With quality kindergarten programs under the spotlight thanks to the Federal Opposition’s $1.75 billion commitment to fund three-year-old preschool, we spoke to some of Goodstart’s passionate and talented teachers to find out what exactly children are learning in Goodstart’s quality kindergarten programs.
And it might not be exactly what you think.
While learning letters, numbers and science concepts is an important part of the learning program; the main focus of a quality kindergarten program is to build a child’s confidence to enable them to become passionate, curious and active learners.
Run by qualified and experienced early childhood teachers, Goodstart’s Kindergarten Program is developed in accordance with the National Quality Framework and helps launch children into a life of learning through well thought out programs, focussed on play-based learning delivered by the Goodstart network of more than 1000 qualified teachers across more than 600 early learning centres.
Goodstart Belgrave Heights early childhood teacher Sarah Presutto said while most parents thought learning numbers and letters was a priority for kindergarten students, the focus of a quality early learning program was more complex.
“In kindergarten a child’s learning is all inclusive. Yes there will be literacy, numeracy or science based learning, but most importantly children in a Goodstart Kindergarten Program will gain the skills they need to learn how to learn,” she said.
“Throughout kindergarten, children learn everything they’ll need for school, like making friends, self-regulation and thought processes and problem solving.
“An excellent teacher will be able to weave it all into one package and give them the confidence they need to learn.”
Goodstart McKinnon early childhood teacher Andy Hill said that reading and writing wasn’t always the main priority in the years before school.
“The focus isn’t always on the reading and writing,” she said.
“A quality kindergarten program will help children learn resilience and gain a passion to learn. In Kindergarten they will learn that even if they fail they need to try and try and keep on trying until they can accomplish what they want.
“They will learn conflict resolution and gain the confidence to interact with social groups and how to deal with various social situations,” she said.
“Of course early literacy and numeracy concepts are introduced in a play based way and if the children show interest in any concepts they will be incorporated into their learning program, but the main focus of preparing children for school is to engage them so they will be an active participant in the learning program.”
Goodstart Double Bay early childhood teacher Ghada Gindy said if children are given skills they need to develop their confidence, the rest of their learning will fall into place.
“If we can help them gain independence, confidence and social learning by giving them the opportunities they need and the right resources, then that will set them up for future learning,” she said.
For example, in the year before school Mrs Gindy said there was a focus on building the children’s confidence through knowledge.
“We talk to them about things like going to different toilets for boys and girls, drinking from bubblers rather than drink bottles, eating from a lunchbox or tying their shoelaces,” she said.
“If they are confident and have the independence to do these things it will free them up to learn at school.
“A kindergarten program isn’t just about numbers and letters, there is a big focus on play and throughout our programing we are mixing learning and resources with their ideas and creativity every day- there is a lot of thought and theory behind what we show and teach them every day.”