“The School Readiness Program provides a stepping stone from long day care routines and curriculum to a more school-based routine enabling a gentler transition,” MercyCare Bedford Early Learning Centre Manager Tegan Hansen said.
Research shows children who start school when developmentally ready to learn tend to do better in school, setting them up for further success later in life.
Taught and developed by a qualified early childhood teacher, the Bedford program is offered two days a week during school hours. The program is covered by the Child Care Subsidy, allowing parents to dramatically reduce out-of-pocked expenses.
Children are gently introduced to what a typical day at school would be like, from school hours to daily routines. The Program links with the Early Years Learning Framework and WA Kindergarten Curriculum within an environment where children learn collaboratively and complete project work in groups.
Designed to build confidence, resilience and independence, the program teaches children fundamental skills required to start Kindergarten.
“We have liaised with Kindergarten teachers and identified common gaps in developmental milestones expected to be reached before children start school. Our aim is to ensure children are meeting the developmental milestones necessary to confidentially step into the classroom,” MercyCare Early Learning Services operations manager Rosina Smith said.
Routines and skills taught include getting used to a nine-to-three day, eating at certain times, self-help skills including self-dressing, being responsible for own belongings, taking turns to speak in front of the group and more.
School Readiness Program also nurture children’s all-important social skills.
“We’ve had children come into the program extremely shy and then to see them gradually come out of their shell as their confidence builds is fantastic,” Ms Hansen said.
Parents are able to stay connected with their child’s activities and progress throughout the day through the Xplor Program, which allows for interaction with educators in real time.
“Our experience over the years has identified that many children struggle with the transition to school. The School Readiness Program was introduced to support and prepare our children and families for this next step,” Ms Smith said.
“We want to ensure our children leave us as competent and confident learners set-up to achieve success.”