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How to develop, and bring to life, a centre philosophy


One of the most important steps in running a successful, high-quality child care centre is developing a centre philosophy, according to Gowrie NSW consultant, Jessica Horne-Kennedy.

“Philosophy is an essential element of our work with children and families – it is like a thread that runs through everything we do,” Jessica said.

“This thread of philosophy strengthens the experience for children, families and educators because those that work at the centre hold a shared vision and intention towards the pedagogy and practice of the service,” she explained.

According to Jessica centres should have a philosophy because it provides a platform for understanding what is behind the ‘whys’ of what we do.
Talking about the beliefs we hold supports educators to have a clear picture of their practice.  Listening to the beliefs that other educators hold in turn helps individuals to look outside the ‘frame’ of their beliefs and see a different perspective about practice. 

“Ultimately, these actions take our practice to a deeper level of understanding which helps us to understand the purpose behind what we do,” Jessica said.

There are lots of creative ways that a director can encourage discussion and development of a centre philosophy, Jessica explained. For example, asking the team some key reflective questions such as: What does learning mean to us?  What beliefs do we hold about children and childhood? What do we hold as important for this child now and into the future?

Some services may like to draw a picture or express their ideas of philosophy through a group painting or story. The idea is to begin a discussion and then fit these pieces together.

“Once a centre philosophy has been established, supporting the team to ‘bring it alive’ in their daily practices is an essential element of the directors role in a centre environment. 

“Displaying or sharing things like an inspiring quote that relates to an underlying belief in the philosophy or a picture that describes an element of the philosophy could be small ways to remind educators and families about what we believe as a service,” Jessica added.

For more information on this topic or to book a consultancy session with Jessica Horne-Kennedy email


Topics: Learning Theories and Approaches

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