Our Program and Approach
At our centre childhood is celebrated. When they play and explore, children's imagination and curiosity is sparked – they enjoy learning, and are inspired to continue learning more.
The name ‘Kooinda’ means ‘a happy place’ in the local indigenous Awabakal language. Our focus is on ensuring we provide a happy, safe and accepting environment, which reflects and enriches the lives and identities of the children and families that attend our centre.
We believe that care and education are intertwined during early childhood and emphasise the importance of play-based learning within our program. We take a holistic approach to teaching and learning, recognising the physical, personal, social, cognitive, emotional and spiritual aspects of learning experiences and their connectedness. Our educators value and build on children’s interests, strengths, skills and knowledge to ensure their motivation and engagement in learning.
Our program provides children with the opportunity to develop and share their knowledge and expertise with their peers and the educators through a range of experiences such as gardening, investigating the flora and fauna, mud kitchen, frog pond, composting and worm farms, arts and crafts, music and movement, physical play, science, block building, sand and water play, early numeracy activities such as counting and measurement, and early literacy activities such as reading, drawing and writing.
At Kooinda, we give priority to nurturing genuine relationships and providing children with consistent emotional support in order to develop the skills and understandings they need to interact positively with others.
We greatly value the strong relationships between our staff, children and families, and we look forward to the opportunity of including your family in the life of our centre.
We Focus On
In addition to the high quality well-rounded programs we offer, all KU centres are also encouraged to develop an area of focus.
At Kooinda, we focus on exploring the natural environment.
We utilise the natural environment of Kooinda and the University of Newcastle campus to deliver our program and focus on caring for our environment and developing children’s interest in creating a sustainable future.
We incorporate this into our program through regular bush and campus walks and investigative projects that incorporate science, art, maths, literacy and exploring the ecosystem of Kooinda. We want children to be able to dig in the mud, climb trees, discover and learn about insects and enjoy connecting with nature.
We feel that the children benefit from this focus, because it provides them with an understanding and developing knowledge of how our actions impact the environment.
Our centre has been independently assessed by the Department of Education NSW under the National Quality Standards, and are proud to be rated as Exceeding the National Quality Standard.
However what matters most is what our families think...
“Our boys have thrived on the supportive and caring environment offered at Kooinda. We always enjoy hearing about the diverse activities and experiences they have participated in. We are always impressed with the flexibility of Kooinda to accommodate the individual needs of each child. The Kooinda team work hard to include activities that link the children with the community and current events.” – Kooinda parent
"Our eldest daughter experienced the wonders of Kooinda for her formative years. Our youngest daughter is currently revelling in the centre’s Pre-School room. We cannot say enough delightful praises about both the permanent and casual staff. Aside from their consummate professionalism, their dedication to each and every child in their care, as individuals and in social development, is unsurpassable. Whatever my girls achieve in their lives will, at least in part, be completely attributable to the staff at Kooinda. We cannot thank you all enough for loving our daughters so completely.” – Kooinda parent
Each KU centre is unique. The best outcomes for children are created within relationships and interactions between children and staff, and children and their families, not within four walls. We work hard to create beautiful, interesting, homelike learning environments for children – whatever our setting.
At Kooinda, all children are given the opportunity to play in the same outdoor space. This provides lovely opportunities for siblings and friends to interact. We love seeing the wonderful relationships that develop between babies, toddlers and preschoolers.
Our playground is designed to maximise the use of the natural environment and allow children to play and explore as they would in their own backyard. We offer stimulating activities that arouse children’s curiosity and encourage them to choose from a variety of planned experiences, expanding their learning potential. Our playground includes natural elements such as sand, water, grass, mud, leaves and twigs, and we also offer gross motor experiences such as climbing, jumping and physical play. We foster the holistic development of each child so they feel inspired to create, imagine and play.