In the Rainbow Room we have a childcare and integrated Kindergarten program that has been developed using the Centre’s philosophy, the National and Victorian Curriculum Frameworks, and our own personal and professional values and beliefs. We view children as strong, capable and competent. While 4 to 5 year olds require and deserve affectionate, nurturing, safe and comforting environments, they are also given more freedom and opportunities to take personal responsibility and gain independence. The children are encouraged to take risks and challenge themselves within safe boundaries in order to learn their own strengths and limits, and develop self-regulation. The Rainbow Room staff / child ratio is two to 20 with an additional five children a day doing sessional kindergarten only. Our daily routine is flexible, based loosely around the necessary times for lunch, snacks, relaxation and kindergarten sessions, with most of our day dedicated to free play in our indoor and outdoor environments.
While the general environment remains consistent, the experiences offered each day are diverse and constantly evolve due to new interests, questions, ideas or learning opportunities. Learning areas such as painting, drawing, letter writing, construction, storytelling, games and puzzles, music and movement, and dramatic play provide multiple opportunities for individuals or groups of children to engage, imagine, problem-solve, create and communicate. We utilise our outdoor yards to develop a sense of connection to the natural world, and the children are involved in caring for our two guinea pigs, tending the veggie patch, composting, worm farming, and enjoying the beautiful spaces.
Children and families are encouraged to collaborate throughout the process of planning and evaluating in any way they desire, such as giving suggestions, sharing resources, helping to arrange furniture or providing feedback.
The two full-time staff in the room, one of whom is a qualified kindergarten teacher, interact with the children throughout the day, encouraging them to question and think, providing support to try new things, role-modelling positive social skills and conflict resolution, or just simply playing, laughing and enjoying the magic of it all.
Each day we record observations of the children through photos and written notes, and these are linked to learning processes and outcomes in the group Reflection Diary and individual portfolios. Once again, these are collaborative documents, with opportunities for families and children to share their own perspectives and experiences. We have found this to be a very meaningful and rewarding experience, and a lovely record of your child’s explorations and achievements over the year. In addition to this, we are available daily for informal chats during drop-offs and pick-ups, phone conversations throughout the day, as well as the opportunity for you to arrange a more formal meeting to discuss your child’s progress. We have an open-door policy and encourage parents to spend ample time in the room during the settling period to ensure your child (and you) feels comfortable, and we welcome anyone who would like to share a special talent with the group – such as singing, cooking, gardening or storytelling.