Good news for local parents. Planet Childcare at Coledale will soon offer childcare on a Saturday as they launch into a revolutionary new education model that looks set to change preschooling right across Australia.
Planet now has permission to take the children on excursions and outings which will be both educational and fun.
Director Susie Crick has been Director of the centre for 19 years and says taking children ‘outside the fence’ is where they enjoy learning most.
“I have been conceptualising this idea for several years now and found they have a similar model in Sweden, where it’s called the ‘Helianthus Preschool Model’. So I contacted founder Solveig Sunnebo and organised an extensive tour and meetings. Scandinavia leads the world in educational learning outcomes, and the University of Stockholm has done extensive research proving children are stimulated and extended when they are removed from a static learning model.
Susie says basically, she is going to take learning ‘outside the fence’!
“Put simply, we will put the children on a bus and taking them where exciting learning and exploration can take place. By providing children with this opportunity, we allow them to experience an extended range of physical, artistic, aesthetic, natural and cultural experiences, rather than staying put in a classroom.”
The idea is so revolutionary, Susie has spent the last two years meeting with MPs and Government departments to bring it to fruition.
“While everyone was genuinely curious, they couldn’t approve it as there are no regulations to cover my proposed idea. Then after a meeting with Federal Early Education Minister Simon Birmingham, we came up with the idea to pilot the concept on a Saturday.
“The Saturday program will be based on our ‘Exceeding National Quality Standard’ service in Coledale as rated by the Department of Education and Communities and ACECQA.
“We will take 20 children (aged four and over) to venues which facilitate learning and exploration. These include the Art Gallery, Bush Tucker experiences, The Australian Museum, Sydney Theatre Company workshops, Sydney Opera House, Bushwalks, ice skating, the Sydney Aquarium, The Maritime Museum, Nan Tien Temple, Sydney Tram Museum, Circus School, Wreck Bay Aboriginal tours, and Sydney Olympic Park for archery, tennis, wetlands exploration, and gymnastics. We will also go to Symbio, the Powerhouse Museum, The Wollongong Uni Science Centre, the Conservatorium of Music, Hazlehurst Art Gallery and strawberry picking in Darkes Forest, to name a few!”
The program will run four terms per year of 12 weeks each, with activities relevant to the season.
“We have been approached by several Early Childhood faculties from around Australia to research how or model will benefit Australian preschoolers, and in particular, socially disadvantaged children,” says Susie.
“We are so excited the pilot will take place in Coledale. The program will be offered on Saturdays from 8am-4pm from Planet Childcare. It will operate as Long Day Care that offers ongoing excursions and children will be transported via minibus to the various locations.”