Introducing the Abecedarian Approach Australia to Imagine Childcare

“Learning and teaching should not stand on opposite banks and just watch the river flow by; instead, they should embark together on a journey down the water. Through an active, reciprocal exchange, teaching can strengthen learning and how to learn. ” (Malaguzzi, L.)

We are so proud to introduce the Abecedarian Approach Australia to our Imagine Childcare centres.

At Imagine Childcare, we strongly believe that responsive adults and language rich environments create the best possible developmental opportunities for our children, for now and long into their future. The Abecedarian Approach Australia aligns with our philosophy and values, and our belief that “we have to get it right from the beginning”. This belief is strongly supported by science.


What is the Abecedarian Approach Australia?

Abecedarian Approach Australia and Imagine ChildcareThe Abecedarian Approach Australia (3a), is a set of evidence-based teaching and learning strategies, that are proven to maximise children’s learning outcomes by enriching and enhancing Educator practice. The approach consists of four elements, each of which specifically promote intentional and meaningful adult-child interactions:

  1. Language Priority – A commitment to make every experience in a child’s day an opportunity for talking, listening, and learning language.
  2. Enriched Caregiving – Intentionally adding educational content to the daily, repeated routines of care.
  3. Conversational Reading – Individual and pair reading, that emphasises back and forth (serve and return) communication.
  4. Learning Games 200 – Experiences or games played between an adult and one child or a small group of children.

Abecedarian Approach and Imagine ChildcareImagine a New Way

Imagine is introducing the Abecedarian Approach Australia (3a) into our centres. It is an approach that had its beginning in America 50 years ago. We are so inspired by the latest research by Joseph Sparling, Sharon Landesman Ramey, and Craig T. Ramey and feel privileged to be able to have an open dialogue with Joseph. The feeling of being present, current, and informed by science through this research is an unexpected honour.

A new way is imagined. It is current and gives us the foundation to build on, and as Joseph identifies, it brings awareness of so many things, one of them being “mental health.” If we are cognisant of how we can support families, and are able to facilitate this through resources that have been developed and backed by science, then we have contributed to an understanding of the importance of these findings, and we have assisted in the positive development of our children in these uncertain times.

To ensure fidelity, we have trained 70 practitioners to date. Imagine has invested in an ongoing support network and a team of Abecedarian trained professionals, who are on hand to support the knowledge and further develop the resources required for the approach to be effective.

We are very excited about the results and have witnessed some amazing experiences – pure joy and meaningful enriched caregiving.

We have made a commitment to embed 3a with fidelity, and this requires an experienced and dedicated team, who support our Educators on their journey. Our children and Educators are exploring possibilities and sharing moments that “stretch” the child. We are providing challenges and provocations that lead to inquiry, and the children are experimenting and building on their knowledge. As they do this, we are always aware of the proximal zone (Vygotsky). As caring responsive adults, our Educators are orientated towards building on the child’s knowledge, and as Joseph suggests, ‘stretching’ the child to go beyond. Collectively we can provide children with opportunities to experiment, to imagine, to reimagine, and to make connections using context to construct meaning.

Our knowledge now gives our practices and experiences meaning, science informs our understanding, and this drives us forward so we can give even more to the children and families we reach.

To Joseph Sparling, thank you. We have imagined a new way and have implemented an approach that underpins our beliefs.

‘Imagine a new way’ is our statement and ‘A new way to imagine!’ is the mantra that ignites us as we move forward and explore all that is possible.

To find out more about Imagine Childcare and our approach to early education and care, please visit our website here.

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