Our centre operates a government funded 4 year old kindergarten program. Acceptance into the program is from 4-5 years, with our qualified teacher facilitating the programming. This group consists of children going to school the following year (Kindergarten’s 4 to 5 years government funded year) children are required to attend a minimum of 15 hours per week. This group is based in our preschool room.
Kindergarten environments send strong messages to children, parents, families and the community about the kinds of learning that are valued. Therefore, we as teachers focus on purposefully creating environments that are always inviting, flexible and inclusive of our children and our families’ diverse needs abilities and interests. This involves building our own cultural competence and collaborating with our parents and others to ensure that the learning environment reflects all our shared ideas, beliefs and values, cultures and identities.
We also acknowledge the cultural significance of outdoor environments for many of our children, families and the community. We provide a balance of learning experiences in both our indoor and outdoor settings which enables the children to learn in both familiar and new environments. We focus on creating learning environments that invites the children to: wonder, be curious and enthusiastic, and share their joy and excitement. We encourage the children to have fun, relax, and enjoy quiet times, be noisy, also watch from a distance or join in. We want them to feel secure, comfortable, trusted and competent.
We want them to make choices and engage deeply in learning and conversations that are very meaningful to them and reflect on their learning through shared conversations. We encourage them to play independently and also collaborate with others. We want them to be healthy, safe and hygienic and also promote wellbeing. It is important to engage all the senses, including auditory, visual, and kinaesthetic modes, and explore beauty and aesthetics and engage in all the areas of learning and development. We balance the need for a well-planned, organised environment with the children’s rights to make choices and for them to take ownership of their learning.
We pay careful attention to the range and quality of materials available to children, we consider the location and accessibility of materials, and look at the effective use of indoor and outdoor space. We also use a variety of time management techniques to ensure we always allocate time for communicating informally, and occasionally formally, with all the partners in our learning community. For example, we might make time to have a chat with parents or carers at the beginning and end of the day, display our daily planning, organise helpers’ on a roster system, or invite everyone to contribute to diary entries or record messages in our communication book.