About

Welcome to First Friends Preschool.

frontFinding a new early childhood service for your child can be a daunting task. At First Friends Preschool our aim is to provide a secure and happy environment where children can develop their intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and aesthetic skills to become competent and confident individuals, and for you as a parent/guardian to feel safe knowing that your child is receiving the best possible care.

We cater for children 2 to 5 years in age appropriate group configurations.


At our Centre our age groupings are:

The Koala Group – for 2 Year Olds

The Koala group Educators, program developmental experiences for your child according to their level of skill and based on their interest. We follow your child’s lead and aim to increase your child’s skills and abilities in preparation for transition to the Wombat group.

The Koala group caters for your child’s growing independence during their toddler years.

The Koala group builds the foundations and prepares your child for the transition up to the Wombat group

The Wombat Group – for 3-4 Year Olds

The Wombat group caters for your child’s growing knowledge and capabilities during their Preschool years.

As children move towards 3 years of age their language and social skills increase dramatically. A child’s preschool years are an intense time of learning and consolidation capitalizing on their existing trust, bonds with the centre Educators

During their time in the Wombat group Educators to determine their developmental needs and capitalise on this year before their Transition to School year.

Kookaburra Group – 4-5 Year Olds

A child’s preschool years are an intense time of learning and consolidation capitalizing on their existing trust bonds with the Centre Educators ahead of commencing formal schooling.

Transitioning to ‘big school’ is an important time in your child’s life – and yours. We focus on making this transition as smooth as possible, and giving your child important skills to help them enter school with confidence. We also aim to inspire a lifelong love of learning in your child.

At this time of your child’s life, he or she is busy exploring new friendships, learning to make decisions, and becoming more aware of his or her own unique talents and abilities. For this reason, their kindergarten – preschool experience will lay an important foundation for their future. Providing a stimulating and nurturing environment is vitally important.

Philosophy

philosophyAt First Friends Preschool we aim to provide the highest level of care and education for your child in a warm, nurturing and safe environment. By creating a feeling of acceptance and sense of belonging, we provide an environment, which enables each child to feel safe and secure. The child will have a sense of belonging, wellbeing, a strong sense of identity, the child will be connected with and actively contribute to his or her world. The child will be a confident and involved learner and effective communicator.

The Centre provides educationally appropriate and stimulating programs to assist development of the whole child, their physical, social, emotional, cognitive, creative and moral growth. Indoor and outdoor experiences are provided in small and large group situations. These experiences cater for each child’s individual needs and reflect current interests of the group or an individual child. We recognise the value of play in enhancing a child’s development. Research has found that children attain higher levels of achievement through engaging in play.

“Children’s early learning influences their life chances” (Early Years Learning Framework, 2009)

The program also reflects the community needs and wants of structure and an emphasis on school readiness. Our educational play-based programs assist each child to build and develop at their own individual rate with guidance and support by all educators:

  • Confidence, curiosity and imagination
  • Independence and self esteem
  • Respect for themselves and others
  • Friendly and caring behaviour
  • Foster and reinforce self regulation
  • An understanding and appreciation of the rights and feelings of other people

philosophy-2Our programs also reflect the full appreciation of Australia’s multicultural society, enhancing the children’s awareness of, and respect for cultural differences and similarities. Our programs are designed to help your child in developing all areas of success now and in later years and to equip them with the necessary tools for life.

“Educators’ practices and the relationships they form with children and families have a significant effect on children’s involvement and success in learning. Children thrive when families and educators work together in partnership to support young children’s learning” (Early Years Learning Framework, 2009)

First Friends Preschool endeavours to create a “family-like” atmosphere and recognise the importance of creating a link between home and the Centre, where both parents and educators work in partnership to develop the child as a whole in a mutually supportive and caring environment. Children and families are welcomed into the centre regardless of culture, religious and family beliefs and our educators are sensitive to and respectful of these practices.

“When educators establish respectful and caring relationships with children and families, they are able to work together to construct curriculum and learning experiences relevant to children in their local context.” (Early Years Framework, 2009)

All educators at our service are trained and experienced in areas of early education and care. Due to our high standard and commitment of our educators, we are able to provide specific developmental and educational curricula for each group of children.

We will use the relationships children have with their families and communities to build the curriculum, working in partnership with parents, to ensure each child’s knowledge, ideas, culture, abilities and interests are the foundation of our programs.

Goals

Child Goals

For children to:
goals

  • Feel safe secure and supported.
  • Develop their emerging autonomy, independence, resilience and sense of agency.
  • Develop knowledgeable and self identities.
  • Learn to interact in relation to others with care, empathy and respect.
  • Develop a sense of belonging to groups and communities and an understanding of 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 become strong in their emotional wellbeing.
  • Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity.
  • Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, inquiry, experimentation, hypothesizing, researching and investigating.
  • Children transfer and adapt what they have learned from one context to another.
  • Children resource their own learning through connecting with people, places, technologies and natural and processed materials.
  • Children engage with a range of texts and gain meaning from these texts.
  • Children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media.
  • Children begin to understand how symbols and pattern systems work.
  • Children use information and communication technologies to access information and, investigate ideas and represent thinking.

Staff Goals

For staff to:

staff_goals

  • Develop warm respectful relationships with children, create safe and predictable environments and encourage children’s active engagement in the learning program
  • Be respectful and ethical.
  • Have professional standards to guide practice, interactions and relationships.
  • Staff members work collaboratively and affirm, challenge, support and learn from each other to further develop their skills and to improve practice and relationships.
  • Staff interactions will convey mutual respect, equity and recognition of each others strengths and skills.
  • Maintain confidentiality with regards to issues and those concerned with the centre.
  • Maintain loyal to the centre and those involved in the centre.

Parent/Community Goals

For the centre to:

  • Focus on collaborative relationships with families that are fundamental to achieving quality outcomes for children and community partnerships that are based on active communication, consultation and collaboration.
  • Build relationships and engage with the local community.
  • Support families in their parenting role and their values and beliefs about child rearing are respected.
  • Collaborate with other organizations and service providers to enhance children’s learning and wellbeing.
  • Link with relevant community and support agencies are established and maintained.
  • Respectful and supportive relationships with families are developed and maintained.
  • Families are encouraged to be involved in the service and contribute to service decisions.
  • Ensure the expertise of families is recognized and they share in decision making about their child’s learning and well being.
  • Provide a service, which reflects and responds to the needs of the parents and the community.
  • Accept and provide for the differing compositions of family units, being aware of and supportive to the stresses confronting families.

environmental

Environment Goals

For the Centre to provide:

  • A stimulating challenging creative environment to promote and encourage learning and discovery.
  • An environment, which is warm, comfortable, accepting and nurturing.
  • A stimulating environment, which is safe, comfortable and spacious with a balance between hard and soft surfaces and free and contained space as to respect children’s need for social as well as private activity.
  • An environment that is inclusive, promotes competence, independence exploration and learning.
  • Take an active role in caring for its environment and contributes to a sustainable future.
  • The environment is safe clean and well maintained.
  • Design and equipment can be adapted to ensure access and participation by every child in the service and to allow flexible use, and interaction between indoor and outdoor space.
  • The indoor and outdoor spaces are organized to engage every child in quality experiences in both built and natural environments.
  • Children are supported to become environmentally responsible and show respect for the environment.

Program Goals

The staff are focused, active and reflective in designing and delivering the program for each child.

  • The Early Years Learning Framework is embraced and implemented.
  • Curriculum decision making contributes to each child’s learning and development outcomes in relation to their identity, connection with community, wellbeing, confidence as learners and effectiveness as communicators.
  • Each child’s current knowledge, ideas, culture, abilities and interests are the foundation of the program.
  • The program is organized to maximize opportunities for each child’s learning.
  • Documentation about each child and the program is accessible to families.
  • Reflection on children’s learning and development, both as individuals and in groups, is regularly used to implement the program.

program_goals

Our team of educators and staff are committed to providing children and families with a coordinated approach to a warm, nurturing and engaging environment that celebrates diversity and the right of every child to have access to high quality care regardless of their individual needs.

We understand the important role the Centre plays in nurturing and educating the children in our care and through our staff development of loving relationships based on trust and security.

An emphasis is placed on children and families receiving greater individual attention through goal setting, child progress records and family involvement in centre planning and events.

We will be following the Early Years Learning Framework as per our Education, Curriculum and Learning Policy.

We have an identified Educational Leader who is responsible for overseeing the curriculum at our centre.

All Educators at our Service are trained and experienced in areas of early education and care. Due to our high standard and commitment of our Educators, we are able to provide developmental and educational curricula for each group of children.

Information regarding our Education Team is on display in the centre foyer.

We will use the relationships children have with their families and communities to build the curriculum, working in partnership with parents, to ensure each child’s knowledge, ideas, culture, abilities and interests are the foundation of our programs.

Get to know our Centre Director

Vanessa Woods

First Friends Preschool Dural Director

vanessa_woodsAs an Educator I have a strong belief that children flourish when surrounded in an environment, which incorporates a wide range of aspects. I feel that children’s learning should be a tight knit partnership between families, educators and ‘the world around them’ (community). With this as a base, children can have a smooth transition from home to care, big school and also into the wider community.


Tell us about yourself, your interests outside of work?

My name is Vanessa Woods, I have been working in the Early Childhood Profession for more than 20 years while also being a busy mum to my 12 year old daughter. My vision is to incorporate the natural elements of the local environment and combine sustainable practices, strong partnerships with families and involvement in the wider community for the enrichment and education of children.

What inspires you?

I am passionate about providing children with age appropriate opportunities, which help them to achieve their milestones and reach their full potential.

Tell us about the service you offer at First Friends Preschool.

Our centre holistically combines the strength of a connected community and our families needs which then transposes into our curriculum creating meaningful experiences for your child every day. We believe that our environment provides
opportunities for children to explore and experience while supporting their individual stages of development. As Educators, we scaffold during these experiences to extend children’s knowledge and understanding. We aspire to provide a welcoming environment that is creative, imaginative, inspiring and challenging.

Why do you think you meet the needs of the families in your community?

The centre strives to build strong partnerships with the local community and to incorporate our families need. We aspire to provide an inclusive environment that creates a sense of belonging through valuing and respecting all cultures, abilities and challenges. We believe that our relationships with families and the wider community are paramount, these connections assist collaboratively in developing our programming and practices.

Explain in one sentence what it is like to spend a day in the shoes of a leader in the early childhood profession?

I find this role rewarding although challenging and I find that there are never two days the same.

What’s the best thing a child has ever said to you?

A child said to a blonde staff member “You’re going to heaven soon because your hair is white.”

Learning environments

learning_environmentIndoor and outdoor play based experiences are an integral part of our program. Play is essential to all children’s development as moments will arise when they discover something that interests them and these become ‘teachable moments’.

Staff plan a diverse range of experiences to create opportunities for both structured and spontaneous play focused on the physical, emotional/social, sensory and cognitive developmental areas of each child.

Children learn through their own experiences using trial and error, repetition, imitation and identification. Staff use interactive strategies to support children’s growth and learning. We advocate children learning best through play – direct play, hands on experiences to discover the environment around them by exploring and playing.

Each room will follow varying, developmentally appropriate routines. A simple, flexible daily routine would apply to our infant and toddler age groups then slightly shifting to a flexible yet predictable daily routine for preschool age group/s. Our school readiness program continues to emphasise play based learning however, additionally offers structured learning times to focus on number concepts, perceptual skills and pre-writing skills such as tracing, completing patterns and reproducing patterns. The goal is to develop a foundation for basic math, reading and writing skills.

Routines and programs are displayed in each room for you to peruse and we invite you to contribute and make suggestions to your child’s Educators. Parents and Guardians are invited to discuss the activities, experiences and subsequent developmental outcomes achieved that are integrated within our programs.

vanessa_woodsWelcome To First Friends Preschool Dural

Our philosophy, our teams, our vision and our resources provide your child with the best possible start in life.

Vanessa Woods

Director