Your kindergarten program ‘need to know’ – a guide to helping you find the best program for your child
There’s more to early childhood education than simply care – the years before school are key to a child’s emotional, cognitive and social development. Research suggests that a quality early childhood education sets a child up for success throughout their school years.
But how do you know which kindergarten program is right for your child? Following are seven steps to get you on track…
Step 1: Does the kindergarten program reference the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF)?
All approved kindergarten programs have links to the Early Years Learning Framework, to ensure a consistent approach to school readiness in Australia. Programs should be designed to set the foundations for a love of learning, ensuring your child enjoys an engaging education right throughout their school years. At the core of this program, the curriculum should provide an engaging framework that explores the concepts of belonging, being and becoming.
- Belonging: Children belong first to a family, a cultural group, a neighbourhood and a wider community.
- Being: Childhood is a time to be, to seek and make meaning of the world.
- Becoming: Becoming reflects the process of rapid and significant change that occurs in the early years as young children learn and grow.
Step 2: Is there a focus on Language and Literacy?
Your kindergarten teacher should support your child to develop and grow their literacy and language skills through fun, play-based learning. Make sure your kindergarten curriculum incorporates the following activities:
- Letters and sounds
- Reading support
- Increased vocabulary
Step 3: Does the program include Science & Technology?
A quality kindergarten program uses a wide variety of play-based learning activities that provide your child with the opportunity to question and experiment. The kindergarten curriculum should include the following activities:
- Enquiry and investigation
- Use of computers, electronic whiteboards and mobile devices
- Experimenting and constructing
Step 4: Is Mathematics included as part of the curriculum?
Even though the program should be guided by play-based activities, these activities should have a prominent focus on arithmetic, teaching your child to identify the following:
- Numbers and shapes
Step 5: Does Social & Emotional Development play a part?
Social and emotional development are key to a child’s successful transition to school. Make sure your kindergarten program includes activities that focus on:
- Working well with peers
- Understanding feelings
- Resolving conflict
Step 6: Will your child be given the opportunity to learn through Drama and Arts?
Dramatic play, music and art are all important components of a quality kindergarten program. Make sure your curriculum involves the following:
- Dramatic arts and role play activities
- Art, design and music
Step 7: Are Family and Community common themes?
Children feel a sense of belonging when their family and community are included in their day to day learning activities. Ensure your kindergarten program has a focus on:
- Partnerships and collaboration
- Shared decision making