The staff and committee of Elsa Macleod Kindergarten wishes to welcome you and your family. This parent information handbook is designed to provide answers often asked by parents about the day to day running of the kinder and the underlying philosophy of the kinder in practice. If you require more detailed information please refer to the policy folder located in the foyer of the kinder.
At Elsa Macleod Kindergarten, we aim to cater for the education of the whole child, whilst focusing on the individual. Our kindergarten program promotes learning in all of the National and Victorian Early Years Framework areas for learning and development and ensures a smooth transition to primary school education.
Hours of Operation
Monday to Friday, 8:15am-4:20pm
2016 Term Dates:
Term 1: 2nd Feb – 24th Mar
Term 2: 11th Apr – 24th Jun
Term 3: 11th Jul-16th Sep
Term 4: 3rd Oct – 9th Dec
ELSA MACLEOD KINDERGARTEN PHILOSOPHY
- everyone can learn
- each student is different and we must consider this
- that children are eager and energetic learners and with a little guidance they will seek out and discover the answers
- that children have a voice and have a right to be heard
- in providing a play based program that promotes each child’s individual development and self esteem
- that every child is capable and resourceful and able to contribute to their learning
- that play is crucial to the development of children and a way they explore, learn and discover about their world, themselves and others
- and value the difference amongst children and value the notion of equality
IN REGARD TO CHILDREN WE:
- will recognise and celebrate their differences
- will provide opportunities for the children to actively participate in creating their own learning
- will guide them to respect each other
- will empower them to develop their independence
- will continue to demonstrate a commitment to children with special needs
IN REGARD TO FAMILIES WE:
- work in a partnership alongside them and encourage and value their feedback
- welcome family involvement and value their input
- recognise that they are their children’s first and most influential educators
- will respect family’s culture, values and beliefs
IN REGARD TO COMMUNITY WE:
- will ensure that effective communication is developed within the kindergarten community and beyond
- strive to be a centre of excellence for early childhood within our community
- understand the importance of establishing relationships within the community
- utilise local services in an effective and meaningful way
IN REGARD TO STAFF WE:
- will aim to achieve excellence in our roles
- will regularly partake in professional development, ongoing training and reflection
- plan the environment and experiences to support children’s interests
- protect and nuture children’s health and well being
IN REGARD TO THE PROGRAM WE:
- will take guidance and direction from the children focusing on an emergent curriculum and the acquisition of life skills
- will offer a strength and interest based program to make learning more meaningful and enjoyable
- will offer a program that reflects the outcomes of the National Early Years Learning Framework
- will plan the program based on individual observations
- believe that the creative process is more important than the product
IN REGARD TO THE ENVIRONMENT WE:
- believe in providing a rich environment that nurtures strong relationships and friendships
- believe that education around environmentally sustainable practices is important and will nuture in children a positive regard and respect for all living things
- believe that the indoor and outdoor environment are equally important and will provide access to the outdoor environment in all weather
- value the outdoor environment and promote knowledge about, care and respect for the natural environment
- emphasise the use of natural and recycled materials, wise water usage, power saving, recycling, vegetable gardening, waste minimization.
*Please note, this philosophy is to be reviewed annually
GREEN GROUP (3 yo): $220 per term -other payment options available at request.
RED & BLUE GROUP (4 yo): $417 (paid in Terms 1, 2 & 3, no payment in Term 4), 5% discount to accounts that are paid in FULL by the 29th January
-other payment options available at request
*Health Care Card & Pension Card Holders $200 per year (fees are partially subsidised
by the government, but the Kinder must have a copy of your pension/health care card, this applies to 4 year old kinder only)
-other payment options by request
*There is a $25 enrolment fee that must be paid upon enrolling
*There is also a $25 garden maintenance levy that must be paid in Term 1
*There is also an excursion levy of $25 that will cover all excursion costs for the year, this levy that must be paid in Term 1
(Fee increases are at the discretion of the committee.)
KINDERGARTEN DAILY ROUTINE
8.30-9.30am: children arrive at kinder, inside free play
9.30am-3.30pm-inside/outside free play
3.30-4pm: quiet time before children leave for home
EATING AT KINDER
We have flexible eating times where the children can come and go, and eat when they are ready. Staff remind children about having something to eat at regular times throughout the day.
Usually at 9.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3pm.
Children are to be brought into the kinder building by parent/caregiver (over the age of 18).
Children are to be collected by the parent/caregiver at the end of the session, no later than 4pm (for the four year old groups) and 11.45am (for the three year old group).
You may be charged a late fee for late pick up.
The attendance book must be signed at the beginning and end of each session by the parent/caregiver.
Your child will not be sent out of the building with an unauthorised person.
If your child is to be collected by someone unknown to staff, please let them know in advance.
Please ensure the gate, through which you enter to gain access to the kindergarten, is always secured after you have used it.
If your child has not been collected from kinder 15 minutes after the end of a session staff will attempt to ring the parents. If parents cannot be reached then staff will ring your emergency contacts to come and collect the child. If an emergency contact cannot be reached your child will be taken to the local police station, whereupon they will keep the child safe until someone can be contacted to come and collect the child.
Each child has a locker in the bathroom for their bag. They also have a locker (in the playroom) where their lunch box and drink bottle are placed.
Due to a high rate of allergies we only allow cupcakes for birthday celebrations. You must also bring along an ingredient list. The cupcakes will not be eaten at kinder but will be sent home with the kinder children.
We do not allow other party favours.
Children should wear clothing that can be easily managed by the child. Staff will try to ensure that your child’s clothing is protected during messy play, however clothes still get dirty in spite of smocks, so please send your child in clothes that are easily washed. Please put a complete change of spare clothes into your child’s kinder bag.
Kinder clothing is available for purchase through the kinder. We sell hats, t-shirts, jumpers and hoodies, all printed with the kinder logo. Please see staff if you wish to purchase clothing.
Singlets, sleeveless t-shirts and shoe string dresses are not suitable clothing for kinder. Thongs and crocs are not suitable footwear for kindergarten as they make climbing and other activities difficult and dangerous.
A warm coat and hat are needed in winter as we still play outside if possible.
Please label all clothing. Lunch boxes and kindergarten bags should also be clearly labelled. There is a lost property box located in the foyer for unnamed items.
YOUR CHILD’S FIRST DAY AT KINDER
On your child’s first day at kinder you must make sure:
ü They have a kinder bag that has their name marked on it.
ü They take a drink bottle clearly labelled with their name and filled with water.
ü They take some fruit for morning fruit snack, and some food for a morning and afternoon snack (morning and afternoon snack for 4 yo sessions only)
ü They take a sandwich and one other food item for lunch, in a lunch box that is clearly labelled with their name (four year old group only).
ü They wear a sun hat (UV ratings are checked daily)
ü They wear appropriate clothing (see previous page)
ü They have a set of spare clothes packed in their kinder bag
ü That I have put sunscreen on them.
ü That your child knows where they are going (to kinder) and that I display a positive attitude and tell them they will have a great time.
ü That you sign your child ‘in’ in the attendance book (and then ‘out’ when I pick them up).
ü Leave kinder by saying goodbye to your child and go and enjoy your free time-or time with other children, or time at work!!
Please remember-don’t be discouraged if your child does not want to talk about their time at kinder, this is quite common for this age group. They will tell you about their day when they are ready!
COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE TEACHER AND YOU (THE PARENT)
We aim to establish a strong partnership between parents and staff for the benefit of your child. The Director (Kylie) is available to discuss any queries you may have.
You are more than welcome to contact the Director (Kylie) for an appointment to discuss the progress of your child.
The foyer notice board, emails, our facebook page and your child’s notice pockets are the staff’s way of keeping you up to date with what is going on.
Please check emails and allocated pockets regularly.
The kinder also communicates with parents through newsletters, emails, phone calls, profile books, and formal and informal conversations.
*PLEASE RESPECT THE STAFF’S PRIVACY BY NOT CONTACTING THEM OUTSIDE KINDER HOURS.
Parental complaints or dissatisfaction with the actual kinder program should be directed to the Director or the Committee of Management.
Parents who wish to forward complaints concerning the committee or a committee member have the opportunity to do so through the Grievance Sub-Committee or through the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
Names and numbers are available on the foyer notice board.
The committee of our kindergarten is a Committee of Management who voluntarily elect to be part of their child’s education and actively participate in the running of the centre. Staff are an important resource and asset for the Committee in the effective management of the centre, however they cannot have a position on the committee, nor can they vote on any decision.
The committee is the legally constituted body who are responsible for the management of the centre. It has to be financially responsible and maintain the viability of the centre. It is elected at the Annual General Meeting and members fill their positions for a 12 month term of office. Meetings are generally held bi-monthly, run for approximately 45 minutes and all parents are welcome to attend.
Our committee consists of office bearers, namely President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Fees Officer (3 year old), Fees Officer (4 year old) , Fundraising Coordinator as well as General Committee members. From the General Committee we form sub-committees such as fundraising and gardening maintenance.
All staff are trained in child protection protocol. Please speak to staff regarding resources available concerning this matter.
In the event of a disaster, the children will be taken to the football oval behind the kinder. We regularly practice the disaster plan with the children. When we practice an emergency evacuation we assemble at the back gate (leading onto the oval). A copy of the plan is located in the foyer. We also regularly practice our lockdown procedure.
EXCURSIONS AND VISITORS
Local excursions and visitors are arranged for the children in order to add interest and educational value to the program. Parents will be notified and written permission and payment sought when organising excursions.
Elsa Macleod Kindergarten is a community based, non-profit organisation and is an incorporated association. The main source of finance for the kinder are fees, paid by parents, and funding from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
If you are at any time finding it difficult to keep to the fees agreement (that you signed as part of the enrolment form) please talk to the Fees Officer. Failure to pay fees over a period of time may unfortunately lead to exclusion of your child at our kindergarten. All queries are to be directed to the Fees Officer.
Elsa Macleod Kindergarten is a cash free kinder. All fees are to be paid directly into our bank account. Families will be given a code at the beginning of the year, with the first fees invoice.
Please do not approach staff regarding matters related to fees. Fee monies are the responsibility of the Fees Officer and Treasurer. The name and contact details of the Fees Officer will be included in your first fees invoice.
GARDEN & WORKING BEES
A gardener is employed to take care of the lawn mowing and general garden care within the kinder grounds. A $25 fee is charged to cover this cost and is attached to your first fees account.
Depending what needs to be done in and around the kinder grounds a working bee may be organised. In this instance your help would be greatly appreciated.
Fundraising by the kindergarten committee provides further funds for equipment, which benefits present and future children attending the kinder. Even though we have a Fundraising Coordinator, and Fundraising Sub-Committee, we also appreciate any parent help that is offered.
HEALTH AND ABSENCE
If your child is obviously unwell then keep them at home – even if they insist they are okay. They will recover better at home and this helps to prevent the illness from spreading to the other children. Your child cannot come to kinder until 48hrs has lapsed since the last episode of illness.
If your child has an infectious illness, please contact the kinder so the teacher can tell you how long the Government Health Regulations state that the child is to be away. Please let staff know if your child has had head lice.
Please do not send medication along to kinder with your child without telling staff. Any medication needs to be given to staff immediately upon arrival at kinder for the session. Medication needs to be in the original packing supplied by the chemist with the prescription label attached. Medication cannot be given if this is not the case. Parents must fill in a medication form before leaving kinder so as staff can administer it to the child.
NO SMOKING ON KINDER PREMISES OR GROUNDS, OR WITHIN
20 METRES OF KINDER
INCIDENTS, INJURIES AND ACCIDENTS
A record is kept of all incidents and injuries that occur at kinder. Parents will be informed of these, at the end of the session, if their child is injured or hurt. Children who have head injuries will be contacted immediately. Please ensure we have a current emergency contact number in case of an unlikely event. In the case of an accident staff will take every action to administer First Aid immediately. All kinder staff members have current First Aid certificates. If a child becomes ill whilst at kinder the parents will be contacted immediately. In these cases we request that the child be collected as soon as possible to provide adequate medical attention.
All children enrolled in the kinder will have the opportunity to experience the preschool program regardless of their mobility, expressive and/or receptive communication, social behaviour, safe behaviour, fine motor skills, vision, hearing, self care and cognitive skills as we realise that all children will learn in different ways and at different rates.
THE KINDER PROGRAM
Our kinder program is based on the National Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) – ‘Belonging, Being & Becoming’. When we develop the daily program we consider the whole child and the inter-related nature of development and learning.
The key learning outcomes as stated in the EYLF are:
Children have a strong sense of identity (Identity)
- Children feel safe, secure and supported
- Children develop their emerging autonomy, inter-dependence and resilience
- Children develop knowledgeable and confident self identities
- Children learn to interact in relation to others with care, empathy and respect
Children are connected with and contribute to their world (Community)
- Children develop a sense of belonging to groups and communities and an understanding of the reciprocal rights and responsibilities necessary for active community participation
- Children respond to diversity with respect
- Children become aware of fairness
- Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment
Children have a strong sense of wellbeing (Wellbeing)
- Children become strong in their emotional and social wellbeing
- Children take increasing responsibility for their own health and physical well being
Children are confident and involved learners (Learning)
- Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, creativity, enthusiasm, persistence and imagination
- Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, enquiry, experimentation and investigating
- Children transfer and adapt what they have learnt from one context to another
Children are effective communicators (Communication)
- Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others
- Children communicate for a range of purposes
- Children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media
- Children use information and communication technologies to access information
FOOD AT KINDER
Due to the high incidence of life threatening allergies among young children, no nut products (or those containing traces) are allowed at kinder. This includes peanut butter, nutella and other nut bars.
Food needs to be supplied for your child by you, in a labelled lunch box. It is kindergarten policy that healthy eating is promoted. Suggestions include fruit, sandwiches, rolls, wraps, cheese, yoghurt, rice cakes, dry biscuits or homemade products. Homemade products need to include an ingredient list. There will be displays in the foyer early in the kinder year of ‘allowed’ and ‘not allowed’ foods, but please feel free to ask staff if you are unsure, or need suggestions. Our healthy eating policy does not include chips, lollies, chocolate or chocolate/products (eg. chocolate yogo, nutella, choc biscuits or choc milk).
A container will be provided for food that needs to be refridgerated. Please label any food that is placed in the fridge container. We do not reheat food.
Food cannot be given to your child if it has no name on it.
The healthy eating policy is in place for a number of reasons, one is to ensure that a healthy diet is promoted; it keeps lunch simple and quick as many children wish to continue playing; it eliminates the comparison and competition between individual lunches; finally it is good for dental hygiene. Please make use of kinder to nurture good eating habits in your child.
IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT KINDER BE INFORMED IF YOUR CHILD
HAS ANY SORT OF FOOD ALLERGY.
Children with specific food allergies (and non food allergies) will be listed in the kitchen for all staff and visitors to the kinder to see. Food is not shared between children. Precautions will be put in place depending on the severity of the reaction to ensure the safety and well being of all children. Where a child is excluded from eating certain foods for religious or cultural reasons, the parent’s wishes will be respected and conveyed to all staff.
NO NUTS/NUT PRODUCTS
Elsa Macleod Kindergarten is a “NO NUTS” kinder.
Children will not be allowed to bring to kinder food that contains nuts or nut products of any sort.
As you may be aware nuts and/or traces of nuts are in a lot of products. Please make sure you read food labels to make sure it is safe to send along with your child. If food is sent to kinder that is found to contain nuts or traces of nuts it will be sent home with your child. Please also check ingredients of home made cakes and slices.
Children that have nut allergies can have severe reactions so please enforce this policy.
The children, as well as staff, appreciate any help that you can give the kindergarten. Elsa Macleod Kindergarten has an open door policy, therefore we do not have a formal parent roster. Our philosophy of parent helping is that you come and spend time with your child, if you are able to. We understand that this is hard for working parents, or those parents that have other children. You are able to bring along siblings to kinder, but they are your responsibility and have to abide by kinder rules (same as the kinder children).
There is a laundry roster for washing of smocks, hand towels, etc. Assisting with excursions is also a fun way to spend time with your children.
We ask that all personal toys are left at home as we provide ample resources for the children to use and we can not take responsibility for lost or damaged toys
Kindergarten is a ‘weapon free zone’ – toy guns, knives, swords, etc are not allowed in the kindergarten.
REPORTING TO PARENTS
Throughout the kinder year, a collection of your child’s work across the learning areas will be compiled (in their individual profile book) which will show their progress and development. Parents are welcome to view their child’s book at any time during the year.
Your child will also have a school transition report written about them by the teacher. There is also a part for families to fill in. Remember you can discuss your child’s progress with the Director just by making a time for a chat.
School Readines (4 year olds only)
All children are guaranteed only one year of funded kinder. If you are unsure about your child’s readiness for school please speak to the kinder teacher. Children can be withdrawn from kinder up to the startof Term 2 and still receive funding the following year.
A sun hat is required for outdoor play as we are a ‘Sunsmart’ approved kinder. It must be a bucket, legionnaire or wide-brimmed hat. Caps are not suitable. Sunscreen must be applied to your child before they come to kinder and we will reapply it again before they go outside after lunch. The UV rating is checked daily.
WAYS TO HELP YOUR CHILD SETTLE INTO KINDER
When your child commences kindergarten, explain to him/her that you are going home, shopping, work, etc. while they play with the other children. Emphasise that you will be back to pick them up in the afternoon. Make sure that you collect your child on time so they do not become anxious.
Remember to say goodbye before you leave as your child may become upset if they
suddenly realise you are not there.
Do not prolong the goodbye. Be firm, say goodbye and leave promptly. Don’t worry about how your child behaves, staff have had a number of years experience in dealing with children having difficulty separating from parents.
Show children you are confident that they will enjoy their time at kindergarten. Don’t worry if they don’t always want to tell you about their day, sometimes they need time to think about their experiences before they are ready to talk about them.
If you have concerns or questions about your child’s progress or the kindergarten, please make a time to see the Director as soon as they arise. We also like to hear your views on the program and activities, and welcome any suggestions you may have. Should you have any praises about the kindergarten or staff, these would be welcome also.
A qualified teacher and assistant are present during all sessions. Teachers are also allocated non-contact time for administration and preparation. Your teacher and assistant have regular meetings to discuss the program and progress of individual children.
PLEASE NOTIFY US IMMEDIATELY OF ANY CHANGE OF ADDRESS OR PHONE NUMBER SO YOU MAY BE CONTACTED IN AN EMERGENCY.
PLEASE ENSURE YOUR EMERGENCY CONTACTS AND PHONE NUMBERS ARE CURRENT AND CORRECT.