KU St Ives Barra Brui Preschool

2a Burraneer Ave
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  • 02 9449 3110
  • Monday to Friday 8:15am - 3:45pm

Our Program and Approach

At KU St Ives, we provide a high quality, play-based educational program for children aged 3 – 6 years old. Our large classrooms and natural bush setting provides children with a caring and stimulating environment where they are able to develop strong relationships, as well as the skills and strategies needed to successfully transition to school.

Our program is a combination of play-based activities and intentional teaching activities, based on children’s interests and developmental needs. Our educators use the Early Years Learning Framework, Marte Meo teaching strategies, Circle of Security strategies and developmental milestones to ensure the program helps to develop and extend all children throughout their time at preschool. We provide a stimulating environment that supports exploration and enquiry to encourage scientific thought processes.

Our program provides a large variety of experiences for children including language and literacy-based activities, mathematical activities, experiences that support STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) learning such as arts and crafts, sand and water play, growing pods, building and construction activities, imaginative play, physical skill development and a variety of challenging cognition games.

 Our Specialisation

In addition to the high quality well-rounded programs we offer, all KU centres are also encouraged to develop an area of specialisation.

At KU St Ives Barra Brui Preschool, we specialise in a literacy based program known as the Helicopter Stories Project. This project focuses on developing literacy skills for story writing and telling, combined with developing strong self-esteem and self-image within preschool aged children.

The children are involved in Helicopter Stories every week, and through this we see strong literacies emerging prior to them transitioning to school.

The Helicopter Story Project originated in the UK from the organisation MakeBelieve Arts – UK

Our Quality

Our centre has been independently assessed by the the Department of Education NSW under the National Quality Standard, and are proud to be rated as 'Exceeding' the National Quality Standard.

However what matters most is what our families think...

“I am so grateful and humbled by the safe, loving, nurturing, creative, educational and fun environment you have given Olivia. I could not wish for a better start.” - KU St Ives parent
“KU St Ives Barra Brui stood out in the North Shore Area when we were looking for a preschool. It possesses a great outdoor space, a wonderful homely feel and a nurturing environment fostered by the amazing teachers and staff. Our son blossomed after he went there. The families of KU Barra Brui children are friendly and down to earth. We cherish some of the friendships and relationships we have built during our time there.” - KU St Ives parent

Our Environment

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.

“Barra Brui” is an aboriginal name meaning ‘Little Water’. This is because we are situated next to a creek that leads to Middle Harbour. Our preschool opened in 1972, and is attended by 70 children each week.

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.

Other Features

Hat and Sunscreen
Transition to School
Public Transport
Play-based Learning
Outdoor Play

photo of Karen Wagner

Karen Wagner


Karen is a university qualified teacher having her Bachelor of Education/ Diploma of Teaching in Early Childhood Education.  Karen has over 25 years of experience working with young children and families. Karen has been the Director of KU St Ives Barra Brui Preschool since 2008.

Karen is committed to working with families to ensure best quality outcomes for children. Focusing on developing the ‘whole’ child, Karen is committed to constantly looking at new educational practices ensuring and leading her team to introducing these practices into the preschool.

Karen has a strong interest in ensuring children feel safe and secure at preschool in order for them to reach their full potential. To support this, Karen has become a Marte Meo Practitioner, and has introduced this teaching approach to KU St Ives Barra Brui. This approach is part of the philosophy of the preschool now, and is embedded into daily life at the preschool.

Our team of early childhood educators are qualified, experienced, caring, highly motivated and have a strong commitment to quality play-based education for preschool aged children. Our team believe that with positive relationships with families, quality and respectful interactions with children, and with a strong understanding of early childhood development, we are able to offer a high quality preschool program for young children. Educators at KU St Ives Barra Brui embrace all family’s histories, languages, traditions, practices, religions, and lifestyle choices within our community and treasure the relationships and valued partnerships we share.

Children who are three years old, will pay the Unfunded Daily Fee: $79 per day

Children in the year before they are eligible to start school

  • …who attend one day per week (less than 15 hours per week) will pay the Unfunded Daily Fee: $79 per day
  • …who attend two days per week (15 hours per week) will pay the Start Strong Fee: $44 per day
  • …who attend more than two days per week (more than 15 hours per week), will pay the Start Strong Fee ($44) for the first two days, then the Unfunded Daily Fee ($79) for each day after that

If you hold a Health Care Card, you may be entitled to a further discount on your preschool fees. Please speak with the Preschool Director about this if you think you may be eligible.

Why are preschool fees so complex?

The NSW Government provides preschool funding, called Start Strong funding. This funding is to be directed towards children in the year before they are eligible to start school (four and five year olds) who are enrolled in a preschool program for 15 hours per week. At KU St Ives Barra Brui, the ‘15 hours’ is met by enrolling in two x 7.5 hour days per week.

Start Strong funding means we can provide a fee reduction for those 15 hours; this is the Start Strong Fee.

Where do your fees go?

In an increasingly competitive marketplace, KU has remained very proudly a not for profit provider. Our fees are designed to cover the operational costs of delivering the unique KU learning experience, and to ensure KU can continue delivering those experiences for many years to come.

Any surplus we may make is reinvested into our local staff, our high quality services, and ensuring our long term sustainability. KU does not distribute our profits to shareholders, or send them offshore.