At Explore & Develop Umina we have created five different learning environments to cater to the age groups.
Our philosophy aligns with the combination of Reggio Emilia approach, Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky theories, under the umbrella of Walker Learning Approach to Early Childhood Education, based on neuroscience which revolves around creating a welcoming, inspiring home like environment that fosters and nurtures active learning, creativity and exploration.
The local and global community play an integral role in the education of children and we work closely with families to create authentic learning outcomes for children, where children are free to explore their natural curiosity. All of our educators at Explore & Develop Umina are employed on a permanent basis. This creates stability and helps to build trusting relationships with children and their families. Our educators are always extending their learning by continuing their education. This ensures all educators are up-to-date with current research and practice, and innovative information regarding Early Childhood Education.
It is Explore & Develops stated aim to maintain a happy and resourceful working environment for our employees, with on-going training and development.
Our service has specially designed outdoor areas such as sand pits, grassed areas and open spaces offering children the freedom to explore, use their senses and be physically active in a secure and safe, yet challenging environment.
Our food is prepared on the premises by our chef who is specially trained in child nutrition, ensuring meals are well balanced with all the essential vitamins and nutrients children need for an active, fun-filled day.
Having special events focused on our families supports and enhances the relationship between families, staff and children.
Our excursions are planned throughout the year to extend children’s learning and expand children’s concepts of the world around them and their role in society.
Our program for the room is influenced by the principles and practices of the Early Years Learning Framework and based on the Walker Learning approach. This holistic teaching and learning approach is founded on neuroscience research and recognises the importance of relationships and attachment. We use the Walker Learning approach to create a program of planned learning experiences across all developmental domains.
MBA, Diploma in Financial Services (Financial Planning), Certificate III Children’s Services, Diploma of Children’s Services, Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood).
“My personal philosophy has evolved over many years, through my experience in travel and from my own wonderful childhood growing up on the Central Coast. I believe that children need natural environments to explore, trained educators to support their learning and a community rich with diversity to nurture their development.
Each child is an individual and I wish to provide children with the best possible environment from which they can gain confidence and develop social and emotional skills, which will prepare them for life.
Each child will be loved, cherished and encouraged to reach their full potential, through my hands-on leadership and caring, professional educator guidance.”
0 – 18 months
Our Butterfly Environment has up to 12 children per day, with a ratio of one staff member to every four children.
We pride ourselves on offering a high-quality, nurturing environment for children and their families during their first year in care.
We work closely alongside families in order to create home like routines for the children in this room, which allows for a smooth transition between home and care.
Our well-equipped playroom and shaded, natural play area provide stimulation and motivation for curious babies to explore the outdoor environment in a safe, protective learning space.
1.5 – 2.5 years
Our Ladybird room has up to 16 children per day, with a ratio of one staff member to every four children.
Ladybird children love the opportunities available to them to exercise their new-found independence. As they are now more mobile, they are capable of exploring their natural, shaded outdoor play area.
The dedicated Ladybird team support each child’s emerging self-help skills, such as feeding and hand washing within the routine. Their specialised programs are tailored to meet each child’s interests and developmental levels.
2.5 – 3.5 years
Our Busy Bee room has up to 20 children per day, with a ratio of one staff member to every five children.
Busy Bee children are now in a similar routine to their older peers. In this age group, children are now becoming even more independent. Toilet training is supported through partnerships with families.
The curious nature and growing language skills of this age group stimulates their wonder of the world around them. Their questioning skills support their own learning and connects them with the interest-based program, which aims to offer new experiences and development opportunities.
3.5 – 4.5 year
Our Junior Preschool room has up to 20 children per day, with a ratio of one staff member to every 10 children.
The Dragonfly room is where children enter their junior preschool year. This group is now quite independent and their involvement in setting class rules and guidelines helps the children develop a sense of respect for themselves, their peers and their environment.
Through an interest based program and projects, the children explore and begin to make sense of early learning concepts in areas such as numeracy, literacy and science. We build upon language skills with opportunities in storytelling and news time. As social skills mature, we begin to see more solid friendships evolve with children working together on shared goals.
4.5 – 6 years
Our Preschool room has up to 20 children per day, with a ratio of one staff member to every 10 children.
This is our senior preschool year, and the year in which most children prepare for life beyond Explore & Develop. Children at this age have a strong sense of autonomy and are keen participants in their learning environments. During this year, we extend upon and refine skills in key learning areas.
There is a strong focus on skills such as literacy, numeracy and fine motor through the interest-based program and projects.Preschool educators work closely with families, school teachers and other early childhood professionals to ensure that each child is given the opportunity to work towards achieving school readiness outcomes.
Our ‘Transition to School’ program promotes skills in areas such as academia, conflict resolution, self-help and self-confidence.
Explore & Develop Umina provides a texturally-rich, natural outdoor environment for children to explore. Visually appealing play spaces, small, comfortable, yet challenging places where children can be stimulated, provoking their imagination in a variety of ways to challenge their development holistically.
We utilise the outdoor environment as the third teacher, placing value on aesthetics, organisation, thoughtfulness, provocation, communication and interaction. The care and attention we pay to organising space outdoors stimulates the children’s imagination, creativity, exploration, discovery, engagement and sense of wonder.
The care and attention we pay to organising space outdoors stimulates the children’s imagination, creativity, exploration, discovery, engagement and sense of wonder.