Celebrating our Early Learning Centre five years on!

Tintern Schools is celebrating nearly five years after the opening of our Early Learning Centre in February 2011. It has indeed been a wonderful time with so many exciting events and lots of learning. I stood there this morning looking into the classrooms, witnessing the many happy children arriving with their families. It is certainly not hard to see that the children feel valued and are known and ‘loved’ by the ELC team. The Centre is full of vibrant artwork, photos of the children and activities and projects the current children have completed over the year. In August 2014 the ELC had a visit from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and was assessed by the National Quality Framework Assessment and Rating Process  – we received the highest rating of ‘exceeding’ in the seven Quality Areas. A real testament to the quality teaching staff! 

Many parent/student orientations will be held next month. There has been a wonderful response with both Pre-Prep classes full for 2016. Interestingly, the balance of boys and girls is almost equal at the time of writing. We are still enrolling new students into the few remaining places in the 3 year old classes. A large number of current Tintern Schools’ parents have taken the opportunity to enrol their younger children into the ELC.

It has been a busy and rewarding time setting up the ELC over the years. The building itself has a unique layout. There are three classrooms inside, while the outside, designed by Mary Jeavons who specialises in early childhood settings, is considered as a fourth classroom. The cooling system meets the standards of environmental sustainability. Below the concrete floor slabs fresh air is trapped and pushed up through air vents and sensored window slats will open up during the evening to let in more cool air. Many have remarked on the attention to detail in the architectural design: low windows for child visibility, a light and open feel, and visibility for teachers to enable clear monitoring. Furthermore, the building is designed to fit into our bushland setting.  All of these elements and design features have proven to be very successful and certainly beneficial to creating a very positive vibe within the centre.

At Tintern Schools we are very proud of our Early Childhood program. It offers a mix of child-centred learning as well as teacher-directed learning where the children are exposed to our literacy and numeracy program. Upon completion of the Pre-Prep program children are very well prepared for their entry into Prep. We have two full 3 year old classes due to the excellent work of the staff. All credit goes to the wonderful hard working team, Amanda Cooke (as Coordinator), Wendy Oates, Lauren Ray, Robyn Hill, Shana Owen, Suzie Bissett, Tina Bettiol, Wapke Henson, Andrea Cantena and Emma Amory within the ELC.  I would also like to thank Mrs Mary Whitcher and Mrs Claire Macdonald, our girls and boys Prep teachers who have been working closely with the ELC staff to ensure that the children transition well into their Prep year.

So what’s on moving forward?  Due to the demand and interest in our beautiful school, we are now expanding our Pre-Prep classes to have full-time students in both classes, as well as some part-time students. This means that all classrooms are operating every day through the week. No doubt it will be another busy year ahead as we continue to refine and review our program. Most importantly, a distinct path for each girl and boy will continue to be our focus and what drives us into the future. 

by Anna Riddell, Head of Tintern Junior School and Tintern Schools Early Learning Centre

 

 

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