Care and Education
The Centre has three Sections:
We firmly believe in the importance of forming partnerships with our families with regard to the care and education of their children and we work very hard to establish a sense of belonging and community within the centre. We maintain an “Open-Door” policy and welcome visits from the children’s parents and family throughout the day, particularly in the Nursery. Parents are invited to share their knowledge of their child with the staff, they are also invited to attend organised family morning/afternoon teas and lunches throughout the year and parent information evenings. These functions provide opportunities to meet and form relationships with other families from the centre and well as providing opportunities for relaxed interactions with our Educators.
Our program uses the “Early Years Learning Framework” (EYLF) a National Curriculum Framework which is an initiative of the Commonwealth Government designed to support the learning of young children. The framwork uses the underlying principles of Belonging, Being and Becoming. Working within this framework we have developed a play-based emergent curriculum for the children that aims to encourage the children to be actively involved in the learning process, to experience a variety of developmentally appropriate activities and materials and pursue their interests.
Communicating and sharing the children’s learning with their parents is something that we value. We do this in the following ways:
Our Educational Intent –. Each room displays their educational intentions and outcomes, and the strategies to meet those intentions in the entrance of their learning space for all to see. This is a working document which forms the basis for future teaching, learning and reflection across the Centre. The Educational Program provides a framework to expand on early education concepts such as resilience, scientific principles, the arts, literacy and mathematical perceptions through the setting of clear intentions. These intentions vary from room to room and reflect each educator’s pedagogical perspective and form the foundation of our educational program.
Our Learning Journeys – We use learning journeys to document the learning that takes place in our educational settings. Alongside our educational program, we display and evaluate these journeys as an ongoing means of programming and learning about each child’s needs and understandings. Learning journeys focus on a varied range of subjects and relevance, and they can be completed as often as relevant. For example, one learning journey could last three months, and another one could last a week. Learning journeys can be based on projects such as dinosaurs or the solar system, or on specific age appropriate concepts such as developing relationships and building confidence. Learning journeys are designed to acknowledge the learning community in a holistic nature and ensure that our educational program is relevant, stimulating and constructive.
Children’s Intentions and summaries – At the beginning of each year Educators and parents work together to develop age appropriate and meaningful intentions for each child. Strategies are developed to support each child in meeting these intentions and their progress is regularly assessed, summarised and then documented in their learning journals throughout the year. Intentions are designed to help all children reach their full potential.
Learning Journals – At the beginning of each year the children are assigned a personal Learning Journal which is then gifted to them at the end of the year. These Journals aim to document each child’s unique learning experience and provide parents with a deeper insight into their encountered learning. These Journals share photos, artworks, meaning making, meaningful observations, individual educational summaries and shared learning journeys.
At UPCCC children have a collaborative say in their educational experience. Children are encouraged to participate, reflect and contribute to their personal Journals and learning stories, enhancing the content of the program and future planning and learning.
At UPCCC we take pride in the progressive nature of our Centre. Our dedication for developing educational, authentic and open-ended programs whilst maintaining a welcoming and nurturing environment. We are always looking at how we can incorporate innovative programs that will enhance our everyday practice and community focus.
Music Engagement Program (MEP)
Susan and her team from the ANU Music Engagement Program visit us weekly and sing with our children and any of the parents who what to join in. The MEP is based on a social philosophy of shared, active music making known as the Music Outreach Principle. It promotes, but does not demand, high-level skills, and does not require expensive instruments or equipment to be effective. It offers an on-going musical pathway for all, regardless of perceived talent or previous experience. Skill development occurs as a natural by-product of joyful engagement, where performance is a stress-free part of the outreach approach.
Mel one of our Educational Leaders who has a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) and is a qualified Yoga instructor runs a Yoga program with the children. Through participation in the Yoga program children develop physical benefits such as strength, coordination, balance and flexibility. Yoga also helps children’s psychological development by focusing their mind and strengthening their concentration, attention span and memory.
The Yoga classes teach children to be self-aware of their bodies to ensure that the exercises that they do feel good for them. The classes are dynamic and flexible and above all fun.
Clear Minded for Life Program
This is an Australian based international organisation that teaches clear mind techniques to children. Due to its simple nature, the program brings a great sense of calm to children and adults alike. The Clear Minded For Life program is designed to assist children to develop the ability to understand the way their brain functions, as well as assisting them to better understand their world. Emphasis is also placed on empowering them to self regulate and respond to their own emotions.
This program teaches the children how to breathe with focus and how their breath can assist them to find calm. Deep breaths are used to bring more oxygen into the brain allowing for higher sensory processing to focus, concentrate, interact and learn more easily, at home, school or any situation.
UPCCC is now implementing this program with the Preschool children alongside our yoga program. With clear intentions on mindfulness, self regulation, focus and empowerment this program integrates breath and body movement similar to our yoga program.
The clear Minded for life program is also a part of our school ready program, with an emphasis on focus and empowerment in school environments.
UPCCC has established a connection with Deakin King Swim to provide a swimming program that is available to our Preschool children. We feel that teaching the children water confidence skills is very important not only for the fact that drowning is a common cause of death in young children each year in Australia, but also because research has shown that children who attend swimming lessons reach key milestones in their development much earlier than their peers. Professor Robyn Jorgensen from Griffith Institute for Educational Research conducted research over a three- year period and surveyed 7000 children from Australia, New Zealand and America. This research concluded that children actively engaged in swimming achieved significantly better results in the areas of social, physical, emotional and intellectual development. As well as achieving physical milestones faster, children also scored significantly better in visual-motor skills such as cutting paper, colouring-in and drawing lines and shapes, many mathematics-related tasks and oral expression. For further information about the study visit the Griffith University site.
Our Indy Dog Program
The Indy program adds to our community focused and home-like environment by bringing the love of a pet into play, values and routines, although it doesn’t end there. As well as being a much loved and valued member of our community some of the additional benefits for the children, staff and families include the development of:
• Nurturing skills
• Gentle and caring behaviour
• Connections and community involvement
• Physical activity
• Animal education and pet ownership
• Resilience and overcoming associated fears
• Immune systems and allergy resistance
• Other learning areas such as literacy development
• Being, belonging and becoming
A bit about Indy
Indy is a one year old female Siberian Husky. Siberian Huskies are very social animals that make great child and family dogs. They are considered great playmates, gentle, cuddly and are enthusiastic by nature. As well as attending puppy school, Indy has been heavily socialised with both children and dogs since she was very young. Indy loves it here and we love having her!
KidsMatter – Early Childhood
From January 2010 to December 2011 our centre was involved in a two year pilot for ”KidsMatter Early Childhood” which is a Mental Health and Wellbeing initiative for young children. This involvement provided us with valuable insights into children’s mental health and wellbeing.
These insights continue to be incorporated into our everyday programs