Learning within a Preschool looks very different from learning in a school classroom. Children engage in play based learning as we believe that children’s play allows them to explore, identify, negotiate, take risks and create meaning. The intellectual and cognitive benefits of playing have been well documented. Children who engage in quality play experiences are more likely to have well-developed memory skills, language development, and are able to regulate their behaviour, leading to enhanced school adjustment and academic learning (Bodrova & Leong, 2005). Every toy, game and activity has a purpose . Educators gather each morning to program and plan and ensure learning is continuous and meaningful. We use children’s interests as a basis for developing skills to enhance the foundations for life. The children will build solid and meaningful relationships with their educators and peers which allows for learning to occur in a safe and supported manner.
Children at Northside Preschool engage with many different learning opportunities. We have 3 main environments; The Art Studio, The Discovery Room and the Outdoor environment. Our routine is such that each class is in the Art Studio whilst the other is in the Discovery Room. All the children engage in the outdoor space together which enhances friendships and allows children to engage in play with others. After morning tea, the children swap rooms, allowing for stimulation and focussed engagement.
The Art Studio – this is where all things creative and messy come alive. Children create with a wide variety of multimedia including paint, play dough, clay, pencils and textas, crayons, water colours, peg boards, threading, paper making, collage and design and all other sorts of creations. Not only does this space facilitate fine motor skills (important for writing in later life) but also enables children to express themselves in a creative way. Children explore cause and effect, story telling and engage in materials that are sensory and stimulating.
The Discovery Room – the focus of this space is to encourage and support children’s social and thinking skills. Children are able to engage in block construction, puzzles, small group games, imaginative play and music. Children’s ideas are the foundation for the activities plans for and prepared and we use the skills and knowledge of each child to facilitate and scaffold learning between peers.
The Outdoors – Hidden away you wont believe the beautiful, natural and physically challenging play space we have created with generous support of families past and present through fundraising efforts. The children have a large space in which to explore, climb, run, balance and be. There is a digging patch with a water feature for mud making, 2 large sandpits, a cubby house, climbing logs, stepping stones and a bridge for climbing over and under. Recent additions include a native bee hive, edible gardens and water pump (using rainwater). Social skills are developed through the various interactions the children have with one another and they explore and develop their gross motor skills as they manoeuvre through the different spaces. 2 vegetable gardens have been created and the children care for the plants on a daily basis. A large dry creek bed flows down the garden and during the warmer days the children enjoy adding water and discovering how it moves.
Wherever possible we provide natural, open-ended materials for the children to engage with to enhance their thinking and creativity skills and imagination.
Our educational team connect with local schools to ensure the children are supported throughout the transition to school.
Pre-literacy and pre-numeracy skills are developed through reading of stories, singing, dancing, games, and print throughout the environment.
Each child’s unique culture is fostered and families are always welcomed to share with the Preschool aspects of their culture which is relevant to them.
Sustainability is a huge factor in our daily lives at Preschool and we are proud to be members of ECEEN (NSW Early Childhood Environmental Network) and Better Business Partnerships.