Our Programs

Three and Four year old Kindergarten

Minifie has operated a Government funded four-year old Minifie Park Kindergarten since 2011. On the back of the success of our four year old program and in light of the current research, Minifie’s Committee decided to invest in the establishment of a three year old kindergarten program from the beginning of 2016.

Our 4 y.o Kindergarten Program is managed and facilities by our Lead Kindergarten Teacher, Sarah French. Sarah is a qualified Early Childhood Teacher and has over 10 years’ experience in a variety of early childhood education and care settings.

Our 3 y.o Kindergarten Program is managed and facilitated by Maya Huang in our Preschool room. Maya is a fully qualified Early Childhood Teacher with a Bachelor of Education.

The Kindergarten Programs operate throughout the Victorian school terms from Monday to Friday, 9:00am - 4:30pm. Each day the Kindergarten Programs provides 7.5 hours of high quality early childhood education, meaning that a child can receive 15 hours of Kindergarten within a minimum of a two day booking.

Each of Minifie Park's Kindergarten Programs have capacity for up to 22 children per day. The programs each day are run by our qualified early childhood teachers and co-educators. Extension programs are run before and after Kindergarten each day, as well as during school holidays. Extension programs are facilitated by the  Kindergarten’s co-educators, promoting continuity and consistency throughout the entire program.

Kindergarten information sessions are held in June each year and aim to provide families with a full understanding of our Kindergarten programs. This will also be an opportunity to meet our Kindergarten team and a chance for you to relay any questions you may have.

Children currently enrolled at MPECC have priority for being offered a Kindergarten position.

Outdoor Education

Minifie Park facilitates an “All-weather Program”. This means that children will have access to and will be encouraged to participate in the outdoor education program all year round; rain, hail or shine. The role of outdoor play is a crucial part of early childhood education. While it is often dismissed as an opportunity for the children to simply ‘have a run’ there is a large body of research which indicates the benefits of outdoor play for the development of children in early childhood. In an increasingly sedentary society, where children are spending more time in front of a screen and less time outdoors, it is important that we place a strong emphasis on outdoor play and advocate for the right for children to spend time in the natural world.

The benefits of outdoor play are well researched and provide a basis for why we as educators at Minifie Park provide programs with a strong outdoor focus all through the year. As our Philosophy states ‘We encourage the children to build their own understandings of how the world around them works and their role within the world through real life experiences’. Outdoor play plays a crucial role in the development of children’s understanding of the world around them and it is this unstructured play which supports children to engage in rich complex learning.

Some of the key benefits for children who spend significant periods of time engaged in outdoor play include:

Opportunities for risk taking: The ability for children to learn how to manage risk is extremely beneficial in our ever growing risk adverse society. Children need to learn how to develop the skills and knowledge to make good choices based on their own judgment. Risk taking is also important for supporting children’s:

Social and emotional skills: Children learn and develop a range of social and emotional skills as they engage in outdoor play. Research tells us that outdoor play has a positive effect on children’s social behaviour as they learn to work together collaboratively, negotiate, follow rules and there are fewer conflicts. Children’s emotional wellbeing is supported through outdoor play as it reduces stress and anxiety and builds confidence and self-esteem.

Language development: While engaged in outdoor play, children use more complex language and sentence structures as they constantly describe what they see, do and feel.

Better health: Children who spend significant periods of time outdoors have fewer infections, develop a stronger immune system and are exposed to Vitamin D. This is particularly evident during the winter months.

Cognitive Development: Outdoor play provides a range of challenges for children, which supports their cognitive development in terms of problem solving, reasoning, conceptual development, autonomous thinking, observational skills, concentration and memory skills. It also supports children’s varied learning styles and children are intrinsically motivated to learn.

Environmental Awareness: Children who spend significant periods of time outdoors develop a deeper understanding of environmental and conservation issues, as it fosters respect and a caring attitude towards the environment.

Outdoor play undoubtedly has a great many benefits that supports children’s development. In other parts of the world, children flourish in outdoor education programs such as the Forest Schools in Denmark, Germany and Ireland. Children in these programs play outdoors in snow, rain and sunshine. It is important that we enable children’s learning and awareness of the world around them by encouraging as much time outdoors as possible, regardless of the weather.

 

Intergenerational Program

At MPECC, we believe in the value of building strong connections within our local Community. One of the ways in which we will be achieving this is by initiating an ‘Intergenerational Program’ with St Catherine’s Aged Care Facility. As part of this program, we regularly take small groups of children from different age groups to visit and play with the elderly residents. We also facilitate reciprocal visits, where some of the residents from St Catherine’s will come to visit the children here at Minifie. There are many wonderful mutual benefits to be gained by the children and the elderly from participating in the program and we hope to foster a positive contribution to our local community.

Some of the aims for the Intergenerational Program are;

Through this program we look forward to enjoying and contributing to a rich learning experience that will achieve positive outcomes for all generations.