St Paul's Lutheran Kindergarten, St Marys, NSW
A Community Service of St Paul's Lutheran Church
“Exceeding National Quality Standards”
under the NSW Department of Education and Communities.
At St Paul's Lutheran Kindergarten we strive to honour children and families in all that we do. We provide a service in which children and families feel that they belong. We advocate childhood as a unique and special time of life in which children have the right to play, learn and express individualism & uniqueness as well as enjoying being children. We believe that we are all (children, caregivers and educators) on a continuous journey of learning and becoming. Genuine, respectful and reciprocal relationships are the foundations of our service. We believe in high quality care and education for all children within our community and we will reflect and incorporate the needs of our families, staff and the community in order to create a supportive and nurturing environment for all who utilise our service. Our Christian ethos and commitment underlies the centre's philosophy of providing quality care and education.
We provide a program that is exciting, challenging, stimulating, safe and inclusive, drawing upon the needs and interests of the children, families and educators. Our program supports and reflects the Early Years Learning Framework and its outcomes, and provides experiences and play based activities that encourage and foster learning and growth in the developmental areas: social, emotional, physical, cognitive, language and cultural diversity. This includes children from Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander families and children from families whose home language is other than English. Supporting children's understanding or reciprocal rights and responsibilities is a strong focus in our play environment and in daily discussions with children. Our practice reflects the communities aspirations for care and education of young children.
We believe Play is essential for children to learn. The best learning experiences for children happen when children choose what they want to do. Through meaningful outcomes based activities, open ended questioning and discussions each child is encouraged to learn developing their own natural curiosity children will develop the skills to become self-confident, self-motivated and self-disciplined. Children will have the opportunity to grow at their own pace and develop a respect for others. Each classroom's main goal is to enhance and engage in high level thinking. Our Centre's overall aim is to allow each child in our care to achieve their potential and to find ways to achieve this creatively. Overall, we hope to create an environment where children can become enthusiastic, inquiring and challenged. Children are encouraged to follow their own interests; to take risks where they become in a sense, the catalyst for their own curriculum and learning. Through exposure to a variety of media and expressive materials children are free to choose, explore, observe, create and learn in a literacy rich environment.
We are committed to creating and promoting a holistic programme that assists the children to become successful learners based on their own abilities and achievements and promotes environmental awareness. Our programme is flexible and adaptable to the strengths, needs and interests of each child on a day-to-day basis. Our centre's overall aim is to allow each child in our care to achieve their potential and to find ways to achieve this creatively.
We recognise children as competent and capable beings who bring to our service a unique set of experiences, hopes and understandings. We acknowledge early childhood as a time of rapid growth and learning. It is also a time for children to explore, to seek and make sense of their world. It is our aim that we make provision for a stimulating environment that nurtures the child and encourages him/her to explore, discover and give expression to their ideas and thoughts within a safe secure setting. Children are strong and knowledgeable and our program uses their previous experiences and interests to challenge, question, discover and grow in the natural environment.
We believe parents/caregivers are the most important people in their children's lives, their first and foremost teachers/educators. Families are welcomed into our program at all times and are encouraged to provide feedback. We value diversity and welcome families and their ethnic backgrounds. We are grateful for the enrichment this diversity adds to our program and service. There are many ways for parents/caregivers to become involved in our service. This involvement is encouraged and supported by the team of educators employed at St Paul's Lutheran Kindergarten. We consider partnerships with families as a fundamental component of children's learning. We value families and build trusting relationships through honest and respectful conversations using communication methods suited to each individual.
As community awareness of environmental issues we are conscious of our carbon footprint and look at ways to minimise our effect on the environment. We aim to provide educators, children, and families' knowledge, skills and attitudes to assist them to become environmentally responsible. Participating in environmentally sustainable activities can encourage children's sense of responsibility and empowerment; children can connect with and embrace the natural world.
We identify educators as being our greatest asset, valuing their individual experiences and qualities. We support our educators in achieving their goals through hands on practical training whilst being mentored by their peers. We develop staffing teams based on strengths, personalities and interests of individuals and consider this approach to provide opportunities for educators to be challenged, achieve and feel successful. As professionals we are committed to staying abreast of current theories and practices and exploring new approaches to teaching and learning. As such the Kindergarten is committed to constant review and evaluation of the quality and structure of its services within the community. The educators at St Paul's Lutheran Kindergarten are caring adults who constantly work at building and maintaining trusting relationships with the children.
As community awareness of environmental issues is ever increasing, we are conscious of our carbon footprint and look at ways to minimise our effect on the environment. We aim to provide educators, children, and families' with knowledge, skills and attitudes to assist them to become environmentally responsible. Participating in environmentally sustainable activities can encourage children's sense of responsibility and empowerment; children can connect with and embrace the natural world.
St Paul's Kindergarten is committed to excellence. We seek to continually refine and improve the service we deliver to the community by keeping informed of current research and putting best practice in early childhood into action every day.
STATEMENT OF GOALS<
- The GOAL of St Paul's Lutheran Kindergarten is the provision of quality child care within a Christian environment for children, families and staff.
- To create an atmosphere that will provide children with an extension of the family, by offering a caring educational programme that will broaden, equip and expand their skills and maximise positive development.
- To provide each child with an environment that engages and supports them in learning, strengthens their resilience, wellbeing and secures their confidence within a developmentally appropriate play based curriculum.
- To promote opportunities to extend all aspects of children's experiences and learning, including cognitive, language and literacy, physical, social, emotional, creative and spiritual strengths and needs within an aesthetically pleasing environment.
- To incorporate The Early Years Learning Framework into our Curriculum and promote the key concepts of Belonging, Being and Becoming.
- To create a partnership with families by promoting links between the centre, home and the community and consistently supporting them in effectively caring for the growth and wellbeing of their children.
- To encourage positive staff relationships through effective communication, inservice training, shared responsibilities and professional teamwork, thereby establishing quality care and service to all families.
- To establish a reflective process by which the present Philosophy, Policies and Procedures can be evaluated, reviewed and updated to achieve positive outcomes for children and their families.
- To establish effective sustainable practices for the service that all stakeholders can be involved in:- educators, children, families and the community.
- To develop a simple understanding of God's love and goodness by example of Christian ethics and by saying of simple prayers (eg Thankfulness for food, friends, health and happiness).
- To encourage an awareness of Christian Celebrations throughout the year including Easter and Christmas.
- To present an awareness of other Cultural Celebrations that are primarily specific to the families attending the centre and includes the wider community.
- To establish a rich environment that allows the children the freedom to make choices from a wide and inclusive variety of materials and equipment that encourages and inspires their interest's, growth, wellbeing and development.
- To provide the children with opportunities to continuously access a range of resources that develop and enhance their understanding and reinforces their sequential learning and which they can associate with the world around them.
- To provide opportunities and experiences that broadens, develops and extends each child's interpersonal relationships through both small and whole group activities.
- To provide the child with a variety of activities that allows them the freedom to explore their own space and interests, make choices and extend their knowledge and development.
- To encourage children to play independently or in groups and to create an environment that fosters quiet comfortable places for them to be with others.
- To present activities that allow the children to follow their own directions within the daily routine, learn ways of co-operating with others, test their problem solving and mathematical abilities, promotes their language and literacy skills, reflects creativity, the expressive arts and their imagination.
- To encourage children as individuals to develop and maintain their relationships with others in small groups and to strengthen their interactions with their peers families, adults and the community at large.
- To encourage children's freedom to participate in play and make choices that will enhance and strengthen their ability to maintain and manage their own behaviour.
- To encourage children to explore freely using a variety of materials, textures and colours and to facilitate self-expression, creativity and imaginative achievements pleasing to their own self esteem.
- To provide an opportunity to experience active enjoyment in all types of music particularly creative expression through movement and dance and experiment with sounds, rhythms and rhymes as well as encouraging appreciation of music from their own and other cultures incorporating multimedia, instruments, dress-up's and drama.
- To provide and facilitate a family friendly atmosphere that partnerships with families and the local community in sharing a common goal for the children and promotes open and effective consultation and communication.
- To base our curriculum around a number of key concepts and focus points reflecting the National Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) Belonging, Being and Becoming.
- To deliver the key principles that guide the EYLF and our own understandings focus on creating an environment where the following are embedded in our practice:
- Secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships - with children, families and colleagues.
- Partnerships - with families, children, early childhood educators and community.
- High expectations and equity - where every child, family and educator is valued and catered for.
- Respect for diversity - where difference is acknowledged and celebrated in respectful ways that enhance our understanding.
- Ongoing learning and reflection - where we as educators take the time to reflect on what and why we do what we and what might change and why.
- To have our key learning outcomes align with the National Early Years Learning Framework and to encompass the following key understandings:
- Children have a strong sense of identity
- Children are connected with and contribute to their world
- Children have a strong sense of wellbeing
- Children are confident and involved learners
- Children are effective communicators.
- To encourage educators to update and maintain their professional development and knowledge by reading current information regarding Early Childhood practices, attending relevant seminars, workshops and in-services, and sharing their information with other team members.
- To provide programmes that promote our Philosophy on a holistic approach to learning, with the recording of observations forming the basis for individual assessment of the children's strengths. To strive to encourage each child's positive self-esteem by assisting them to become successful learners, based on their own abilities in all areas of development.
- To inform all educators of the Philosophy, Policies, Procedures and Programmes in both verbal and written form that are used in the running of the centre including current Early Childhood practices. This will ensure effective communication, promote professional teamwork and enhance interactions and relationships with the children and their families.
- To establish open communication that links the families with the centre and promotes the wellbeing and development of the children, encouraging active sharing and involvement in the programme.
- To provide regular educator meetings that have an agenda that promotes shared ideas, resources and skills on programming procedures that affect the daily running of the service and can be evaluated, reviewed, updated and integrated into the programme. All these procedures will be documented for further consultation.
- To offer opportunities for families and educators to share their perspectives on the implementation of policies and procedures and their impact on outcomes for the children.
- To review the Philosophy annually in consultation with educators, families and management to ensure a balanced reflection of community values.
- To offer opportunities for children, educators and families to learn about and participate in sustainability and sustainable practices.