Kids Cottage, Gladesville is licensed to cater for 34 children within the following age groups:
- 2-5 years: 34
Kids Cottage, Hunters Hill is licensed to cater for 36 children within the following age groups:
- 0-5 years: 40
The Physical Environment as Teacher
“We acknowledge the environment as a powerful influence in children’s learning behaviour. The environment includes physical spaces and materials, both indoors and outdoors. The environment teachers, offers opportunities to make meaning and connections, affects mood, guides children’s behaviour, and influences interactions. The environment is a major contributor to children’s experience in a children’s experience”
The environment is functionally designed and equipped to provide for a system of interconnectedness and interactions. The major aim in the planning includes the integration of each room with the rest of the centre, and the centre with the surrounding community.
Within the centre there are no hallmarks of an institution, we include aspects of a home into the setting: vases of flowers, plants, real dishes, tablecloths, baskets, also real home like furniture and furnishings to provide a “homely” appearance, avoiding plastic child versions. We believe that when children are trusted with real furniture and provisions for play and learning this says to children that they are seen as strong and capable and that they are taken seriously.
There is an emphasis on the aesthetic appeal of the environment. Everything within the environment is seen as speaking to the child and so the ways in which things are organised and the types of materials provided and allowing the child access and choice is very much part of the curriculum to support independence, relationships, competence and self esteem as well as a sense of belonging, being and becoming.
Other supportive elements of the environment include ample space for supplies, frequently arranged to draw attention to their aesthetic features. There is a studio space for the visual arts and clearly designated spaces for all the learning domains and large – and – small group activities. These spaces also provide for children where there is a sense of seclusion and privacy – the sorts of spaces that invite imaginative play and can help children to feel safe and a sense of being away from the adult world.
Throughout the centre, there is an effort to create opportunities for children to interact while integrating across all learning domains. Thus, the interconnecting of the indoors and outdoors are connected with phones, passageways, toilets or windows; and lunchrooms and bathrooms are designed to encourage playful encounters.
Elements of design such as light, space, colour, texture and shape has been carefully considered. Things are placed very strategically and the environment has been set up in a very conscious way. Lighting and interactive screens have been used to draw attention to different play areas and creating an ambience within the learning environment. More intense lighting is used in areas where investigation takes place.
There are large viewing windows to the play spaces and outdoors with some positioned at the child’s level. Access to the outside in each child’s room is through a porch and steps. Entries capture the attention of both children and adults through the use of mirrors, photographs, and children’s work accompanied by transcriptions of their discussions. These same features characterise play space interiors, where displays of project work are interspersed with arrays of found objects and play space materials. In each case, the aim is for the environment to inform and engage the viewer.
Offers opportunities for children to learn, explore, and feel a part of where they are. One of the aims of our early childhood program is to nurture in children a love of nature, and a desire to preserve, protect, and enhance the natural world around them. We believe the strong links to nature and the natural environment is a source of learning and the infinite opportunities for learning that it offers. The objects and resources within it will be used for play or as catalyst for learning. Windows and doors provide natural light and opportunities to observe the natural environment. Bird attracting plants have been planted outside and by locating relevant books and posters nearby there is a ready-made source of interest to observe and talk about. Children are visible in the community as small groups of children will be visiting public spaces, local parks, schools, libraries, shops and services.