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.
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
If you would like to see more parent testimonials, click here.
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.
In 2016, KU Ourimbah's outstanding environmental education initiatives and leadership among schools across Australia was acknowledged in winning the Environmental Education Award at the United Nations Association of Australia World Environment Day Awards. This prestigious award, not received in the Early Childhood Education sector before, recognises KU Ourimbah as exceptional in the steps taken towards sustainability and in environmental excellence.
This commitment towards embedding sustainable practices and driving nature connection and environmental stewardship within their daily program was further recognised with a Business Excellence in Sustainability Award at the 2015 Central Coast Business Excellence Awards. KU Ourimbah was selected for their ability to execute initiatives that demonstrate educational innovation and their commitment to sustainable business practices.
This acknowledgement from the Business and Environmental sectors complement KU Ourimbah's leadership through recent multiple educational awards that acknowledge scholarship and innovation that continues to support exemplary practice.
KU Ourimbah was awarded 3rd place at the NSW Early Childhood Environmental Education Network (ECEEN) SPROuts Awards in 2021, recognising the service's commitment to embedding sustainable practices.
In 2016, the team at KU Ourimbah were awarded the 'Making the KU Difference to Quality' Award. 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.
Our Reconciliation Action Plan
KU was proud to launch its inaugural Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in 2016. At KU Ourimbah, we began our journey to develop our centre’s RAP in 2018 . Please view it here.