Dr Stacey Fox of the Mitchell Institute says, “All of the evidence shows that two years of high-quality preschool is one of the best ways to amplify children’s learning and development”. The report Pre-school – Two years are better than one, stated that “It is time for Australia to pursue a national commitment to ensuring that all 3 year olds have access to high-quality early education by offering a second year of preschool.
This viewpoint is supported by the Federal Education Minister and the South Australian Premier, who both are looking at ways to invest in the additional year of preschool.
There have been many studies to see what the advantages of two years of pre-school are. Here are some of the findings –
- A High Quality Pre- Kindergarten program prepares children to take maximum advantage of their 4 year old Kindergarten year which concentrates on developing “School Ready Skills”. Younger children develop many skills through close association with their older peers.
- The Early Years Learning Framework, with its emphasis on learning through play, ensures that planned activities are age appropriate, and based on the individual interests and skill levels of the children.
- Preschool activities have an emphasis on the Social, Emotional Development of each child. Children learn best in a caring environment where these skills are encouraged. Children learn how to interact with others, to make friends, to take turns, to empathise, to resolve conflict constructively, and to identify and control their emotions. Children develop self- esteem, and belief in their own capabilities through practising self-help skills, and helping to care for the indoor and outdoor environment.
- Pre-school teachers are trained to identify, and to work with children who have additional needs. The earlier these needs are identified and planned for, the less children will fall behind peers at school.
- Through interacting with Early Childhood teachers, and participating in group times and programmed activities, language and cognitive skills are promoted. Kindergartens are language rich environments. Children are involved in discussions, answering questions, early literacy activities and letter recognition, stories and singing. New words are introduced through hands on science, maths, environmental awareness and creative activities.
- Children’s creativity and innovative thinking is enriched by art, craft, constructing, dress-ups, pretend play. The routine is flexible, and teachers value children’s spontaneous ideas for play. Mathematic and logic skills are developed through a wide range of activities such as using Montessori equipment, building with blocks, railway tracks, farm sets, sorting, ordering, comparing and fitting together.
- The Preschool environment is designed to develop motor skills and physical fitness. Children are encouraged to participate in activities which develop fine motor skills needed for writing. In the outdoor environment children can run, hop, skip, slide and swing, ride bikes, develop ball skills, dig in the sand and dirt, and construct with large blocks.
- Preschool teachers stimulate children’s curiosity and desireto learn and find out how things work. They encourage children to be creative, and to investigate and solve problems. They observe children’s interests, and plan activities to help them answer their own questions.
- Preschool is a safe, happy, friendly, nurturing environment, where children have fun. They have opportunities to make decisions and to try out their own ideas in a relaxed, supportive environment.
Visit your chosen Pre-school to ensure that you are confident that the educators will nurture your child and cater for his or her individual needs. Directors and educators will answer your questions and concerns, and explain the program, routines, and how they can partner with you to promote optimal outcomes for your child.
Montessori at Brooklyn Park Private Kindergarten
In this post I would like to give you a brief introduction to the Montessori education method and philosophy. We believe that the Montessori philosophy blends well with our centre philosophy, and the Montessori education method aligns well with our exceptional preschool program. Children will have enhanced school readiness through using the hands-on materials for learning letters and mathematical concepts, and through experiencing the wider Montessori curriculum.
The Montessori Method of education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is a child-centred educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood. Dr. Montessori’s Method has been time tested, with over 100 years of success in diverse cultures throughout the world.
It sees children as naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment. It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, cognitive.
Montessori students learn to think critically, work collaboratively, and act boldly—a vital skill set for the 21st century.
Montessori education offers children opportunities to develop their potential as they step out into the world as engaged, competent, responsible, and respectful citizens with an understanding and appreciation that learning is for life.
Each child is valued as a unique individual. Montessori education recognises that children learn in different ways, and accommodates all learning styles. Students are also free to learn at their own pace, each advancing through the curriculum as he/she is ready, guided by the teacher and an individualised learning plan.
Beginning at an early age, Montessori students develop order, coordination, concentration, and independence. Classroom design, materials, and daily routines support the individual’s emerging self-regulation.
Students are part of a close, caring community. The multi-age classroom resembles a family structure. Older students enjoy being mentors and role models; younger children feel supported and gain confidence. Teachers model respect, loving kindness, and a belief in peaceful conflict resolution.
Montessori students enjoy freedom within limits. Working with their teachers, students are active participants in deciding what their focus of learning will be. The child’s curiosity and interest results in joyous learning.
Students are supported in becoming active seekers of knowledge. Teachers provide environments where students have the freedom and the tools to pursue answers to their own questions.
Self-correction and self-assessment are an integral part of the Montessori education. As they mature, students learn to look critically at their work, and become adept at recognising, correcting, and learning from their errors.
In this section of work, children find materials and exercises from their every day life – eg. pouring water from a jug to a glass, or learning how to tie a shoelace. These activities help children’s independence.
Activities in this section allow children to refine each of their senses. They will appreciate color or texture differences, organise objects in the environment and refine their sense of pitch from the music they hear .
Children are taught language through a progression of lessons. They first learn the different sounds in a word. Children then learn language phonetically. Later they learn the different “rules” in language and the exceptions to those rules. They will learn to spell and read fluently.
Children first learn to count from 1-10 through understanding the concept that those numbers represent a specific amount. Progressing through the materials children will learn addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and truly understand what each one means in a deeper sense. Montessori offers the child a strong and solid foundation in the understanding of mathematics.
The Cultural area of the Montessori classroom covers a variety of subjects. Geography, Science, Botany, Zoology, and History are included. Art and Music are also considered a part of the Cultural Area of the classroom. Maria felt that having knowledge and understanding of such subjects is what makes one a “cultured” person.
Sites on the internet that have videos of the materials, and explanations of the equipment are –
American Montessori Society (2017) https://amshq.org/Montessori-Education/Introduction-to-Montessori/Benefits-of-Montessori, Montessori Australia Foundation (2017) https://montessori.org.au/about-montessori
Montessori Australia Foundation (2017) https://montessori.org.au/montessori-materials
Congratulations to Tanya, Tamara, Kara and Emma
In her recent visit to Brooklyn Park Private Kindergarten, the assessor from the Education and Early Childhood Services Registration and Standards Board of South Australia, awarded The highest possible rating of the National Quality Standard to the Centre.
Not only did the centre achieve Exceeding the National Quality Standard in all of the 7 areas assessed, it also achieved Exceeding in all 59 of the subcategories – a rare result, especially for a new centre.
Parents can rest assured that their children are receiving the best possible education and care while attending the Centre.
Brooklyn Park, and our sister centre, Glandore Private Kindergarten and Child Care Centre, continually strive for quality improvement in all areas of our operations.
Parents are encouraged to develop partnerships with our centres, to give us feedback and advice to enable us to continue improving.
At our recent A.G.M. for the South Australian branch of the Australian Childcare Alliance, the guest speaker was Dr Ron Somers, who presented his research into Safe Sleeping for babies. Sadly, there have been several research studies in the last decades identifying soft mattresses as a cause of sudden infant death syndrome – SIDS. If safe sleeping surfaces for babies had been regulated, many of these deaths would not have occurred.
Dr Somers, who lectures at the University of Adelaide, was one of the leading developers of a new standard to specify firmness of baby mattresses. This is so far only a voluntary standard, but he is hoping that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will adopt it as a regulated requirement for Australian suppliers.
“A baby sleeping on a surface that is too soft has more than 3 times the chance of dying from sudden infant death than one sleeping on a surface tested to this new Australian standard”, says Dr Somers. “There is often an assumption that the firmness of baby products is regulated but, alarmingly, it isn’t”. Dr Somers continues, “This is an oversight and an area of infant safety that has been neglected.”
For parents who are using existing mattresses and equipment, Dr Somers has developed an informal test that can be conducted by parents at home, using common household objects such as two cartons of milk or juice and a stack of DVDs to measure the firmness of a sleeping surface (see above video and also Identifying a properly firm Infant Matress) He has also developed a “firmometer” for this test. Dr Somers website is Secure Beginnings
At our Glandore Centre, we have an ongoing testing program of the firmness of our baby mattresses. We have purchased a firmometer to do this. Any mattresses which do not pass the quarterly test are replaced.
We believe that it is so important that babies sleep safely that we are making the firmometer available to parents to test their own mattresses. Talk to Tanya to arrange to borrow the guage.
SIDS and Kids also recommends parent’s follow the ‘Sleep Safe, My Baby‘ guidelines to reduce the risk of sudden infant death and to create a safe sleeping environment.
- Sleep baby on the back from birth, not on the tummy or side, sleep at bottom of cot
- Sleep baby with head and face uncovered
- Keep baby smoke free before birth and after
- Provide a safe sleeping environment night and day
- Sleep baby in their own safe sleeping place in the same room as an adult care-giver for the first six to twelve months
- Breastfeed baby if possible
- No soft mattresses, bumpers or soft toys
Download a pdf brochure on Safe Sleeping from Kidsafe
Please share this information with other families with babies.
Now that we have started our Facebook Page, we will use it to keep parents informed of upcoming events, and about the activities the children are engaged in.
We also use the Parent Portal to share children’s learning stories, and the check out system to inform about daily events.
We have decided to use this page to share information about topics of interest to parents and educators. Please give us feedback about our communication methods, and let us know if they are working for your family. Also please give us feedback about the articles. We would welcome suggestions for topics.
Also use our Pinterest Page to further explore topics, and find ideas for children’s activities, food, development, and parenting topics.
Wednesday 17th June, 6.00pm to 7.00 pm
We hope you are coming to our first Parent Evening. You are welcome to bring friends who may be interested in the best way to use IT with preschoolers.
This will be an interactive evening, so bring your IPads and tablets. Let us know if you don’t have an IPad, and we will try to arrange one for your use.
We will share current research and recommendations for using I.T. with young children. We will discuss the pros and cons, and include some ideas of how to select programs and apps wisely.
There will be some food and care for your children if you are bringing them, and light refreshments for adults.
Please let us know you are coming so we can cater for you and your children.
Term Project – Healthy Eating
Last week we continued our exploration of healthy foods by being “Taste Detectives”. We have been investigating using the colours of the rainbow. Each week we have looked at different coloured fruits and vegetables. Last week we discovered white and brown fruits and vegetables.
The children have been encouraged to try using hammers and nails, and they enjoyed this activity. As a result of this play based learning, they are developing gross and fine motor skills, concentration and persistence.
Gardening and Sustainability
When we planted vegetables in our front garden, we
transferred some worms to help improve the soil.