“At Winston Hills Preschool we foster creative, responsive and respectful relationships and learning opportunities where children can discover, flourish and become”.

Winston Hills Preschool operates under a set of core values:

Be Yourself

We believe that no two children are the same, and we cherish each child and family’s diverse culture, values, and experiences. We aim to provide safe, equitable and accepting learning environments that reflect and enrich the lives and identities of children and families.

Our focus is to nurture children as they build their self-esteem, and to support and reinforce an emerging sense of self-identity, belonging and resilience. We truly believe in each child’s unique capacity to be amazing.

Relationships and Connections

We focus on fostering relational spaces where trusting, warm and reciprocal connections with others can be built, as we believe that through these interactions and attachments, a child’s innate strengths, skills and potential can be maximised.

Through the creation of opportunities for cooperative and positive interactions with other children, families, teachers, and the wider community, children acquire vital social knowledge and skills.

Each child is supported and encouraged to develop responsibility for their actions and interactions with others, as they develop an understanding and respect for the interrelationships between themselves, others and the natural environment.

The special ‘character’ of our Preschool is primarily built around the genuinely collaborative and committed relationships between families, children and staff.

Parents are treasured and invaluable contributors to the Winston Hills Community, and are actively involved as ‘Session Helpers’ in each and every learning session. We are proud that our Preschool is completely independent, and we rely on children’s families for our management committee, working bees and fundraising.

Openness and Spontaneity

We strive to foster an atmosphere of openness, where ‘what is possible’ has not been predefined. Mutual discovery and learning is fostered so that each child’s unique way of experiencing, being and interacting with the world can be recognised and supported.

Naturally occurring and intuitive opportunities within our indoor and outdoor learning environments encourage and inspire children to imaginatively explore experiment, invent, question, and solve problems. We focus on sensitively recognising, celebrating and extending on what unfolds for each child within the open-ended play experiences.

Building on Strengths

Active learning through play is facilitated through the provision of a range of opportunities, environments and experiences built thoughtfully around the individual strengths and interests of each child.

Strengths that emerge through creative play such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, persistence and reflexivity are carefully acknowledged and celebrated so that they can become part of a child’s lifelong attitudes towards learning and being.

Continuous Improvement

Through regular staff, parent, and committee meetings and informal discussions we constantly reflect on, and ask of ourselves “How we can do better?”.

Educators at Winston Hill Preschool are encouraged to engage in reflexive practice, and to critically reflect on our philosophy, values and ethics to guide decision making. We recognise and value the knowledge and commitment of the educators and fully support their continued professional learning.

Our Preschool’s philosophy reflects the foundations of the National Quality Framework. We believe that a philosophy statement changes as new insights are gained, and practice is evaluated.

Outdoor Philosophy

FOSTERING A LOVE OF NATURE

In a world where children are spending increasingly less amounts of time outdoors we are committed to providing them with opportunities to re-discover the wonders of nature. Outside, children have access to a forever changing environment, where they can experience the natural rhythms of the seasons and the world they live in. Outside experiences instil in children a love of nature while providing them with lifelong learning skills that support their future development and responsibility in taking care of our world.

NATURE HAS NO BARRIERS

Being outside in nature is beneficial for everyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity, ability or age. It enables children to learn through all of their senses by providing them with unlimited open-ended opportunities and possibilities – which is exactly the way children and our brains want to learn.

 SAFE BUT WITH CHALLENGES

Although we are committed to providing a safe environment by removing hazards from our outdoor area, we are also committed to ensuring that children are able to learn about and take risks. During this sort of play and exploration children learn about themselves in relation to the real world, about their bodies and ways to keep themselves and others safe. It also builds their capacity to feel confident, independent, strong and self-assured.

SUPPORTING MULTIPLE SKILLS AND DISPOSITIONS

Spending time outdoors offers children the opportunity to improve their understanding of numeracy, literacy, science, environmental and sustainable practices. Outdoors is also a space for children to explore and improve their own levels of persistence, problem solving and curiosity. The range of naturally occurring features in our outdoor environments challenge children to be creative, resourceful and imaginative – a gumnut is a spaceship in the right hands!

 SUPPORTING MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH

There is a wealth of research that supports the benefits of spending time outdoors and engaging with nature, such as improvements to memory and our immune system. For children to learn, first they must move. Aside from the physical benefits of spending time immersed in nature, outdoor time maximises a child’s opportunity to self-regulate, and to build important life-long learning skills such as concentration, commitment and focus.

CHILDREN HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE AND MAKE DECISIONS

Acknowledging the importance for children to have time to explore and deepen their play and learning, we ensure that children are always offered the choice to be either indoors or outdoors. Providing children with the opportunity to make choices and to experience the outcomes of those choices helps to strengthen their sense of autonomy in the context of their relationship with others and with the world around them.