Early education innovation

Early education innovation

JANUARY 2018 | Joanne Eisemann

OUR LADY of Mercy, a Catholic primary school in Deloraine is offering innovative playgroup sessions once per week that aim to gently prepare children for school life.

The Birth to 4 group is part of Our Lady of Mercy’s new Early Learning Centre’s suite of programs, designed to pick up possible inhibitors to learning, and enabling a smooth integration for children into school life.

With no obligation to later enrol children at the school, the Birth to 4 program is offered free of charge to all children in the age group.

“We have a beautiful Birth to 4 program running at the moment which has only been operational since third term” says school principal Mary Wall.

The playgroup runs once per week during school terms and began in response to the number of children starting Kinder who needed support with speech.

“It may be the articulation of words or sounds or it might be the way that they converse or can’t converse either with their peers or other adults,” explains Mary, adding “4yr old children coming into Kinder aren’t expected to be Einstein’s but grammar or speech issues may aect their ability to spell and read later on. A small intervention at that age can make their lives so much easier later on.”

“The Birth to 4yrs playgroup offers a range of activities that have an educational focus but parents and children may not necessarily be aware of that,” explains Mary.

“It’s a gently, gently approach. Each child develops at their own rate, kids aren’t expected to fit a mould but there are milestones that we need them to get through.”

“It’s a gentle introduction to school and very play based.”

“What’s promising from our point of view is that our little playgroup that started off with two daycare mums bringing in a half a dozen children has now grown to 21 children,” shares Mary.

The Birth to 4yrs playgroup and a Pre Kinder program for 3yr olds are offered each school week at no charge, as well as fee-based Early Learning day care for 3-5yr olds and the regular Kindergarten program for 4yr olds.

The Birth to 4yrs program will begin in 2018 on Thursday 8th of Feb at 9.30am. The pre kinder program starts on Monday 12th of Feb at 9.00am.

For information please phone 6362 2323.

 Mike Moores

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