Privately owned and operated by Libby Klingberg (Bachelor of Applied Science Occupational Therapy (Paediatrics), Diploma in Children’s Services), Explore & Develop Macquarie Park is a service that provides a caring, creative, home-like environment that supports the learning and growth of each child that we care for.
Our vision for our service is to be a community that cares for educates, and nurtures children by supporting the growth and learning of all within it, through innovation, challenge and critical reflection so families and educators and thrilled to join us, excited to be with us and sad to leave.
The service is guided by its’ philosophy and vision which can be summarised by our service motto – Educate, Innovate and Celebrate with Heart. Working with heart underpins our intention to establish meaningful relationships and encompasses the values of trust, respect and kindness. Heart guides the way we educate our children, the desire to innovate in the early childhood industry and culminates with the celebration of a child’s journey, each other and our successes. All parents and staff are ‘Custodians of our Culture’, which means we hold each other accountable to ensure we behave in a way that is consistent with our vision and values.
Our service includes care and education of children from 6 weeks to 3 years and from 3 to 5 years we offer extended hours preschool.
Our service is open Monday to Friday from 7:30am to 6:00pm. We are open 50 weeks per year, closing annually for two weeks at Christmas and all public holidays.
Assessment & Rating Results
Always dedicated to improving and providing the highest quality of education and care for your children, we strive towards excellence in the field of early childhood. Our outstanding Assessment and Rating results in March 2014 of ‘Exceeding the National Quality Standards’ are testimony to the oversight, care and commitment that the team has in working with your family. We have been rated as exceeding the National Quality Standard in all 7 quality areas that can be assessed.
Our educational programs are derived from current research and our educators undergo continual training in evidence-based approaches to early childhood education. This ensures we remain at the forefront of our field for and to the benefit of our children, families & educators.
- Our curriculum moves Beyond the Classroom. Engaging an Outdoor Learning Coordinator (and a Minibus) allows us to provide valuable experiences in the greater outdoors. We travel on excursions to discover that we belong to a wider community, allowing us to connect, support and continue to build relationships with local initiatives and services.
- We believe that through developmental cognitive neuroscience, mindfulness training and social emotional learning and positive psychology our staff and children will reduce stress and optimise their capacity for the learning journey at Explore & Develop.
Please see ‘Our Curriculum’ for more detail on our innovative, evidence-based centre programs.
Neuroscience in Action
The first three years of a child’s life is critical for brain development. ‘Neuroscience in Action’ is a project that looks at what is optimal for healthy brain development in care and education settings. Neuroscience research guides many areas of centre practice including programming, educator relationships with children and the set-up of learning environments. This program ensures:
- We follow a primary caregiver model. As children progress between teaching rooms from birth to 3 years, we aim to ensure that the same group of educators will remain with the same group of children. Furthermore, educators are assigned a specific set of children to nurture more closely throughout the day. They assist with transition periods such as meal times, nappy times and sleep times. By maintaining consistency, we acknowledge that attachment is a fundamental ingredient for healthy brain development. Strong attachments lead to a strong sense of identity and a sense of security which increases the willingness to explore and learn.
- Finally, our staff will continually educate parents by drawing on neuroscience fact. You may hear educators in conversation with families talking about the effects of and the release of chemicals into your child’s system during times of stress particularly at separation times.
Teaching ‘Beyond the Classroom’
Cast your mind back to your early childhood. Do you remember being inside or outside? Our guess is that the great majority of your time was spent outdoors. Outdoor learning contributes greatly to early childhood development. Your child can develop key life skills such as social responsibility, a respect for natural resources and risk management. Contemporary life has challenged the ability of many families in allowing children to authentically engage with real life and natural environments.
We have a dedicated outdoor coordinator who designs programs for learning in the centre’s outdoor spaces as well as all of our Beyond the Classroom projects and excursions.
All age groups are invited to participate in excursions throughout the year. Large-scale excursions may include the celebration of cultural events such as trips to the Chinese Friendship Garden. Other excursions extend on children’s current interests such as trips to the local zoo or aquarium. Our older age groups participate in frequent smaller, local excursions, including visits to the local library and local shopping village. For our babies, we utilise local picnic areas and neighbouring grasslands surrounding the centre.
Our ‘Beyond the Classroom’ projects include Bush School and Swim School. Our Bush School program is a unique curriculum to fundamentally teach children a love for natural environments. It extends beyond simply taking children for a play amongst nature. Our lesson plans create opportunity for children to safely explore local animals, plants, heritage sites and the general community. Children develop confidence to manage risk according to their ability and confidence levels. They also enhance their teamwork and social skills. In school terms 2 and term 3 our senior pre-schoolers spend weekly sessions in our local bush environments such as Lane Cove National Park and Yamble Reserve.
In school terms 1 and term 4, we continue our partnership with Brewer Swimming and lead small groups of children to swimming lessons specifically designed for the preschool age group. The program aims to develop water confidence, and facilitate water safety skills in a fun and safe environment. Brewer Swimming encourages the children to pursue individual goals from water safety to health and fitness.
We have an excursion bus that is professionally fitted with 9 child safety seats which is used on a weekly basis. Half the fun of excursions is learning how to get there! Public trains and bus systems are also used.
Mindfulness Programs for Staff and Children
We pride ourselves on the longevity of our educators and ensure that they equipped to deal with stress and are able to make positive relations in the workplace. In 2016 we will continue to work with Charlotte Thaarup-Owen, an internationally-recognised, mindfulness coach specialising in the workplace. In practice, staffs take an additional pause break per day to specifically practice mindfulness techniques such as meditation. Throughout the year they are also involved in a number of brain-training workshops. We have engaged with Macquarie University to assess the impact of our mindfulness program on staff happiness levels. This is the first of its kind in the early-childhood space and we look forward to sharing our research paper with the community.
The Mindfulness program for our educators runs in conjunction with the Mind UP! program for children. MindUP! teaches children social, emotional and self-regulatory skills to nurture the well-being and emotional balance in children. The program helps develop children’s ability to see the internal world of themselves and others. Children learn about their brains, how to engage in mindful listening, manage stress, encourage empathy and many other pro-social behaviours.
Play-based approach to learning
A strong body of research reveals that by allowing children to actively engage with the world around them according to their own interests and explorations, children develop the necessary dispositions for learning. Children learn best when they are interested, engaged and having fun! Educators respect children’s voices and natural inquiry, and aim to embed important skills such as numeracy and literacy within play experiences. Research shows that children are more likely to respond to this style of teaching rather than through a structured and rigid class format. All of our educational programs are embedded through play; ensuring children are well-equipped to acquire skills and milestones.
Our learning environments consist of the following;
|Joey Room (0-1 years)||Gecko Room (1-2 years)||Turtle Room (2-3 Years)|
|Frogs Room (3-4 Years)||Crocs Room (4-5 Years)|
What to bring with you each day:
We ask you to bring a bag with spare changes of clothes (several if your child is toilet training), remember to pack clothes for sudden changes in the weather, a drink bottle or sippy cup for water, a hat (legionnaire style or bucket style to cover ears, face and neck is recommended with no strings attached), a set of cot sheets (fitted sheet and flat sheet), nappy cream if required. Please label all items brought to the service.
Children in our nursery rooms (Joey’s and Gecko’s) do not need to provide cot sheets or linens. We ask that formula or expressed breast milk is brought in as required each day.
The service provides nappies for the Joey’s, Gecko’s and Turtle’s groups, along with sunscreen, cow’s milk and meals for all children (morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, late snack)
Joeys’ & Gecko’s Rooms
Our two nursery rooms offer a calm, nurturing, homelike environment for babies and young toddlers. Each room is led by experienced and highly qualified educators who design programs and experiences for children based on their interests and needs. The dedicated team scaffold and support children to learn about the world through play experiences encouraging children to grow and develop at their own pace.
Our priority in the Joey’s and Gecko’s rooms is ensuring consistency between home life and time at the service. Wherever possible, feeding and sleeping routines will be developed in consultation with families. Every morning, educators will take the opportunity to speak with you; together deciding upon the best way that your child’s needs can be met. We understand that babies can be unpredictable - sleepless nights, teething, nappy rash... so we are always flexible.
Our nursery is led by a highly qualified and experienced team that prides itself on providing a warm, nurturing, sensory driven and above all fun environment for your child. The team supports and scaffolds each of our babies and young toddlers to explore their surroundings in order to grow and develop at their own pace.
Our educators use their knowledge and observations of the individual children and their group to provide experiences that allow each child to work towards achieving:
- Their developmental milestones
- Learning outcomes, practices and principles in relation to the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia
- Skills to be a capable, eager to engage in the world, future adult
All meals are provided - we just ask that formula or expressed breast milk be sent in every morning if necessary. This is to ensure that each child's specific requirements and family preferences are respected. It is also important to note that we are a breast feeding friendly service and if you are able to you are welcome to come and breast feed your baby within the room. Each child is assigned a cot or sleeping bed in one of our beautiful sleep rooms. Babies in the nursery rooms are provided with linen, but are more than welcome to bring safe comforters or dummies if need be. To ensure that sleep times are restful, and that your child feels comfortable and secure sleeping in the room, your child will use the same cot until they are ready to move onto a bed. Furthermore, an educator will stay with your child, if necessary, to comfort them.
The nursery rooms share their own natural outdoor playscape which offers the children a chance to explore their world in an authentic way, providing very real opportunities for learning and growth.
A stimulating sensory approach to learning is highly valued in this room. Learning experiences that utilise real-life resources to stimulate the senses are offered daily. You may see rocks & pebbles, large banana leaves or crinkly leaves, fruits for tasting and smelling within the setting. Music, literary and visual arts experiences are offered regularly, and change with the children's developing interests. We understand that children of this age can be at drastically different developmental stages and we aim to accommodate the development of all of these in our programs.
Once your child is ready, he or she will be welcomed into our Turtles room!
Staffed by four permanent primary educators, this dedicated team understand that at this age our Turtles are learning that the world is not all about them and can be quite complex at times. With a tangible hands-on approach, the team provides engaging routines utilising real-life resources that allows children to discover how the world works and how and where they fit in.
A typical day in the toddler's room is full of excitement, opportunities for exploration and discovery. We follow the Early Years Learning Framework in developing our program to ensure it offers a variety of child directed, child inspired and educator guided opportunities. We value play based learning as an ideal context for young children’s development and this is reflected in our practice. An interest based approach takes the whole child into account, focusing on their social, interpersonal, emotional, physical, cognitive and developmental needs. We believe that children have a right to be appreciated as they are, and not just who they are going to be.
We dedicate a significant amount of time to interest based emergent play across all key learning areas in order to inspire children to engage in a truly immersive learning experience. We are attentive to, and really value, the expertise, cultural experience, knowledge and interests of children. A strong emphasis is placed on the ways in which children are able to teach and learn from each other, as well as from their educators and families.
We understand that ‘toddlerhood’ is a time rich in transitions – from cot to bed, bottle to cup, nappies to underwear – and strive to support families and children as these skills emerge and expand. We value the input of our parents, as it has been shown that feelings of security and confidence can be enhanced with consistency between the home and care setting. We will develop in consultation with you, an ‘action plan’ to make sure that these transitions are managed well and are enjoyable for your child.
In the Turtles room, the children are offered morning tea, a hot lunch, afternoon tea and a small late afternoon snack. Our meals are nutritionally balanced and very satisfying! After lunch, a rest/sleep time is offered to (and usually appreciated by) all children. During rest period, we set up the stretcher beds with the familiar cot sheets you provide and have relaxing music playing.
Finally, our Turtles Room, follow a primary caregiver model. Please see the section ‘Our Approach’ for more information.
At Explore & Develop Macquarie Park we provide the children with a fun, innovative educational program sourced from children's interests. Using the Early Years Learning Framework, we support each child's varied developmental needs. We work to extend and expand their existing skill sets whilst designing experiences to support the development of new skills.
In the junior preschool room, learning journeys often take the form of extended whole group projects. We brainstorm, discuss, question, research, regroup and synthesise our learning in the form of a display. Projects may run for any length of time - sometimes over months - depending on the children's level of interest. Literacy, numeracy and thinking skills such as recall and problem solving are integrated into the experiences to make learning enjoyable, authentic and valuable; with research suggesting that when children discover something for themselves, that this knowledge is more likely to be sustained.
Educators use children’s interests to introduce new topics and ideas; engaging children through play-based experiences in literacy & numeracy activities, science experiments, social interactions, expressive arts and physical activities. Giving children a strong foundation before they start formal classes in schools, and developing a love of learning that will sustain them throughout their lives at school, at home and in the local community.
We support children’s developing self-help skills focussing on caring for our belongings, toileting independently, serving ourselves and scraping our bowls at meal times, putting on and taking off our shoes, socks and jackets. We continue to have a rest time after our lunch where some of the children take the opportunity to sleep and others rest and undertake quiet activities.
Learning how to interrelate with others socially in a positive manner is another key focus and we work on problem solving through negotiation, turn-taking and discussion. Educators teach children to appreciate each other. Learning about their friends, their families, cultures and ways of being and doing helps children to celebrate difference and better understand each other.
Working in a lower than average ratio with up to 27 children each day, our committed team of three permanent educators, aim to create a place of wonder where inspired exploration and discovery are a daily experience.
We envision a preschool where all children feel welcomed, accepted, loved and happy! This will be a place where children want to go, and look forward to attending. We will work in genuine collaborative partnerships with children, families and our local community to ensure the provision of an invaluable resource to all who are involved with us.
At Explore & Develop Macquarie Park we believe that children have a right to receive both quality education and nurturing care.
Educators are dedicated to providing a warm and nurturing environment for each and every child. Lower than average ratios allow educators to really get to know the children, their families and their individual cultures.
Our philosophy promotes an inclusive, anti-bias curriculum. We welcome children from all backgrounds. We believe that every child has the right to feel safe, esteemed and loved. Each child and their family will be valued regardless of any personal characteristic, circumstance, feature of lifestyle, social group or culture. By modelling authentic respect towards diversity, we encourage children to accept, appreciate and admire difference.
In the Crocs Room, we are committed to laying strong educational foundations for children in their preschool years. The Early Years Learning Framework guides our teaching practices. Our emergent curriculum is constantly changing, building upon the interests of the children. Educators are constantly on the lookout for themes which pop up in children’s conversation that may then be taken and built upon in a project. We are only limited by our imagination! Educators observe children’s interests and decide upon the ways to best incorporate the kindergarten key learning areas (English, Mathematics, Science & Technology, Human Society and Its Environment, Creative Arts and Personal Development, Health & Physical Education) into these themes.
Children, educators and parents perpetually offer suggestions to extend on and continue with the program until this interest wanes. Project work is documented through photos, diary entries, displayed work samples and classroom installations and is available for the children to revisit whenever they request to do so.
The social focus system encourages the effective development and enhancement of life skills with a focus on conflict resolution. Children are taught to understand the value and power of words. By placing heightened emphasis on the importance of using “I” statements and clarifying needs with verbal communication (and never using our hands), children are given opportunities to practice their social skills and further develop their capacity for effective emotional regulation. Current research suggests that the benefits of effective, early, socio-emotional regulatory skills include a tendency towards successful peer relationships and positive academic outcomes!
While all kindergarten key learning areas are covered in our program, we believe that children have a right to be prepared for the specific changes that will occur with their transition to school. Individualised programs are developed with input from the child, parents, our preschool educator, and (circumstances permitting) with the child’s future teacher. This way, children and parents may approach the transition to school with confidence in the fact that their child may be familiar with the expectations of their school, thus minimising the stress that may come with adjusting to the new environment.
To achieve this:
School specific skills such as opening a lunch box, packing a bag, identifying belongings with a number of systems (labelled with a full name, initials, symbol etc.) will be incorporated into the program towards the end of the pre-school year.
Opportunities will be sought to encourage literacy skills including letter and word recognition and formation. All children will be presented with multiple opportunities to write and recognise their names, interact with written texts (particularly with our enviable range of picture books!) and develop familiarity with a range of text types (reading and writing letters and emails, rosters, diaries, poster presentations…)
The amount of time spent in a class group will increase gradually throughout the year. Nap times will be replaced by quiet activities such as group story time, music or art appreciation or yoga. The value and importance of turn taking in group situations will be emphasised.
Children will be encouraged to take an active role in class management. The group will be responsible for packing away toys, setting and justifying class ‘agreements’ (rules) and deciding on the décor of the room. Research has shown that when children are aware of their own efficacy in regards to classroom management, they are more interested in maintaining and developing it. Imagine how happy the kindergarten teacher will be when your child not only takes an interest in the aesthetics of their classroom but encourages the other children to appreciate and respect their environment as well!
Our community consists of our educators, families and our wider community and we recognise the importance of these partnerships to benefit the care and development of children. We have an active parent committee in the centre who welcome and support new families, assist with organising social and fundraising events to support the Imagination Library.
We are always working to find new and innovative ways to be connected and engaged with each other. We start your enrolment with our new parent evening, continue to our curriculum evening at the start of each year, followed by parent teacher interviews for each family. Twice yearly developmental summaries also form part of the information we share with you about your child.
We also utilise a wide range of technology to keep families in touch with the centre and with your child’s care and learning. We have intranet access for centre information and you can expect daily updates of your child’s learning available via Kinderloop. Kinderloop is an app that is available for you to receive instant information on what is happening in the centre to your PC or smart phone.
Families from diverse cultural backgrounds including non-English speaking families are encouraged and assisted to participate in the life of the centre through the use of interpreters, accessing information in other languages and our bilingual staff members. Families with children who have additional needs are also welcomed in to the service. We work actively with our inclusion support agency, local health professionals such as Life Start and Macquarie University Speech and Language Pathology Department and primary schools that children will be moving to upon graduating from our service.
Our partnerships in the broader community include working with the Benevolent Society in the piloting of the ‘Dads and the importance of Rough & Tumble Play’ workshops. These workshops are designed for fathers to encourage physical play and the neurological benefits this has for children. This is just one part of our Dad’s Engagement Strategy for the centre.
We have been involved with research at various universities including Macquarie University Research Program researching the Social-emotional competence of Mandarin Speaking Immigrant Children in Australian Childcare run through the Institute of Early Childhood Faculty of Human Services.
We have active relationships with the Early Childhood Education Sector including supporting students from TAFE, Macquarie University, University of Western Sydney and private training organisations in the professional development of their students.
We access and seek to collaborate with our local community including but not limited to the local library, doctors, dentists, local cafes, vets, CSIRO and the Aboriginal Heritage Schools Program. Incursions and excursions are undertaken to support learning programs and strengthen our community links.
We also collaborate extensively with other Explore & Develop Services but in particular between Explore & Develop North Ryde and 65 Epping Road where information sharing, collaborating, workshops, engagement in online forums are part of our service practise. Families are also able to network at shared parent in-service evenings between these services.
Embedded within our service is the supporting of the charity ‘The Imagination Library’. This is a charity that promotes early literacy in our local area by providing free books on a monthly basis to children from birth to 5 years. We specifically donate to support our local families in Macquarie Park and West Ryde. Please click here to find out more informationhttps://au.imaginationlibrary.com/
Thank you for your interest in Explore & Develop North Ryde.
We are currently seeking applicants for the following roles at our service;
To apply for this role please complete our Expression of Interest Form, including your resume and any relevant experience.
Thank you for your interest in a career at Explore & Develop.