Our Program and Approach
At KU Wickham, our play-based program intentionally provides opportunities and experiences for your child to discover and pursue their own interests and strengths.
Our natural learning environment is a welcoming and nurturing space where each child can be immersed in a rich tapestry of experiences – a space where children are supported to be their own, unique selves, growing and developing a sense of belonging and empowerment.
Our program offers children the opportunity to engage in a wide variety of natural learning experiences that promote children’s confidence as capable and active participants in their own learning.
Our approach is based on the principles of Nature Play and we spend long periods of time playing and appreciating the great outdoors both at the centre and in the wider local community. We value the experiences that nature provides and appreciate the many benefits that Nature Play offers – children can think creatively, observe, explore, experience and question, rely on their own senses, assess risk and test boundaries, imagine, build immunity, get messy, build strength and resilience, solve problems and play and direct their own learning.
We support learning through a play-based approach with children as the primary generators of the curriculum. Educators use their knowledge and experience to follow the leads and interests of the children and incorporate spontaneous and planned experiences that enhance children’s learning and extend the knowledge and skills necessary for their future.
We value the contribution that family and community make to the life of the children and to our service, 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 KU Wickham, we focus on incorporating a Culture of Outdoor learning by operating an indoor/outdoor program which allows for the inclusion of natural elements both inside and out and gives opportunities for children to choose where to explore, create and learn.
Research indicates that children benefit from this focus because natural outdoor play has such positive impacts on children’s physical and emotional well-being and development.
We believe that children who play outside are healthier both physically and mentally, feel more confident and capable, are better able to self-regulate, are more co-operative, have higher self-esteem and acquire skills and knowledge that stand them in good stead as future conservation leaders.
Our centre has been independently assessed by the NSW Department of Education 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...
“At KU Wickham, endearing relationships with staff and friends have helped provide a secure social and learning environment for my two girls. An understanding that each child is unique has ensured my girls feel valued and they, in turn, value others.” – KU Wickham parent
“As a parent, I feel that KU Wickham provides the best environment for a child to grow emotionally, physically and creatively. It’s a great feeling to see my child happy – both when dropping him off and picking him up.” – KU Wickham 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.
KU Wickham is located in the harbourside suburb of Wickham in close proximity to the Newcastle CBD and the Newcastle Interchange. Our preschool was the first free kindergarten established in Newcastle in the 1940s and has continuously operated from the same historically significant Italianate building that has retained the charm and character of its original construction as a Council Chambers in 1889. Sympathetic renovations to the building in 2000 have extended the charm and character to an additional playroom with floor to ceiling windows that look out on the natural vista of our landscaped playground and the adjacent public playground.
KU Wickham is located on Crown Land in an area designated for Sport and Recreation. We are surrounded by extensive parkland and a variety of sporting facilities and with easy access to a Community Garden as well as the eclectic, suburban landscape of Wickham.
Our playground is designed to allow children to explore the natural environment and reap the benefits of daily exposure to Mother Nature. Children have opportunities to explore, garden, play in mud, climb trees, create, experiment, discover beauty, and develop a sense of ownership and responsibility for our environment.
Our Reconciliation Action Plan
KU was proud to launch its inaugural Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in 2016. At KU Wickham, we began our journey to develop our centre’s RAP in 2018 and we are proud to launch it now. Please view it here.