“So much happens by the time they get to the kindergarten program. There’s so many changes. The kindergarten program is vital in developing a child’s social skills to prepare them for school as we really want them to have the confidence to go to school. It’s not all about their – you know – reading, writing, arithmetic, all those things. It’s that confidence to say, ‘Bye Mum, I’m heading off!’” Tanya thinks it is equally important for a parent to be assured their child will be okay at school – a parent’s confidence is critical to a child’s confidence. Social and emotional skills are so crucial for helping with the transition into school.
The importance of learning through playLearning through play is another aspect of early learning that Tanya believes in. “With a play-based program, there are so many opportunities to introduce other areas of learning. For instance, playdough is that opportunity to discuss colours. It’s discussing quantity and numeracy as we mix the ingredients. It’s discussing our fine motor skills as we have to mix things together. And that’s the same for all the experiences we have in our program.” She says that play isn’t just play – building blocks are an opportunity to count and problem solve, and to try making predictions; If you add a block right there, will the tower stay standing or fall down? Enjoying sensory experiences is all part of a day in the life of a Goodstart child. “If we’re in the sandpit, we’re discussing sensory – how does the sand feel, what can we do? We use our finger to write letters and numbers in the sand, practise name writing. So many opportunities with every experience, it’s not just about one particular focus.”
Passionate educators make the differenceWhen you’re choosing a kindergarten, Tanya’s advice is to visit the centre and meet the people there. See for yourself the environment and witness the educators in action. That’s the best way to get a feel for whether a kindergarten program is the best fit for your child. Tanya creates a relationship with every child in her care so that she can help them feel safe and secure while being confident enough to learn. “The very best part of my job is the relationships I’m able to build with the children in my care. Even this week I had a little girl, Lauren, say to me, ‘Tanya, when I grow up I’m going to be a teacher just like you.’ How can it be more satisfying and rewarding than that?”
Discover more about the caring educators that are the heart of our centres by calling 1800 222 543.
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