Teacher and child in an early learning centre of the eastern suburbs.

    Early Learning Centres in Melbourne's Eastern Suburbs

    Our curriculum incorporates pedagogical principles and processes from both the National and Victorian Early Years Learning Frameworks, combining experiences which assist children to be confident and involved learners. Working in partnership with all families, our daily programme is filled with play-based learning, providing the children with opportunities to learn as they create, discover, improvise and imagine.
    Our childcare centres offer children friendship, security, challenge and excitement in a relaxed and stimulating learning environment. We realise that each age group has different needs and abilities. Specific programme goals will be developed for each group, and are based on an understanding of each child in that particular group. In this way we can individualise the childcare programme so that each child is encouraged and extended in their development.

    In the nursery, there is a world of discovery with lots of hugs and cuddles. In the toddlers' room our focus is on language and independence, whilst they discover new challenges and adventures. In kindergarten we help the children think outside the box, and provide a school readiness programme. 

    Our childcare centres are secure locations where each child can continue to develop healthy habits, attitudes and skills. Theses abilities will allow the child to approach learning with confidence and positive self-conceptualisation.

    We acknowledge the relationship between each child’s family and the centre, as it is crucial to the wellbeing, health and development of all children. If we have extensive knowledge of each child and their family, it will assist our staff when developing strategies that are consistent with home, in order to reflect common values and provide learning opportunities for individual children. We are committed to maintaining positive lines of communication when collaborating with children, families and external agencies to meet the needs of each child.

    Reflection of the Day

    In each room we provide a reflection of your child's day and a photographic diary of each age group's activities, thereby allowing parents to follow their child’s daily activities.

    Supporting Children's Individual Needs

    We cater for 0-6 year-old children and aim to provide a "home away from home" atmosphere in a supportive environment which respects and maintains the linguistic and cultural backgrounds of the children.

    We include activities to aid the physical and emotional needs of a growing child. The programme is designed to enhance your child's individual development, stimulate his or her interest in the world around them, and foster a desire to learn and discover. Educational objectives are formed to clearly determine each child's identity, wellbeing, learning, and communication skills, with all areas being independent, though equally important to, the child’s overall development.

    Our programmes offer experiences where the children will imagine, learn, explore, create and enquire through play. The opportunity to play is an important component of the developmental programme. Play provides all children with the opportunity to have fun, express ideas, satisfy their curiosity and test their knowledge of the world. Through play experiences, your child will be busy exploring the environment, confronting problems and finding solutions, thinking and playing creatively.

    Funded Kindergarten Programme

    Tinkabell Learning Centre kid showing painted hand

    At our childcare centres, the kindergarten year is a rich and stimulating experience. We provide a range of important opportunities which not only prepare your child for school, but prepare your child for life. Our programme is based on the Victorian Early Years Framework, a programme for children in the year before they start primary school. Children should be aged at least four years by 30 April to access the four year-olds programme.

    Our programme is run by a qualified kindergarten teacher, and is a part of our integrated long day care programme. It has a play-based approach, which emphasises learning through socialisation, exploration, investigation, and opportunities to practise problem solving and thinking skills. The approach we take to learning is holistic, advancing simultaneously in the areas of health, cognitive, personal and social development, and wellbeing. During each term, we work on school readiness and setting objectives and strategies for each child.

    The Victorian Early Years Framework identifies five early years’ learning and developmental outcomes for children. The framework describes each outcome from the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia to the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) level 1 and 2. The outcomes provide a shared language for all early childhood professionals and families to use when planning for children’s learning and development.

    Aims and Goals for the Children

    • To provide the children with a healthy, happy, loving, caring and trusting feeling in our childcare centres, where each child has a strong sense of independence and self-worth.
    • To provide, through our daily programme, skills he or she will use for the rest of his or her life.
    • To provide the opportunity for each child to develop their skills, values, feelings, explorations, concepts and knowledge appropriate to their age and stage of development.
    • These will include: SKILLS: gross motor, fine motor, and language/communication, social, turn-taking, conflict resolution, problem solving, self-help, and independence
    • VALUES/FEELINGS: respect for others and equipment, responsibility, self-esteem, diversity, acceptance, values, social justices, empathy, fairness, kindness, inclusiveness
    • EXPLORATION: experiment, enquiring mind, curiosity, collaborative co-operation, perseverance, scaffolding, resilience, creativity
    • CONCEPTS/KNOWLEDGE: senses (smell, touch, sound), numeracy, spatial awareness, music, sound, rhythm, beat, movement-expression, space, environmental awareness, sustainability, literacy (verbal, written, visual)
    • The children have the opportunity to develop happy and satisfying relationships with other children of various ages and a range of cultural backgrounds.
    • Develop skills to communicate with other children and adults.
    • For educators to develop a relationship with children based on trust and respect.

      Educational Programme 

      Our centres embrace both the National and Victorian Early Years Learning Frameworks, which identify the following outcomes for all children:

      • Children have a strong sense of identity.
      • Children are connected with, and contribute to, their world.
      • Children have a strong sense of wellbeing.
      • Children are confident and involved learners.
      • Children are effective communicators.

        The educators in charge of each room, in association with the other team members, are responsible for planning an early childhood play-based programme which reflects child-centred, anti-bias and multi-cultural experiences, is developmentally appropriate and emerges from the children’s observed interests.

        Educators observe each child’s responses to the programme both as an individual and as part of a group, assess the child’s progress towards the outcomes of the EYLF, and document the observation and assessment. They share this this documentation with the parents and use it to meet each child’s individual needs. A wide variety of developmental and interest areas are provided for within the indoor and outdoor play environments.

        Parents are welcome to discuss their child’s development and view their observations. Parent interviews are also organised at the end of each term. Portfolios are used to document the child’s learning journey and are handed to parents at the end of the year.

        We aim to provide a stimulating range of activities without bias to gender. We provide equal opportunities for girls and boys to develop to their full potential through all learning experiences. The curriculum is planned to enhance and understand the acceptance of differences in others, and is inclusive of children with special or additional needs.

        Each child’s knowledge, ideas, culture, abilities, and interests are the foundation of our programme. Their sense of agency is promoted, enabling them to make choices and decisions that influence events and their world.

        The indoor and outdoor learning environments are arranged and resourced with materials, which are age, developmentally, and culturally appropriate, in addition to meeting the children’s interests. Parents and children are asked to contribute ideas for resources and to the arrangement of these environments. Educators respond to children’s ideas and use intentional teaching to scaffold and extend each child’s learning.

        The curriculum programme, including routines, is organised to maximise opportunities for each child’s learning. It allows for children to engage in learning for extended periods. Meal times are unhurried social occasions. Rest and relaxation involve intentionally teaching older children relaxation techniques.

        Our learning curriculum is displayed in each room. Parents are encouraged to read it, participate in our planning and offer feedback. Comments, ideas, or suggestions on the curriculum are always welcome. Resource organisations are readily available to assist staff and parents. Please contact us to find out more.

        Tinkabell Learning Centre teacher playing with kids


        The introduction into long day care can be difficult for children and parents. Children's welfare and happiness are the priority for staff when welcoming new children to our childcare centres and when assisting the family to settle into the centre environment. It is recognised that families' need will vary greatly during the orientation process, and individual needs will be met as far as possible.

        Below are some helpful hints for parents on settling your child into care:

        1. Make sure you familiarise your child with the environment and the people in the environment (children and adults) by coming in for visits before commencing care.
        2. Ease your child into care with short stays to begin.
        3. Provide a favourite toy, blanket or comforter to support your child when they are separating from you or settling to sleep. This can help your child feel more secure.
        4. If your child is unsettled, short visits with you helps your child to gain trust with an unfamiliar environment. These visits can be made on a day when your child is not booked to attend.
        5. Interactions between staff and parents or staff and other children can produce positive role models and be reassuring. This experience can help to establish trust in an unfamiliar setting.
        6. Try to talk at home about childcare. Mention the names of the staff and other children. Talk about the fun and enjoyable things the child will be able to do at childcare.
        7. Talk to the staff about your child (what they like to do, successful ways of settling them to sleep, foods they like/dislike, allergies, etc.). This helps staff to get to know your child and will provide us with all the necessary information to ensure their wellbeing.
        8. When leaving your child, it is best to make sure you say goodbye and then leave. If a child is upset, hesitating and not going after you have said your goodbyes only confuses them.
        9. Reassure your child that everything is alright and you will return later, as this can help them settle. It sometimes helps to establish a routine when leaving, for example by giving your child a cuddle and giving them to a staff member or sitting down with them for a short play or reading a book together, then leaving.
        10. At first, some children protest strongly while others may take a day or two to realise that you are leaving them and begin to protest after several days. Children soon learn that you do return, and they are well cared for in the meantime.
        11. Parents should not hesitate to ring during the day to see how their child is coping.
        12. Leaflets and booklets on how to prepare the child and what to expect are available at the centre. 

        Food and Nutrition

        Meals and snacks are prepared each day on our premises by our cook, who places much emphasis on using fresh, wholesome ingredients, and providing a varied and nutritionally balanced menu. We maintain the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene at all times.

        Our cook has extensive experience with planning, preparing, and cooking meals and snacks for young children, which is reflected in the interesting and nutritionally balanced menu prepared each week. Meals are prepared and cooked daily, using fresh, healthy ingredients, and are kept interesting through various cooking methods.

        New foods and tastes are planned and introduced, and special requests for family favourites are always welcomed. Children at our childcare centres are exposed to a variety of food, covering a wide range of cultural backgrounds. The children eat at their own pace in a relaxed, non-pressured environment.

        Our centres’ attention to detail is not limited to the presentation of meals. The total mealtime experience for your child is planned for carefully and with flair. Staff in each of our rooms prepare for meal time, adding finishing touches such as decorated tables, handmade named placemats and flowers to ensure that your child enjoys the atmosphere of dining with friends.

        As well as being an appropriate time for meeting your child's physical needs for food and drink, mealtime and snack-time at the centre is also a time for socialising, learning and exploring. Importantly, these daily routine activities provide opportunities for the children and staff to enjoy each other’s company, and build on relationships with their peers and caregivers, thereby growing social awareness.

        Our menu is displayed in the foyer on an information board, and is changed weekly. The menu is designed to provide a well-balanced, nutritious diet that reflects seasonal changes. Fresh produce is always available.

        Your child will be served a breakfast consisting of milk, cereal and toast; morning tea with fresh fruit and milk; and a hot lunch. Afternoon tea consists of home baked biscuits, muffins, cakes, scones, desserts or a meat, cheese and fruit platter. Water is always offered to the children throughout the day, and each child is supplied with their own labelled bottle. If your child is in attendance at the centre after 5:30pm, we’ll also provide a late afternoon tea.

        Sometimes your child will be served morning or afternoon tea at a table. Other times snacks are taken more informally, set up as picnics on mats inside or outside, depending on the weather.

        Children with bottles: for formula/breast-fed babies, we request that you bring clearly labelled and prepared bottles with you each day and place them in the fridge. Bottles are sterilised at our centre using the Milton method.

        We celebrate each child's birthday with a party. We invite parents to bring in a cake that can be shared by all the children in their room. Please supply a list of ingredients so we can monitor all children’s allergies. 

        If it is possible, we would love to have Mum and Dad along, too. If not, feel free to bring your camera and the staff will take some photographs for you.

        If you have any questions about our curriculum, please give us a call today on 03 9874 6401 .

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