Myth busting: ‘day care kindy isn’t proper kindy’
Author: Kristen Phillipson, teacher at Goodstart Oxenford - Riversdale Road
There’s a belief among some parents that enrolling their child into a long day care environment means compromising on the quality of early learning they receive.
Specifically, I often hear this when parents are talking about kindergarten or preschool with the phrase ‘day care kindy isn’t proper kindy’ being quite common.
For those of us working in the sector and for parents who’ve experienced high quality early learning
firsthand, nothing could be further from the truth.
Firstly, this myth about ‘day care kindy’ ignores the evidence
showing the positive and long-lasting impact that high quality early learning has on children and secondly, it also ignores the many indicators of quality
that are found in all of Goodstart’s centres.
When parents ask me whether our kindergarten program is the same quality as sessional preschools or kindergartens, this is what I tell them:
- All approved kindergarten and preschool programs must meet government guidelines and our programs are developed in line with the Government’s Early Years Learning Framework, as well as each state’s individual learning guidelines.
- We create individual learning plans for each child, documentation on their progress and provide detailed transition statements to schools.
- We have a strong curriculum covering not only the development hard skills like literacy and numeracy but also on many crucial soft skills like creativity and dramatic play.
- Building a child’s social and emotional skills is a critical aspect of our curriculum, as it provides the foundation on which all other learning happens.
- We have degree qualified teachers (more than 900 nationwide) and invest heavily in professional development and training.
- We communicate regularly with parents, both in the centre and through StoryPark, to ensure we understand their needs and circumstances and are working in partnership with them on their child’s development.
- We work closely with schools in our local area, providing them with detailed information about the incoming cohort of children and helping to develop familiarity with the school environment for children.
- Our play-based learning approach motivates children to explore and be curious, developing positive feelings towards learning while developing a range of essential skills.
- We off extra-curricular activities like community excursions, bush kindy, beach kindy, visiting aged care facilities to develop inter-generational relationships, caring for animals and much, much more.
- We have specialised resources and expertise with more than 40 child and family practitioners, speech pathologists, occupational therapists and social inclusion coordinators working with centres.
- We help children develop relationships across all age groups which promotes a sense of belonging and helps older children learn key ‘buddy’ skills around leadership and empathy.
Young children don’t need to wear a uniform or learn in a school-based setting to make a smooth transition into school
Sure, we start to introduce some of the routines and behaviours
they need for school progressively during the year, but it doesn’t detract from our approach of high quality play-based learning guided by qualified teachers.
We know this gets the best outcomes for children. Having long day hours is simply a bonus that helps parents juggle the huge challenges of raising young children and managing work and careers.