At St Mary’s Community of Learners we believe that the early years of life are the most significant years for learning. We provide positive guidance and learning experiences that optimize growth and development and the potential for future success in learning.
Our aim is to provide children with a high quality education that embraces the vision of the Early Years Learning Framework, Belonging, Being and Becoming, Each child is respected, valued and their uniqueness celebrated with their strengths and interests forming the basis of our learning program. This is known as an Emergent Curriculum and is considered to be the most effective means of educating young children.
We have developed this view from our past experiences with past educators and collaborative knowledge from both past and present families and educators. We believe children are capable and competent, and are active participants in their own learning. We have high expectations with regard to what the children are able to accomplish and we believe that children are able to make their own meaning of the world around them. We believe every child is unique and each has a voice that has an equal right to be heard. All children learn from their experiences and we recognise that families are the first and most influential educators of their children. We value diversity and encourage children to respect differences and develop capacity for viewing the world around them.
Our learning program is challenging and flexible. We provide a nurturing, inclusive environment where children feel safe, supported and respected. Children engage in activities on their own terms. The learning environment is play-based where children have a wide variety of activities to engage in at any one time encompassing a range of abilities and skills. An integral component of our program is relationships. We strive to establish positive relationships with all families as we work towards the mutual goal of helping children achieve the best possible outcomes.
Our responsibility as educators is to build upon the children’s knowledge. Our practices include listening and responding to the children and extending on their ideas and thoughts through our observations which then enrich our program. We continually reflect on our practices, using resources and effective support networks available in the wider community. By working collaboratively with parents and educators we achieve the best possible outcomes for our learners.
St Mary’s Community of Learners is licensed to operate under the following guidelines:
- The Care and Protection of Children Act (2007)
- The Care and Protection of Children (Children’s Services) Regulations (2009)
- The Quality Improvement and Accreditation System (QIAS)
- National Childcare Accreditation Council (NCAC) Childcare Quality Assurance Systems
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Belonging, Being and Becoming – The National Early Learning Framework
- Operational Plans, policies and procedures
- Community of Learners Philosophy
These regulations, policies and procedures are available for you to read.
When you arrive and leave the Centre, your child will need to be signed in and out. The sign in book is located above the children’s lockers. If someone different is picking up your child from the Centre, please inform staff as it needs to be noted on the enrolment form. People who are not known to staff will need to show a driver’s license for ID. Parents should tell the service of their child’s inability to attend (for sickness or holidays) as soon as this is known. Failure to do this may incur the day’s fees. Parents are reminded that there are 30 days allowed absences for holidays or illness.
Parents/guardians are encouraged to immunise their children against all diseases appropriate to the age of the child’s age. Each child’s immunization status is to be recorded on the child’s enrolment form. A record of the child’s current immunization record will be kept at the school front office. Children not immunized will be excluded from care during outbreaks of some infectious diseases in accordance with the National Health and Medical Research Council exclusion guidelines even if their child is well.
Families seeking Childcare Assistance for the first time for a child who is less than 7 years old will need to meet immunization requirements.
Children are encouraged to visit the Centre for short periods with their parent/caregiver up to three times before the commencement of care. This helps to ensure your child is comfortable with the environment, has been introduced to staff and will recognize some familiar faces among children. Please contact the Centre to arrange a suitable time for these visits.
Children do not need to bring food to the Centre as all meals are provided, however some children like to bring a small snack with them. We have a healthy food policy, so if your child is doing this please ensure that chips, biscuits and snack bars be kept at home for special treats. Foods that are okay to bring to the Centre include fruit, a sandwich or crackers. Please do not send peanuts or peanut butter, as some children have food allergies. If your child has a food allergy and/or special dietary requirements, please ensure this is noted on the enrolment form and discussed with staff so that these needs can be catered for.
Please put a spare change of clothes (or two) in your child’s bag in case they get wet or dirty and dress your child in old clothes, all ready for their busy day at work. Please name everything – clothes, shoes, hats, bags, lunchboxes and water bottles. This helps the staff to support your child while they are learning how to take care of their possessions.
We have a Sun smart policy at the Centre, whereby children need to wear hats when outside and preferably shirts that have sleeves for protection from the sun. Children are able to bring swimwear for water play experiences but must wear a sun shirt or T-shirt over their swimwear. Also, please dress your child in clothing that is suitable for playing and messy experiences. Aprons are worn for art activities but this provides no guarantee that your child’s clothing will remain clean! Shorts and T-shirts are great. They are comfortable, provide protection from the sun and are practical for playing, dancing, climbing and running.
Your child will be given a locker to place their possessions in once they have commenced care at the Centre. You will also be given a named pocket space to check regularly for newsletters, accounts and any other information.
Programming and planning information is displayed in the centre. This communicates information about the children’s emerging interests and where the current program may be heading. All staff and parents are encouraged to contribute to this.
Please, if you have any concerns, questions or comments about your child or the Centre operation, do not hesitate to approach a staff member. We welcome your interest. More information about all of the above details is described in our Centre’s Operational Plan. This is available for all parents to read.