Snowy Mountains Care and Early Learning Centre is a community based, not for profit, long daycare centre and preschool.
The Centre is managed by a voluntary management committee. This model of management reinvests any profits or surplus funds back into the centre. We are licensed by the NSW Government Human Services Community Services and currently care and educate 56 children per day.
The philosophy of the centre includes a wish ‘to provide a social, emotional and physical environment that supports children’s wellness and wellbeing’. We recognise that the childrens daily experiences reflect the importance of relationship building and being a member of a group. Children spend considerable time with us and we try to help them stay connected with their homes whilst they form friendships and become members of the wider community. This connection helps with a sense of belonging and the space we provide for the children reflects a homelike feel.
Our sustainability program assists the children to become socially responsible and show respect for the environment and is embedded in daily routines and practices e.g. recycling, feeding food scraps to the worms.
We are accredited as an approved ‘SunSmart’ centre.
The Indoor Environment
Respect for the whole environment is at the forefront of our teaching philosophy, we believe that respect for each other, for themselves, for belongings and the environment is crucial for children’s sense of belonging, of being and who they become.
The centre was purpose built, however a number of improvements have occurred over the years including enlarging the verandas, improving the outdoor gardens, installing a solar hot water system, air conditioning,and solar electricity and building a library.
There are two designated children’s rooms. The babies and the 2 & 3 year olds share a room and the preschoolers have their own room. Both rooms have wet areas for eating and for manipulative play, art and craft.
Play spaces allow for block building, book corner, puzzles, literacy and maths experiences which are directed by the children and facilitated by the teachers and educators. The purpose built library offers an additional area to support and enhance the rooms programs.
Meal times for the children take place inside at the tables or outside on the veranda’s. The older children sometimes choose a picnic spot in the garden. Meal times are seen as a social experience and each child has time to eat at their own pace.
Story telling is held in the library/ or the rooms/ or the outside playground.
The Outdoor Environment
The outdoor environment is seen as an extension of the classroom for investigating, exploring and relationship building. It is continually developing as a natural play area to suit children of all ages and stages of development.
The young babies have a designated area which extends from the verandah. This has soft matting and shade cloth providing a play area with filtered shade to protect the babies sensitive skin.
For the active children we have a bike and scooter track, swings and adventure playground which has a rock climbing area, ladders and pathways to a bird feeder.
The bike track is shaded by Apple, Plums and a Cherry tree which also add to our awareness of the changing seasons and the life cycle of deciduous trees. Harvest time offers opportunities for collecting fruit for eating, juicing and cooking.
The garden has a vegetable growing area located in a central part of the garden adjoining an arbour seat which is covered by two Banksia roses. Two strawberry beds provide interest as the children eagerly watch and wait for the fruit to develop. The worm farm compost bin provides a great way of recycling food scraps and then our gardens benefit from the worm juice.
For those times when children choose to rest, a herb and sensory garden has developed in a quiet corner of the garden with a number of pathways leading to a long seat and a bird bath. The area invites children to sit and read or talk with friends. The entrance is framed with an archway that features galloping horses.
A large sandpit is located near a row of poplar trees which provides shade in summer but allows warming sunlight in winter. On hot days water flows down the the river bed and into the sandpit providing opportunities for water play and lots of fun.
The mountain weather means that we experience seasons of cold and snow as well as high temperatures and intense sunshine. As we value outdoor play and all that the outdoors offers, we have created a covered outdoor learning area for those extreme days. The area can be enclosed by rolling down windowed blinds, creating a large usable space for the children to play in all weather.