Both the Pre-Kinder and the Kinder Programs work within the Early Years Learning Framework (a National Curriculum) and the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (a State curriculum). The educators plan the program using the Principles and Practices of these documents and work towards the Outcomes for children as set out in them. To understand more of how these documents inform and assist the educators to plan for children in the kindergarten please search this website for Curriculum documents.
Our Pre-Kinder (3 year old) program is designed to introduce the children to the kindergarten and their peers in the year before their funded year of kindergarten (four year old). The children can attend one or both of our 2½ hour sessions which are currently held on Wednesday and Friday mornings from 8.30am – 11.00am. The sessions are delivered by Miss Andrea with the assistance of Miss Ellen and Miss Yuli and are play based, individualised to the children’s needs and full of fun activities with a small amount of formal sitting down for group time at the end. The children can enjoy both the indoor and outdoor environment, choosing where they would like to play, with supervision and guidance by the three educators and volunteer parents who are in the space at the time. The children are able to have some fruit which is prepared by the volunteer parents, and are encouraged to be independent in carrying out their choice of activity.
For many, Pre-Kinder is the first time that some children have left Mum and Dad to stay by themselves and for some this takes a little settling. Our educators are very experienced and caring when it comes to settling the children and it doesn’t take long for smiles to return. The 2½ hour session goes quickly and parents are reassured that all is well and their children are happy.
The children are encouraged to learn to sit and listen in a group situation and are usually very captivated by the songs, stories and other activities in which they take part whilst on the mat and they learn to pay attention for up to 20 minutes.
Parents are encouraged to help out from time to time with supervision and some minor domestic duties to keep the kinder clean and healthy. It is also a great time to watch children playing with each other and understand what happens during a session as well as communicating with educators.
Our Kinder Program (4 year old) runs over the whole week with each child attending 15 hours on three of the five sessions offered. Miss Chris delivers the funded program with assistance from Miss Ellen, Miss Yuli and Miss Katrina. The sessions are a combination of early start (9.00am – 2.00pm) and late start (11.15am – 4.15pm) allowing the children to experience kinder life at both ends of the day.
Again the program is play based and the children may choose where they would like to play and learn – either inside or outside. Educators are always supervising both areas and are available to the children to help them make decisions about their play and resource themselves for activities with equipment and suggestions. Each child is valued as an important individual on a very special developmental journey and educators enjoy helping every one to find their skills and strengths and what motivates them to learn.
The program changes depending of where the children are taking it, but there are some things which remain constant. The children are exposed to a literacy rich environment and encouraged to take an interest in books and words around them, and educators are always ready to read to an individual or group of children. Children are also exposed to musical experiences, with the day saturated by songs, musical instruments and rhythmic activities. Imagination is encouraged with areas like the home corner with dress ups and role play equipment. Blocks are always a favourite activity and the block corner is usually buzzing, not to mention the various construction equipment like Lego and Wedgits which are also popular.
The educators are always looking to prepare the children in the Kinder program for their next big adventure – school. Helping the children to develop confidence in the kinder setting, resilience and cooperative skills in the social setting and some physical skills with fine and gross motor muscles will benefit them as they begin Prep in the following year. School readiness is not about knowing the alphabet and how to count- those are things which will come when the children are ready, usually once they have begun school. Being ready for school is about being confident to step out and take a risk to do something new, like learning how to read, how to make a calculation or approach a potentially new friend.
One of the ways that this is accomplished is by providing the children with experiences that they may not normally have through our extensive range of incursions and excursions. Taking the children into the community to the various schools and community facilities such as the art gallery and library, assists them to develop listening skills and follow instructions from people other than the kinder staff in a safe and supportive environment. Incursions such as a visit from the Mobile Zoo or fire truck provide valuable education and hands on experiences which are well remembered. We also aim to provide family times with Grandparents morning teas, concerts and Dad’s nights. The children are kept busy and challenged with the many and varied activities provided by incursions and excursions.
Everything offered as part of the rich and motivating program at North Hamilton Kindergarten ultimately builds the confidence that we are aiming to achieve in every kinder child. We are “growing happy children”.