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Our Kindergarten program

Thornbury Kindergarten’s programs are play-based, drawing on the interests and developmental level of each child. We allow children the time and space to explore the world in their own way. The teachers facilitate this by providing tools, materials and challenging questions; they use intentional teaching, where specific group and individual learning goals are set for the children.
These goals are based on the Victorian Early Years Development Framework (VEYLDF) and the National Quality Framework (NQF). Teachers also extend children’s learning by scaffolding (building on) teachable moments that arise spontaneously during a session.
The programs are designed to cater for each individual child depending on their needs, abilities and interests. You might notice that the activities conducted in each group are different. This reflects the teaching staff’s responsiveness to individuals within the group and group dynamics.

Mixed three and four year old age groups
All our groups include both three and four year old enrolments - this offers the greatest flexibility for families in choosing their timetable and better fits with our community-learning model than having separate age groups. Evidence has shown that children thrive in supported mixed-age settings: the older children become leaders and mentors while the younger children benefit from peer modelling. Even in a typical "single-age" group the age range at the start of the year can vary by 18 months - our teachers assess the skills of each child and teach to their specific needs (rather than making assumptions based on their birth date) and so a mixed-age model works perfectly with this approach.

Some parents and carers express concerns that their child might be too young or feel overwhelmed in this environment, or that they may be older and lack challenge. This is understandable, especially when families have had negative experiences in other care settings. However our teachers and staff are skilled in ensuring children are supported and have their needs met - whether it it is by facilitating respectful group play and confidence-building, or by extending learning and making sure all children have opportunities for physical, emotional and mental challenge.

Our model also includes increasing the level of staff whenever possible during periods of transition, change or challenge, and staff work collaboratively through peer-consultation to provide the best environment for each child. If you ever have any concerns (or would just like to ensure a coordinated approach to your child's needs), schedule a time to catch up with your teacher.

What happens in a typical session at Kinder?
After drop-off at Home Kinder the children gather for mat time. The purpose of this is to help children develop a sense of security and belonging within the group. We encourage the children to put their bags away as a means of developing the independence needed for school. After this the children engage in a range of spontaneous activities set out by staff prior to the beginning of the session.
Children are encouraged to develop their own independence by choosing what activity to do, whether to play inside or outside, and when to eat.

At Thornbury Kinder we focus on long, uninterrupted periods of play which supports children to build confidence, enhance their social skills and expand their physical abilities. Some of the developmentally appropriate learning activities may include puzzles, reading books, talking, climbing, jumping, dressing up, pretend play, experimenting, cooking, building blocks and construction.

Children will begin to feel more confident separating from their parent/guardian and have opportunities to become more independent by learning to do things for themselves. All activities are under the guidance of an early childhood qualified teacher and will help children to practice sharing, make friends, develop a love of learning and learn how to follow basic routines and instructions.

Towards the end of the session, children help to pack away the toys and equipment before an activity at the end of the session. This may include stories and other literacy activities, or learning experiences based on the children’s interests and needs.
Throughout the year we also participate in excursions and incursions. You can learn more about each of our program types on their dedicated pages:

Bush Kinder Program
Out and About Program

Spanish Language Program
In a Victorian first, the Early Childhood Language Program is a $17.9 million commitment over four years providing children attending a state funded kindergarten program in the year before school, the opportunity to learn in another language.

The Early Childhood Language Program centres on children learning  ‘in’ another language as opposed to learning  ‘a’ language. Learning ‘in’ a language integrates the new language into the children’s experiences and routines. Exposure to language content and vocabulary occurs in meaningful ways and in context through these rich and complex experiences. It also occurs
at the same time as wider learning.

At Thornbury Kindergarten children are offered the opportunity to participate in our play based Spanish Language program for 90 mins per week.

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