Willoughby Community Preschool Inc. is a long standing institution within the Willoughby community, providing education and care for the children of Willoughby for nearly half a century.
Initially established within the premises of Willoughby Presbyterian Church, on the corner of High and Laurel Streets Willoughby, the Preschool was first known as Willoughby Preschool Play Centre. In 1980 the Preschool changed its name to Willoughby Community Preschool.
In 1985, after nearly 30 years at Willoughby Presbyterian Church, the Preschool’s Management Committee felt that a more suitable premise was required for the Preschool to enable it to better accommodate the growing demand for quality early childhood education in the area and to have a space which could be used exclusively and provide a more suitable and effective environment. A Building and Executive Committee was formed and spent considerable time identifying properties within the Municipality which would be suitable for the Preschool. After much deliberation with Willoughby Council, a resolution was passed in October 1985 for the council to construct a new premises for the Preschool at 7-9 Central Street Naremburn.
The building was initially known as the Naremburn Child Care Centre, and it was officially opened on 16th September 1987. Willoughby Community Preschool moved in immediately and have been on this site ever since.
On 22 August 1991, the Preschool became an incorporated association and is now known as Willoughby Community Preschool Inc.
On 22nd December 2014, the Preschool became an extended hours Preschool moving from the State funded system to the Federal system allowing our families who are eligible, to claim ChildCare Subsidy. The Preschool now operates 48 weeks a year.
The Preschool provides quality care in an educationally rich and caring environment for young children of our community aged three to five years. Principles and practices of the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia “Belonging Being & Becoming” underpin our practice that is focused on assisting all children to make progress in relation to learning outcomes. We endeavour to do this through a number of means:
We believe in supporting children’s positive self-esteem, that each child has unique potential and that they are resourceful and capable. Our educators recognise and celebrate the important learning that takes place during the early childhood years. We encourage children’s desire and engagement in learning through play based learning experiences that build on children’s interests and strengths. We promote children’s active participation in their own learning, valuing the exploratory process involved. We aim to support children’s awareness of diversity including cultural background, religion, gender and social context to promote an anti-bias attitude and enhance children’s developing identity. The Preschool maintains a strong connection with our Sister Service Gainmara Birralee Preschool Brewarrina, NSW. Curriculum decisions are guided by our educators upholding the child’s right to have their history, culture, identity, and abilities valued. Celebrations of the diversity of our families and the wider community are ongoing throughout the year.
Families and the Community
Management together with educators aim to create a welcoming, safe and secure, respectful, caring and healthy environment for the children, their families and the wider community to foster a sense of belonging. We strive to build respectful and genuine partnerships with parents and families and value their contribution to their children’s learning. We recognise the diverse values and beliefs held by each family and promote positive attitudes and practices within the Preschool. A strong sense of continuity across the home and education environment is valued through open trustful relationships with parents and family members. We believe collaboration with other organisations and support services enhance children’s learning and transitions and support parenting and family wellbeing. Our connections with children and families go beyond the Preschool years as does our support.
Within the Preschool we seek to provide a safe and healthy environment for all staff, children, families and visitors and to comply with the standards for health, safety and welfare set under legislation. We also believe in placing much emphasis on the thoughtful planning of a stimulating, inviting and nurturing learning environment. This is achieved through the provision of a range of hands on resources and technologies that promote inquiry-based learning and provoke children’s enthusiasm and motivation for learning. We engage in critical reflective practice to create an environment that provides continuity for children’s interests and extend their prior knowledge. Educators aim to inspire children and use a holistic approach to challenge them through the learning environment. We encourage children’s sense of fun, exploration and curiosity, promoting their work as unique individuals and as peers in collaboration, learning from one another. The Preschool is committed to implementing environmentally safe practices to promote sustainability and to support the children to develop an understanding and sense of responsibility.
Educator and Professional Practice
We are guided by the objectives of the National Quality Framework and the ECA Code of Ethics assists us in our ethical decisions. Our practices aim to support educators, management and staff through a reflective process, with opportunities for professional development promoting a positive educational culture leading to a professional learning community. We believe it is important to remain aware of the changes to the early education field and reflect these changes to ensure children’s learning is based on current educational theory and practice. Our teams of educators work collaboratively to best support the strengths, needs, abilities and interests of children. We recognise children’s different learning styles and implement a wide range of strategies and teaching techniques to foster these.
Experienced and long-serving educators are a distinguishing and highly valued asset of the Willoughby Preschool community.
Our Educational Leader has worked passionately for the Preschool community for over 20 years providing strong leadership and a positive, professional organisational culture. She leads the development of a curriculum that builds upon children’s strengths and interests to foster positive learning outcomes.
A qualified early childhood teacher guides the educational programme in each classroom and is supported by qualified educators holding either a Diploma and/or Certificate III in Children’s Services.
Our lead educators are highly experienced and provide continuity to the Willoughby Preschool community. They engage in mentoring and support for more recent members of the teaching team providing a culture of professionalism and warmth.