Children, like adults, learn best when they are engaged in experiences that they are interested in. At Annie Dennis Kindergarten children actively engage in a play based educational program that is built around their strengths and interests, whilst reflecting the aims and outcomes of the new Early Years Learning Framework. Children are encouraged to be involved in “real” experiences such as connecting with people outside the family, weeding the garden, cooking, and taking care of kindergarten resources. We believe kindergarten is not just about preparation for school, but preparation for life.
We believe the arts are a powerful motivator for learning. There is no “right” or “wrong” answer in art, and this helps the children to develop their confidence. We offer many open-ended art materials daily for children to express their ideas. The drawing table is a permanent fixture of our room, and children are constantly encouraged to represent their thinking graphically. There is a strong link between drawing and literacy: children are putting meaning to the marks that they make and creating “language”.
Our beautiful outdoor space sets Annie Dennis apart from many kindergartens, and contains a beautiful Moreton Bay Fig, the oldest tree in Northcote. Our resident rascally rabbit Poppy can often be found hopping around the garden, digging in the mud patch or nibbling on the shrubbery. The children are actively involved in the daily care of our kindergarten pets, which helps them to build a love of nature and interconnectedness with the environment.
In 2020 Annie Dennis Childcare Centre is moving to a fully integrated kindergarten program – offering both integrated kinder and integrated pre-kinder education programs. Sessional kindergarten and pre-kinder education programs will no longer be available.