The educational program at St Mary’s Community of Learners:
- Is based on the Early Years Learning Framework-Being, Belonging and Becoming
- Provides opportunities for free play as well as some structured times
- Provides an Early Learning Program for four year old children beginning school the following year
- Welcomes interaction and participation between the School and the Early Learning Centre
- Provides for excursions where children are able to apply and test knowledge in real life situations
- Recognises the importance of home and family and understands that adults are learners too
- Is inclusive and stimulating and exploration and discovery are valued
- Is both planned and emergent
- Is child-centred, based on the strengths, needs, interests and abilities of children
- Occurs both indoors and outdoors, with a natural flow between the two spaces
- Is play based, but with provisions for formal learning times where children are helped to gain confidence and competence in early literacy, numeracy, science, technology, fine motor skill development and the arts
- Is regularly reflected upon
- Values and includes the contributions of children and families
- Provides opportunities for developing children’s self-expression and confidence in creative art, drama, music, movement and dance
- Is based on the Early Years Learning Framework, Belonging, Being and Becoming
- Recognises, reflects and draws on the work and beliefs of many educational theorists including the Reggio approach, Piaget, Vygotsky and Montessori but most importantly is shaped by the children, families and Staff who make up the Centre.
Early Learning Program for four year olds
Transition between home and the Early Learning environment and later from the Early Learning environment to school are important times in a young child’s life and are managed carefully to take into account each child’s particular separation and attachment needs. During the daily program, the staff assist the children in their transitions between activities or between the indoor and outdoor environments.
The Early Learning Program for four-year-olds is a preschool program offered by our Centre. It assists in preparing children for the transition between the Early Learning environment and school while still remaining play based. It is run by a Qualified Early Childhood Teacher, five sessions/week and is open to all children attending the Centre who turn four by 30 June of that year. An extra stationery/resources levy of $50 per child per term applies.
In partnerships with families, early childhood educators ensure that children have an active role in preparing for transitions. They assist children to understand the traditions, routines and practices of the settings to which they are moving and to feel comfortable with the process of change.” – (Belonging, Being and Becoming, Early Years Learning Framework, 2009, p. 16).
Children attend library and LOTE lessons once a week, they also attend School Assembly on a Friday and Mass once a term.
Our routine is flexible and may change to suit the children’s needs, the weather or to attend school events.
Our Community of Learners day has three breaks: morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. Children gather, prepare and actively participate in the social interaction provided at mealtimes.
Throughout the day planned activities are offered and supervised in keeping with children’s current interest or to maybe provoke an interest. Areas of interest inside include the library area, home corner/ dramatic play area, transport, block construction and quiet soft areas. Outside areas also provide opportunities for creative and dramatic play as well as art and physical activities. These areas are changed regularly for variety in response to programme themes. There is an opportunity for children who need rest to sleep after lunch. Mattresses and a quiet area are provided.
Every child has an individual portfolio in which is placed learning stories, photos and artwork to be viewed by families at any time. When your child leaves the Centre, they are presented with their folder as a record of their time here. We also invite parents to add your “voice” too, by sharing information about your child at regular intervals, about their development, their interests and passions.
Staff actively encourage and value parent participation in our Centre’s management, daily operation and programs. We aim to work as a team by supporting each other’s ideas and respecting feelings. Parents have the right to choose their own level of participation.
All parents are encouraged to participate in the St Mary’s School Parent and Friends meetings which take place on the first Tuesday of each month at 5:30pm. A parent representative from Community of Learners is also elected to St Mary’s School Board. Parents often gather each Friday for morning tea after assembly at 9:00am. These meetings provide a time for parents to meet each other in a relaxed environment.
Families are encouraged to bring items from home to enrich our educational program. These include boxes, egg shells, dried grasses/flowers, leather, ice-cream/yoghurt containers (cleaned); bottle tops, shells, driftwood….we make treasures out of anything, except toilet rolls and polystyrene products. Collect them and bring them along. Thank you.
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 are described in our Centre’s Operational Plan. This is available for all parents to read.