SELC-St Nicholas -Service Philosophy

In regards to children;

At Shepherd Early Learning Centre- St Nicholas, we believe all children have a voice that we respect and value. The children are encouraged to freely express their views and use their voice to contribute to the decision making process wherever possible to actively direct their own learning.  

We believe all children have a right to feel a sense of belonging to our service and encourage all children to develop respectful and positive reciprocal relationships with one another. 

We support the healthy development of children by promoting physical activity, healthy eating and reducing screen time via the Munch & Move program.

We empower our children to be confident and long life learners so that they develop a sense of autonomy and independence in a nurturing and supportive environment to reach their full potential.

In regards to families;

At Shepherd Early Learning Centre -St Nicholas, we endeavour to provide a welcoming, positive, safe and caring environment where every family is respected and valued. We acknowledge the uniqueness and diversity that each family brings to the service.

We welcome open communication and complement the role of the family in a child’s life by encouraging family partnership through consultation and collaboration. 

Families will be kept up to date and informed of their child’s day, centres policies and procedures or any changes regularly through meetings, newsletters and notice boards. The centre’s policies will be displayed for the parents view.

We support our families through difficult times and decisions and we are always here to help in any way we can.

In regards to educators;

At Shepherd Early Learning Centre-St Nicholas; we believe that each educator brings fundamental personal qualities such as empathy, compassion, respect and warmth to our centre.

We support and value all input into decision making by our staff and encourage them with their professional development. 

We acknowledge the importance of working in collaboration and ensuring continuous improvement through an ongoing cycle of reviewing current practices to provide high quality care and education.

In regards to community and culture;

At Shepherd Early Learning Centre-St Nicholas, we recognise all children as individuals with rights and allow them to be involved and included in an environment that is free from stereotypes, discrimination and judgements.

We also recognise that indigenous communities have lived and learned on this land and we acknowledge the original custodians of the land on which we are situated. We endeavour to continue their traditions of teaching, learning and respecting the environment. We actively seek engagement and consultation with this community.

We strive to continually strengthen our professional relationships with experts outside of the centre, and we utilise their knowledge and expertise to ensure we provide children and families with the best education possible.

We provide a range of different incursions and excursions throughout the year, ensuring the children and families are provided with information in child friendly ways.

We also have strong connections with surrounding centres and local primary schools, constantly working to keep and strengthen these professional relationships.

In regards to learning and documentation;

At Shepherd Early Learning Centre -St Nicholas, we provide stimulating learning environments where children are encouraged to make their own choices based on individual needs, strengths and interests to further encourage children’s learning. We promote equity and inclusion throughout our programs particularly children with additional needs.

Each room provides an age-appropriate, child-centered weekly program, utilising the Early Years Learning framework as our guide, as well as encouraging family input to the program. 

Although our curriculum is mostly play-based, numeracy and literacy are intentionally taught through our learning programs i.e. Pre-Kinder program.

Documentation of children’s learning includes monthly individual anecdotal observations, photos, and work samples to be kept in individual portfolios for the end of the year.

As educators, we are continuously reflecting on experiences, activities and teachings, providing informed decisions about future learning for each child.

In regards to environment;

At Shepherd Early Learning Centre-St Nicholas, we aim to provide a welcoming, home-like feeling, with natural lighting and airflow where possible.

We strive to provide flexible spaces, including children’s input in the setup of the room and yard. 

We encourage the exploration of Loose Parts Play whereby educators, children and their families donate, reuse, renew and recycle materials at our centre. This promotes a sense of connection to nature and aims to ensure that the children develop lifelong respectful, positive and proactive attitudes to our environment and a sustainable future.