ellaslist Reviews Guardian Early Learning Childcare Kew East

  • Mums & Bubs
    Toddlers

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By Stacey Roberts, ellaslist
November 21, 2018

Walking into the calm, light-filled space at Guardian Early Learning Kew East is a real treat. The ground floor of this architecturally designed two-storey child care centre is an open-plan wonderland in which custom-built outdoor-simulated areas provide exciting play experiences in amongst more cosy nooks for quieter, more nurturing activities. Whilst on the top floor, for children aged between 2.5 and 5 years of age, the focus is placed on preparing children with skills needed to thrive in the 21st century, and children are encouraged to be curious and independent.

As I stroll through the room with Centre Manager Janene Melchior (who stops repeatedly for cuddles with the toddlers), I'm impressed with how relaxed everyone seems, both the children and those who care for them. The large windows on two sides of the space provide not only a peek into the busy outside world, but also incredible natural light that enhances the indoor/outdoor feel of the centre.

The most striking features amongst the Reggio Emilia inspired furniture and materials are the large natural-material climbing frames, sandpits, ramps and rocks that are available for the children to explore - as full-sized as you'd expect outdoor play structures to be, but totally enclosed within the first storey. A jungle of greenery thrives in and around the play space, adding to the realistic feel. This room is is where the babies and toddlers eat, sleep and play, with brand new changing facilities, a fully-stocked cot room (and one extra room that has been converted into a light atelier, further enhancing the babies' sensory play), and seemingly endless equipment to discover.

Once a day the babies and toddlers head upstairs to interact with the older children, some of whom are their siblings. On this top level you'll find the outdoor play areas - one with greenery, a small garden and sandpit shaded with large umbrellas; and the other another fully-equipped climbing frame and sand pit in amongst large palms and plants perfect for physical exploration.

Indoors on this level you will find play and rest spaces suited to the older children (between 2.5 and 5 years of age), where the curriculum focus is on school readiness. At Guardian, school readiness begins from a child’s first day at the centre, through development of literacy and numeracy skills with every age group.

This curriculum is facilitated by Janene and her staff, some of whom have worked together previously in various other centres before being brought across to the new premises. Janene bases the curriculum on the children's ideas and interests, believing that the child is at the centre of their own learning. "We need to allow them the space to explore, wonder and create independently," she says. "It is important to build relationships and to really immerse yourself in your interactions with the children and with each other as educators." The children are exposed to a mixture of structured and unstructured learning experiences which develop their natural skills and curiosity.

In amongst the learning and relationship-building is the emphasis placed on good nutrition and communication between meals, with the children helping to set the table, serve, and clean up after the cook prepares the five balanced meals provided throughout the day. The kitchen is also a learning environment and features an open servery, giving visibility to the process of food preparation and promoting interactions with the cook, who often leads the children in cooking experiences. 

As Guardian aims to be fully integrated into the surrounding Kew East community, Janene and her staff facilitate short trips and excursions to parks and cafes in the area. On the day of my visit a small group of eight were headed to the local playground to have their morning tea, and I was told that in time the excursions would be expanded to city trips and tram rides. The locals find the sight of the eight-seater pram wheeled down the streets of their suburb a very sweet one, and always wave hello.

The centre provides sunscreen, hat and an environmentally friendly bag, breakfast, lunch, morning and afternoon tea and a late snack at the end of the day, all nappies, bibs, and bedding for the children in their care, and provide a Centre-to-Family communication platform so families can maintain contact with their children’s experiences through photos, stories and learning outcomes. You can even take a 3D tour of the centre on their website.

Physical tours of Guardian Kew East are encouraged, and you can book a tour here.

You can find them at: 720 High St, Kew East
Opening hours: 7am - 6.30pm
Ph: 13 82 30
Website: www.guardian.edu.au

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