Early Learning Centre FAQ

Why is early learning important?

Researchers have discovered that the human brain develops the vast majority of its neurons, and is at its most receptive to learning, between birth and five years of age. In fact, the intake of new information is critical to the formation of active neural pathways (Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000).

Early education can play a critical role during this important developmental period. The research linking early learning experiences to both cognitive and socio-emotional gains has had a huge effect on the amount of early childhood programs and services offered to families of young children around the world.

What educational philosophies underpin your approach?

Our educational approach is inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy, providing an innovative and inspiring approach to early childhood education and values the child as strong, capable and resilient; rich with wonder and knowledge. The Reggio Emilia approach has been adopted because we believe that children are motivated by their interests to understand and know more. Our role as educators is to observe our children, listen to their questions and their experiences, find what interests them and then provide them with opportunities to explore these interests further.

The Reggio Emilia philosophy also takes a child-led project approach. The projects aren’t planned in advance; they emerge based on the child’s interests. Children at our ELC may be involved in individual, small group or large projects.

How does the Westminster ELC program differ from Child Care?

At Westminster ELC we provide an education program in a dedicated preschool setting, catering for children aged between three and five years of age. Our program is based on the developmental needs, interests and experience of each child and guided by a national framework, Being Belonging Becoming. In addition to a play-based curriculum, ELC students are also involved in:

  • Literacy and numeracy activities
  • Explicit and intentional teaching
  • Music, Sport and Library lessons
  • The Arts
  • Science and Technology

What does the Westminster ELC daily program look like?

The following timetable provides an insight of our ELC program which varies from day to day:

​7.30 - 9.00 am Before preschool program​
​Lesson 1 ​Sport/Outside Play
​Lesson 2 ​Music/Inside Play
​10.40 - 10.55 am ​Morning Tea
​Lesson 3 ​Literacy Group time/Farm visit
​Lesson 4 ​Inside Play/Indoor Jigsaws
​Socialisation Program with Centre Director
​12.25 - 1.30 pm ​Lunch and rest time
​Lesson 5 ​Inside/Outside play
​Lesson 6 ​Numeracy Group time
​3.00 - 3.30 pm ​Afternoon Tea
​3.30 - 6.00 pm ​After preschool program
 

What specialist lessons are provided to Westminster ELC students?

ELC students are provided with specialist experiences in the areas of Music, Sport and Library. Our Music program is conducted by specialist music teachers and includes singing, creative movement, use of percussion instruments and listening for appreciation. ELC students also visit the Haslam Library each week. Their experiences focus on how the library operates, the enjoyment of reading a wide variety of literature and the exploration of authors and illustrators. Our Sport program aims to encourage the children to gain confidence in their ability to engage in physical activities and to develop gross motor skills and co-ordination skills. The activities involved in the program include balancing, jumping, throwing, catching, hitting, kicking, climbing and obstacle circuits. Art education and information technologies also form an integral part of the ELC curriculum.

What are the educator to child ratios in the Westminster ELC?

Licensing requirements are 1 adult: 10 students however at Westminster ELC we generally have a ratio of 1 adult: 7 students.

Are the Westminster ELC staff qualified teachers?

We are very fortunate to employ eight fully qualified teachers in the Westminster ELC.  Our ELC Assistants also have either a Certificate 3 in Education and Care, Certificate 4 in Education and Care or a Diploma of Education and Care.

We believe our program strength lies in the expertise, dedication and commitment of our staff. We support our staff with professional learning, resources and opportunities to create a unique and meaningful learning experience for the children.

 

For more information about the Westminster Early Learning Centre, please refer to the ELC Handbook.