledge to find solutions. Think of the planning that is involved in hosting friends for a meal: from writing a to-do or shopping list, as well as deciding on the menu and working out the quantity of food you will need, to ensuring you can accommodate the number of guests invited. This is integration in action. At school, we want children to be able to apply what they have learnt, drawing on cross-curricular thinking so that they too can persevere through the daily challenges that life presents. As adults, our days do not reflect a segmented timetable with certain activities being boxed into specific times, using one set of skills.  Problem solving is also not limited to specific skills such as reading or numeracy. 

At SAHETI Pre-Primary and Playschool we work with an integrated curriculum. This approach enriches children in all areas of their development: cognitively, physically, socially, ethically and creatively.  It facilitates opportunities where children can make connections and engage in learning that is relevant in a meaningful context. Through this methodology, we experience many benefits for our children which include promoting higher-level thinking, providing a deeper understanding of the learning content and encouraging active participation in relevant real-life experiences. 

It is essential that from early on in your child’s educational journey, they are encouraged to see what they are learning as interconnected and applicable to their world. They do this through exploring, investigating, making new discoveries and questioning information.  It is equally important for children to continue to see, feel and experience these connections as they mature and move through the grades. This ensures that our children will be able to take what they have learned, apply it and integrate it with greater ease than if they had not received this as part of their foundation.  Layered learning activities allow children to foster a deeper understanding of each unique experience. At the core of this approach are the most important elements of all – generous doses of play, laughter and fun! 

Written by Angela Barclay (Principal) and Andy Haefner (Vice Principal) of SAHETI Pre-Primary and Playschool