Oak Park Kindergarten – Philosophy

At Oak Park Kindergarten:

Play

We provide a high quality, open-ended play based learning environment that is focused on children’s individual interests, strengths and needs. We provide many opportunities for children to discover and explore through play in an unhurried and relaxed manner. Children are given a voice and the power to make decisions regarding their play and social interaction. Play is the tool for learning but as educators we also use intentional teaching, spontaneous learning and reflection in play experiences when we feel it will extend and benefit the children’s learning. We look at individual and groups of children through a range of observations, to discover their interests, strengths and needs to plan our developmentally appropriate program.

Our child-centred programs are based upon the principles outlined in the Victorian Early Years Learning Framework, as well as an inclusive approach to positively support children’s growth of identity, self-esteem and critical thinking. We feel that it is not until children truly have a feeling of belonging and wellbeing that they start to relax and explore, feeling confident in the Kindergarten environment and open to learn from the planned and incidental experiences offered. Each child is positively encouraged to reach their full potential in accordance with their individual ability.

We believe that childhood should be about fun and freedom to play, socialise, investigate and explore. Each child should be encouraged and supported to make their own decisions and choices and seek to actively develop positive problem solving skills in a success-orientated environment. Most learning is disguised as play and everything we do at the Kindergarten has an age appropriate developmental outcome behind it.

Environment

We aim to provide an environment that is happy, provoking, stimulating, educational, relaxed, supervised, calm, nurturing, loving, and non-pressured. We value our outdoor play environment just as much as our indoor play environment, and use both the indoor and outdoor environment to encourage the children’s ability to observe, perceive, explore, investigate, imagine, make choices and problem solve. Our program is developed with indoor and outdoor having approximately equal time or both areas being open at the same time, where children can makes choices regarding their play.

We believe the world’s environment should be respected and try to embed sustainability in our daily routines and practices. We encourage the children to respect their own environment through looking after their toys, equipment, garden and belongings.

Relationships

We value trusting, positive and inclusive relationships between children, staff, families and the community. Everyone should be made to feel welcome, wanted and needed. We believe that every child, staff member, family member and visitor to our Kindergarten deserves to be treated equally and with respect regardless of nationality, gender, appearance, religion, class, ability or beliefs.

We strongly believe that family involvement is integral to a high quality program. We encourage the involvement of families in all aspects of the children’s everyday experiences and acknowledge the support and knowledge that families and the community have. Everyone is invited to be involved and enrich our program through partnerships of meaningful participation, celebrating cultural diversity, working bees, committee representation, social and fundraising activities and the parent participation roster.

We believe our community are the children, their families, the educators and all people and services the Kindergarten has made connections with since our establishment in 1966. We believe as part of this community we have a responsibility to our children and families to establish and maintain a sense of belonging. We have developed close links with our two main feeder schools in Oak Park to assist our children and families to make a smooth transition to school, as well as our local Early Intervention Services.

Our Kindergarten is part of Moreland Early Years Management and we embrace their policies, procedures and guidance to assist in making our Kindergarten a service of a high quality standard.