Community Kindergartens WA
If you’re looking for an alternative to mainstream, on school grounds kindergarten for your child, perhaps it’s time to consider a Community Kindergarten WA. It’s a kindy experience you likely remember from your own childhood. Designed on the best practise for kindergarten in WA, they’ve even got the support of parenting expert Maggie Dent.
Community Kindergartens in WA do things a little differently. These educational facilities are tailored to young children turning 4 before June of the following year at the time of enrolment. Everything about them is suited to small children, including the bathrooms, the tables and chairs, and the playground outside. The kindies are partially funded under the Education Department, and are parent and community lead. There are currently 17 Community Kindies located around Perth and the south west.
Located in stand-alone facilities, these kindies are generally off-site from the local school. Therefore the days are not driven by a loud siren or a greater school schedule. Consequently, young children have an opportunity to explore their world and their interests more freely through play-based learning and nature play. During their lessons, children learn about the ocean, the weather, where food comes from, family and community, and so much more.
While the basis of their educational programs is play-based, lessons are based on the Western Australian curriculum and Early Years Framework. Teachers and teaching assistants are appointed by the Department of Education. The education your child receives is identical to that of an on-site school-based program.
For example, a normal kindy day begins with mat time. This is spent discussing the plan for the morning, the weather and the day of the week. The group may read a story and discuss words and concepts from this. From there, the children spend around an hour busy with educational play-based activities. Children can choose to paint, build, read books or play in the home corner for instance. There are activities exploring the nature, or for practicing fine motor skills and others for pencil grip. The teacher and teachers assistant take small groups or individual children aside for one on one activities, focusing on literacy, numeracy and more. After that, children share a morning tea of fruit, then head outside.
At Tuart Hill Community Kindy, the children complete a small obstacle course that tests their climbing and motor skills. They are then free to play. They can choose from riding bikes, digging in the sand or playing in the mud kitchen for example. After that, the children head inside to wash up for lunch. And that’s just half the day!
Children are exposed to STEM and arts concepts over the course of the year, in addition to literacy and numeracy. They experience the life cycle of animals in the class room and grow plants. They cook scones or gingerbread men with their teacher or create camp sites outside with natural materials.
Having sent my own child to one of these amazing kindies, I cannot begin to tell you how great they are! If your child is energetic, curious and seeks sensory experiences like mine, they will thrive in a Community Kindy environment. My child doesn’t fit the “standard school child” box. Therefore, Community Kindy was perfect for her bright and curious nature. She was able to go barefoot most of the day and explore her interests in addition to the required lessons.
What I enjoyed was the community feel of the kindy. The parent committee has is involved in running of the kindy, including how to spend funding. For example, our group upgraded our mud kitchen and added some new fence screening to play areas. We also purchased new resources to help focus on the specific educational needs of our children as guided by our teacher. We had a fantastic, proactive parent group. Our group was lucky to have parents who helped with fundraising, those who were creative or those who were handy with small jobs around the kindy.
As a result of our experience, we made school friends who have lasted past that school year. There are friends who we see daily at our new primary school. In addition, there are others who may have gone on to other schools, but we still keep in touch. Our group had sleepless mum’s with new babies, mum’s with post-natal depression, parents searching for new jobs. We all rallied together to support each other throughout the year. Moreover, we rallied to promote our kindy for enrolments for the following year.
Classes numbers are small. The minimum enrolment number set by the WA Department of Education as of December 2018 is 16 children, with a maximum class size of 20. The schedule varies from kindy to kindy, with some running three days one week, two days the next, while others run 2.5 days per week.
The cost of Community Kindies is on par with your local public school. The voluntary fees we paid in 2018 were $60 for the year, plus a handful of stationary items on the book list. These book list items benefit all the children in the class.
In conclusion, these kindies are good value and don’t cost the Earth! Enrol now for the following school year.
Community Kindergartens in WA
Community Kindies are at 17 locations across Perth and the South West. See the Community Kindergarten Association website for the locations or visit the individual kindergarten Facebook pages from the list below for more information.
Furthermore, if you love the Community Kindy concept for your child, but there currently isn’t one in your area, here’s what to do… Please contact the Community Kindergarten Association. Contact your state member of parliament, and please tell the Department of Education you want one in your area. The Community Kindergarten Association would love to assist you. It would be fantastic to make this style of kindy the norm again.
South of the River
Kindaimanna Community Kindergarten (Kelmscott)
Hazel Orme Community Kindergarten (White Gum Valley)
Pineview Community Kindergarten (Coolbellup)
North of the River
Seaview Community Kindergarten (Cottesloe)
East of the City
Spring Road Community Kindergarten (Kalamunda)
Lockyer Community Kindergarten (Albany)
Lower King Community Kindergarten (Albany)
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