At Wantirna South ELC we take a tailored and holistic approach to learning that focuses on the developmental needs and interests of each child. We are guided by the Early Years Learning framework of Australia and our unique educational curriculum works on the theory of emergent and inquiry project-based learning. Our curriculum gives every child the opportunity to engage in meaningful and purposeful learning experiences that will help each child grow and evolve to their full potential. Wantirna South ELC follows the Early Years Learning Framework including the principles, practices and learning outcomes to ensure that the educational program and practice of educators are child-centric, stimulating and that they maximise opportunities for enhancing and extending each child’s learning and development. Our curriculum includes a program that builds on children’s individual knowledge, strengths, ideas, culture, abilities and interests which is likely to have long term benefits for children and for the broader society. We are guided in the development of our curriculum by the National Quality Standard & Framework. The National Quality Standard (NQS) sets a high national benchmark for early childhood education and care and outside school hours care services in Australia. The NQSF includes 7 quality areas that are important outcomes for children.

Inquiry-based learning

Inquiry-based learning promotes the child’s role in the learning process and invites them to actively engage with an idea or topic as opposed to passively sitting and listening to a teacher. The overall goal of an inquiry-based approach is for students to make meaning of what they are learning about and to understand how a concept works in a real-world context. The inquiry approach is sometimes known as project-based or experiential learning. To learn about a topic, children are encouraged to explore resources, ask questions and share ideas. The teacher helps the child to apply new concepts to different contexts, which allows them to discover knowledge for themselves by exploring, experiencing, questioning and discussing as they go.

Project work & investigations

Through play and learning at Wantirna South ELC, we allow children to build on their understanding of their world, through different experiences. Project based learning provides children with an opportunity to investigate and explore an area of interest. This includes inquiry-based projects; these projects will vary in length and will last for as long as the child is showing interest in the topic. The project can be viewed through many aspects of the environment, such as through drawing and sculpting, dance and movement, painting and pretend play, modelling and music, ensuring each child is given the opportunity to explore and use all of their senses and languages or approaches to learning. At Wantirna South ELC, we take an intentional approach to teaching and learning. To help deliver appropriate intentional teaching, each room has a project occurring throughout the year, which will change and evolve over time, depending on the children and their interaction and involvement with the project. It is our belief that children are confident and capable learners and that projects give children an opportunity to engage in inquiry-based play, to investigate and discover an area of personal interest and provide children with the power to construct their own learning.

Primary Care System

At Wantirna South ELC, we take a primary caregiver approach to each child’s early learning journey. The aim is for a primary teacher/educator to develop deep knowledge and understanding around each individual child’s needs in the home and family context; and build on these shared understandings into daily practices and meaningful learning experiences. The primary caregiver approach enables children to feel settled and happy and more confident to explore, and as a result become more capable learners. Working with children in this way allows the educator to ‘tune in’ better to children’s play and their conversations, to really get to know the children in their group well. This is essential in delivering a curriculum that emerges with the child’s interests and stage of development. Our primary care system is tailored for each room and children’s developmental stage and needs. Each teacher has takes responsibility for establishing and maintaining close reciprocal relationships with a small group of children and their families and communicating with them daily.

What does primary care look like?

One teacher is primarily caring for a small group of children and takes responsibility for the child’s overall well-being. They will bond with the child through special care moments, such as arrivals and meal times. For the children this is the person they ‘bond’ with and build a close and trusting relationship. It also means that one person will be there for the child and respond to their needs and care for them. For the parents and family, it means they will build a relationship with an educator and will feel comfortable with leaving their child and passing on important information about their child. The primary care educator is someone with whom both parents and child can build a close and trusting relationship.

School Transition & Contemporary Learning

Our school readiness program aims to prepare your child for school and beyond by developing the foundational skills for formal learning prior to starting school. This is essential in developing capable and confident, lifelong learners. We also focus on emotional intelligence and core values that include: respect, kindness, empathy, perseverance, patience and courage,  curiosity, resilience and a sense of agency as well as gratitude and inclusion. A smooth transition to school for you and your child is important to us. At Wantirna South ELC, we believe that when children are confident, school will be a positive and rewarding experience for them. As your child moves through their early years, the transition to formal schooling is one of their most significant milestones. Preparing your child for the transition to school and their future doesn’t just happen in the year before school, it happens from the day they are born. Through our contemporary early learning Curriculum, we scaffold children’s learning through a wide range of experiences that set them up for lifelong learning.