We provide a Reggio-inspired programme which mixes free play with teacher-led learning.
Children learn through play, and so the majority of the time our children play at activities which interest them, supported by our teachers. We have a wide range of activities available for them, including drawing and painting, puzzles and matching games, construction sets and block play, dress-ups, the sand pit and our playground. Teachers supervise and take advantage of the "teachable moments', when they get actively involved to expand children's knowledge and excitement about a topic that's caught their interest. We believe that children should have a wide range of resources to choose from, so when you visit us, you will see lots of things to play and build with within their reach, so that they can explore them at will.
Before our meal breaks, we have mat time. Mat time is another group time which allows children to practice sitting on the mat (just like the big kids at school!) to hear stories, sing songs and jump and dance together. Sometimes we even do yoga sessions! On Tuesday and Wednesday mornings a group of teachers and children will go for a Park Walk to Windmill Park (Epsom centre) or Phyllis Reserve and Oakley Creek (Mt Albert Centre). This is where we get to put our Forest Kindergarten ideas into practice, as children explore the natural environment and bring back items that interest them - anything from bugs to leaves.
Our three and four year olds can also participate in learning groups. These are teacher-led activities which take place in the early afternoon while the younger children are asleep. Learning group activities allow children to practice skills such as using scissors, holding a pencil and recognising numbers and letters. Even more important, they learn to speak to a group, take turns and follow instructions. Best of all, they don’t even realise they’re learning these things because they do so in a play-based setting, doing science experiments, playing games and listening to stories. At Epsom, learning groups are held in English and Mandarin.
Later in the day as children begin to go home, we will often sit together and read books and sing songs as we wind down from the day.