Our Program and Approach
At KU Ourimbah, together with you and your child, we build a shared understanding of play and learning. We do this in unique ways, through a lively teaching environment, through connections with the natural world and through the use of virtual dialogue, which keeps you in touch with moments of discovery and wonder. Our commitment lies in a belief that children learn best through sensitive interactions based on warm and rich relationships. We recognise children’s wellbeing is based in an entitlement to playful learning in safety and with others. Every child is welcomed, included and seen as unique.
At KU Ourimbah, we search to understand the children’s fascinations that they bring with them every day and in so doing, promote each child’s sense of belonging. Children's family life is respected; the recognition of home cultures underpins our approach.
Our daily routine guides the progress of the day. Routines are developed to give consistency alongside flexibility, so we can accommodate emergent learning from many spontaneous opportunities that arise. The routine has periods of quiet and energetic times, group and individual experiences, child initiated and adult directed activities. Routines are recognised as important opportunities for learning. We are responsive to the individual needs of our children and our group times include music, story and drama, science, mathematics, geography, history, technology and physical activity.
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.
In addition to the high quality well-rounded programs we offer, all KU centres are also encouraged to develop an area of focus.
At KU Ourimbah, our specialisation is our Forest Preschool.
Our Forest Kindergarten enables children access to specialist teaching, where we emphasise immersion in nature as a starting point to understanding the wider world. Natural outdoor settings have been found to influence children’s emotional well-being and mental health. There is also evidence that suggests an increase in academic outcomes for children attending a Forest Kindergarten when they first begin formal schooling. The changing natural environment affords possibilities that make creativity highly conspicuous and challenge children to take account of the less predictable nature of outdoor landscapes.
Our Educators aim to develop and extend thinking around the nature kindergarten experience, exploring the relationship between children’s experiences across all the learning environments that they have access to. These include indoors, outdoors, the University Campus Grounds and the Rainforest.
Our Forest Kindergarten operates daily. Children benefit from this specialisation, because it is an opportunity for them to connect with the natural world, to solve problems in a landscape that is not uniform and that offers challenges, inspiration, beauty, unpredictability and interest.
KU Ourimbah was one of the first services to undergo the assessment and rating process in June 2012 and achieved an overall rating of ‘Exceeding’ the National Quality Standards in every quality area. In 2016 this rating was upgraded to ‘Excellent’.
Our centre has been independently assessed by the NSW Department of Education under the National Quality Standards, and are proud to be rated as excellent – we are in the top 1% of early childhood education providers in Australia.
However what matters most is what our families think...
"It is refreshing to be placing my children in care with staff that feel family orientated. Thank you for making a difference." - KU Ourimbah parent
"I could not ask for more out of a centre. KU Ourimbah is a home away from home for my son." - KU Ourimbah 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.
The unique location of KU Ourimbah, nestled amongst beautiful natural forest surroundings and cultivated grounds of the University of Newcastle, extends opportunities to feed children’s imagination. KU Ourimbah is a place where children connect and care for one another and the natural world and find joy in making meaning. We seek to enable children to participate in their community. Our conversations and daily routines are responsive to the ideas children initiate and we embed these into our routines and culture.
Our playground is designed to allow children to explore nature and discover the natural environment. We want children to be able to dig in the mud, climb trees, discover and learn about insects and enjoy connecting with nature. The many activities we offer enable children to immerse themselves in the natural elements of their surroundings and feel inspired to create, imagine and play.
The Annual KU Difference Awards were introduced a number of years ago, as a way of acknowledging KU staff who have made a significant contribution to KU. These annual awards are open to all KU staff, at any level (either individual staff or a team), who have worked above and beyond their normal duties.
In 2016, the team at KU Ourimbah Preschool and Children’s Centre was awarded the KU 'Making the Difference' Award to Quality.