Preschool 4-5 Years
We pride our centres on school readiness preparation, and throughout our programs- incoporating the National Quality framework and Early Years Learning Framework, both adult and child-directed play are a central feature of our curriculum both structured and unstructured.
Play is one of a child's most natural actions; in the safe environment of our centre, your children will learn through play to become independent, develop self-control, share with others, gain self-acceptance and self-worth, and develop gross and fine motor skills. Our programmes guide children in developing their social skills in preparation for school.
Very young children are growing and developing rapidly and can be profoundly and positively affected by the types of stimulation and interaction to which they are exposed. For this reason our experienced and well-qualified staff work hard to provide our students with carefully selected ideas, materials and activities designed to stimulate their physical, emotional, social, intellectual, spiritual and creative development; all of which are interrelated.
We believe that rich early learning experiences- primarily in the form of ‘play’- best support very young children in the development of the knowledge, skills, understanding and attitudes which will predispose them to a lifetime of learning. Through play children most easily learn to express, explore and extend their understandings of the world; develop symbolic thought, expression and the basis for mathematical and scientific reasoning; release energy for physical and emotional health; build relationships and develop critical language and social skills.
Ready, set, play
Our centres open at 7.30am, and depending on what the weather is like we may start with play outside or inside while the classrooms and playground are set up. This period of time from 7-30 till 9-30am, starts with" family groupings" of the younger and older children together. This time can be anything from arts and crafts, obstacle courses, sandpit play, ball games and a whole lot more. This is free time when children can explore and engage in activities which interest them and hopefully find something to help them separate from mum or dad at their drop off time. There's a lot on offer, and if your child wants to play with the trains and they aren't out to play with, we will happily help them say goodbye to you and try to set up their prefered activity where possible. This helps accommodate the various drop off times which parents have, due to work commitments, the school run for older siblings and getting their days underway.
The older children have the job of finding their name tag, choosing a hook and hanging up their bag. This also means putting their drink bottle in the tray and finding a sun hat or beanies to wear in the playground. This gives the children a sense of responsibility over their belonging and helps they develop their self help skills which they'll need in the coming years at big school!
At about 9:30 the older children separate into their class group, where we head inside for their first grouptime of the day. This time of day may include stories, songs and games, news, Letterland, owl of the week sharing, marking the roll and any other important information about sour day! We try to vary this time making it interesting and exciting for the children, adapting our programmes according to the interest of the group.
Every child is allocated news time over a fortnightly basis, and the children love it because they get to show or talk to their peers about something they have brought in. News is great for social and language skills and we can often turn news into a project or group activity.
Owl of the week is something else that we pride ourselves on. Being the owl of the week is very special time for the children and they are always eager to have their turn at being the helper and the leader of the lines- each child gets a whole week of this duty. During this week the child gets to take home and look after our class toy owls "little hoot/hootabelle" this means taking them to swimming lessons or the doctors, to do the food shopping or even just snuggling on the couch with that child's family.
It's a great way of making connections between kindy, home and the community. Another great part of owl of the week is being able to bring in a box full of toys and special photos and items to show to everyone. We try to discourage toys throughout the year as they often get lost or broken and the children get upset, so it's a big thing to bring in that special box full of stuff! Finally someone from the child's family is also asked to come in and hang out with the class during the week, this usually involves icing biscuits, reading a story, or even bringing in a fire truck if that's daddy's job! Overall the experience is supposed to foster individuality and make each child feel valued as part of our group.
Morning tea is usually around 10am. We usually eat outside most days but sometimes if the weather is not looking good we'll eat inside. After that we spend some time outside in the playground without the younger kids, this is when we get to run around, build constructions, talk about nature and play games with our friends!
Then, we head back inside to our classroom for more structured activities, this can be anything from painting, Lego, counting games, dancing & dramatic play in the home corner (doctors/hairdressers/ asian restaurant) depending on what we are interested in or learning about. Craft may focus around our letter of the week, our current interests or whatever the children choose on that day. We try to provide a range of materials including clay, crayons, paints, leaves, sticks, feathers, paddle pop sticks, cotton wool or an intriguing combination of all these things to create anything we set our minds to. Some times we will have group activities like cooking or large scale craft, and other time we will have observation based activities whe we are focusing Ina particular skill for the children. We do believe that play is the way to achieve these skills so its always done in a fun and engaging way.
Just before lunch, it's pack up time, (at the beginning of the year, it's quite warm and because we have Ben so busy, we get our beds for a rest). The classrooms are where the children eat, sleep and play so there is lots of practising packing away and keeping our room tidy. If there is a creation or something the children made that they want to show their families or keep for the next day, we try to work around it.. We have been known to have some amazing block structures out for weeks, where the children gradually add and remove bits of them to make them even better!
We have a very varied lunch menu, offering all the requirments of NSW health that rotates weekly for approx 6 weeks. We can cater for children with allergies, and help the fussy eaters with trying foods they may not have at home. All our meals are fresh daily and the main components are fresh fruit and vegies, along with protein and carbohydrates! Of course for the REALLY fussy ones there is always the gourmet vegemite sandwich, so no one ever starves or gets hungry. Fruit is always offered for children who are hungry, andwe only serve milk or water at the centres. The older children are encouraged to use their ever developing self help skills at meal times... Retrieving their drink bottles, scraping their bowls after lunch, stacking their chairs etc... All in preparation for big school!
After lunch it's rest time. Approx 12-45 till 2-00pm. No-one is forced to sleep. We have the lights turned off for earth hour ever day! There is usually restful music playing for the first 40 minutes and then books and quiet activities offered. As we get rid of the formal sleep/rest time, the children get to watch 30mins of a G -rated movie. This allows the teachers to clean up after lunch and prepare the slide show for you to see in the afternoon! Then it's more of the quiet activities like drawing, puzzles and class favorite mobile and klicko.
Sometimes after rest time we might have another group time...again this depends on what we have going on in news, Letterland and owl of the week. This is also a great time to put on our sun read collect any craft that needs to go home. Then it' s outside for afternoon tea usually at 3pm. If its someone's birthday and they have brought in cakes, then we have the celebration at this time too. Sometimes our siblings from the younger class join us for this meal, it's great to see you big brother or little sister!!
The day will be rounded out with one more healthy bout of outside time with all the children. As the day winds down, around 4.30pm (later in summer), we pack away slowly and it's back to indoor games, drawing, constrcution and more while we wait for our families to come and pick us up. Our centre closes at 6pm (sharp!!)
There's nothing typical about what we do from one day to the next - it could include a visit from the lizard man with his plethora of snakes, frogs and other reptiles, a visit to the park for a game of soccer, a grandpa with his bowls set, it could be bike week, we could be starting a veggie patch, we might be hatching baby ducklings, or we could have a yoga lesson. t's the perfect balance of fun, exercise, learning, resting and eating well. We love when our families come in to visit and talk to us about what they do for their work etc!