Kindergarten Program

Overview

“Our task is to help children communicate with the world using all their potential, strengths and languages, and to overcome any obstacle presented by our culture”

– Loris Malaguzzi

Little Groms Kindergarten Program currently caters for up to 27 children between the ages of 3 and 5 years of age, facilitated by a team of Teachers with a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education Degree.

The Little Groms philosophy is founded upon loving and respectful relationships between staff children and families. It is from this foundation that we can provide a platform for children to venture confidently into the big wide world of wonder and discovery and learning that awaits.

We aim to provide environments and experiences that entice the imagination and create irresistible invitations for learning through play. Many of these enriching experiences are drawn from the children themselves. The children are seen and heard and their learning made visible through a strong arts program that enables children to create meaningful expressions using a wide and varied array of mediums. Our teachers support a Reggio-inspired, inquiry-based approach to learning whereby we endeavour to foster deep learning through project work. Our materials are often repurposed or recycled as we value sustainability and desire for the children to realise that the whole world is an opportunity for discovery and play.

We believe that nature provides the richest playground for children. Little Groms Kinder is filled with natural materials as well as an engaging and challenging playground. A kitchen garden program that incorporates vegetable gardens, composting, worm farms and chickens which inform our daily program with rich and real life learning. The mud pit and tree house invite hands on dramatic and adventure play in the outdoors. To further encourage children’s exploration of nature and the community around them, Little Groms runs a dedicated Bush and Beach Kinder program where children regularly visit nearby bush scapes and beach fronts to walk and connect with our local community. These connections to the land and natural environment allow the children to develop authentic connections that naturally evolve into a desire to learn about sustainable practices.

We aim to foster mindfulness in our learning community. This is supported by providing meaningful rituals throughout the program such as meditation, yoga, meal-time and welcome rituals. Mindfulness is also integrated into our language and in all the ways that we support developing relationships and play. It is about being deeply connected to, nurturing and nourishing the child as a whole-being: Body, mind soul and spirit. Learning dispositions such as generosity, kindness, trust and respect are essential and infused into all aspects of our teaching and learning programs. We value slow learning and recognise that every child’s journey to growth and development occurs at its own unique and natural pace.

Our loving staff work hard behind the scenes to craft learning experiences that take these building blocks to grow your children’s potential, strengths, resilience, friendship, thinking & wellbeing. All children come with their own valuable ideas, experiences, thoughts and observations of the world. We seek to extend on the beauty, vitality and wonder of the children’s own rich personal experiences through all aspects of our programs.

Educational Program

The learning environment and educational program at Little Groms adopts a multi-disciplinary approach that is inspired by the works of Reggio Emilia, whilst interweaving the Victorian Framework (VEYLDF) and the Aboriginal 8 Ways of Learning (A8WOL) overarching a strong foundation of health, wellbeing and mindfulness. Our learning environment is stimulating, scaffolding and provokes thinking and learning through open ended play and group project-based learning experiences.

In line with our philosophy (please see bottom of page for link) we embrace and acknowledge the Wadawurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land in which we teach, learn and play. We embrace natural resources and sustainability within our learning environment and program and strive to actively educate and provide experiences for our children to wonder, discover and learn about Aboriginal Culture. Beach and Bush kinder heavily influence our learning program, taking the children on journeys of discovery to our local community bush reserves and beach fronts to form additional outdoor classrooms.

Forming relationships within a child’s community to form that sense of belonging is very important in the early years. In order to support our little learners, and to connect with our community, we include regular community outings and excursions into our program. These include, but are not limited to, regular visits to Ocean Mist Retirement Village, Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Queenscliff Discovery Centre, Urban Upcycle and local parks and community centres. We LOVE to discover and investigate on our local community walks which can take us to a variety of places, the library, post office, whole food supermarkets and peaches, the possibilities are endless!

It is important to understand that at Little Groms, our educational program is child centred and utilises a child-directed and experiential learning environment that is relationship driven and supported.

Transition to School

Transitions for any ages, including adults, can be a difficult time and may bring about uncertainty, confusion and can be somewhat overwhelming. Little Groms has a transition to school policy that ensures we support our children and families through one of the toughest periods of time in a child’s life. A positive start to formal schooling will lead to better learning and wellbeing outcomes for your child, both during the transition period and throughout their primary school journey and beyond. ‘A smooth transition helps to support your child’s continuity of learning and development and supports them to feel secure, confident and connected to new people and places’ (DET 2018).

Little Groms supports our children’s transition to school by providing opportunities to participate in transition to school programs and activities that will help both the child, and their family, to get a better understanding of what school is like, also making new connections and relationships with peers and their families. We network closely with our surrounding schools to ensure we have transparent, respectful and networking relationships to continue to offer support to our children and families. Our learning program at Little Groms, during the year directly before school, is designed and facilitated to ensure your child is ‘ready for school’. We provide a learning environment that fosters independence, supports social and emotional skills, enhances the development of physical skills and provides the children with the opportunities to engage in numeracy and literacy experiences through enquiry and research-based projects.

Toward the end of the year, our Kindergarten Teachers will involve you in the ‘Transition Learning and Development Statement’ process. This involves the Kindergarten Teacher creating a report type document in consultation with parents to provide to the school, acting as an extra vehicle of information sharing throughout the transition process. Our aim is to make Transition to School a seamless, smooth and enjoyable one for all that are involved.

PHILOSOPHY