Our program

Unique in its program, approach and vision, Friends’ Early Learning weaves together the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia, the Reggio Emilia Approach and the International Baccalaureate’s Primary Years Programme for early learners. Founded on the vision that all children are born as competent and capable learners, ready to participate and engage with the world around them, our program supports learners to discover their place and purpose as part of a supportive and connected community of learners. 

Primary care-giving

Our approach to early childhood education and care centres around a system of primary care-giving in our babies and toddlers rooms.This approach honours the personal connections children make as they bond with educators. Each child is allocated to a particular care-giver during their first years with us, this educator supports the child as they settle into the Centre and become used to our people, places and routines. It is widely acknowledged that primary care-giving systems support children to settle with success and build strong connections with others in the learning environment. This approach helps to build trust between the child, educator and family, promoting the establishment of secure and respectful relationships from the very first days children attend our Centre. As children become more confident, the allocated primary care-giving system is relaxed to ensure that each child builds strong attachments with all of the educators in their room. 

Play builds better brains

The importance of play in contributing to the health and wellbeing of children is universally acknowledged.  Play is the engine of learning; it is a powerful force for children’s exploration, creativity, curiosity, resilience, self-expression and social awareness. At Friends’ Early Learning, our educators acknowledge that play grows children’s intellectual capacities; play is a child’s primary tool for making meaning and building connections with others and the world around them. The process of play is vital for all children’s learning, it fosters social relationships, develops skills and dispositions, builds knowledge and strengthens important brain development.

The value of time

The daily rhythm of the program at Friends’ Early Learning is designed to support children with sustained periods of time for hands-on experiences through playful inquiry and smooth transitions between different experiences throughout the day. There are times where play is freely chosen and follows children’s ideas, and there are also moments during our day where the educators lead the learning group with discussions and community gathering experiences focused on games, stories and shared explorations in large and small groups. Children have ample opportunity and support across their day to build awareness and experience with literacy and numeracy concepts; these learning engagements are woven throughout the program in meaningful and authentic ways. Here children immerse themselves in a community and context where playful creativity, curiosity and the wonder of learning flourish everyday.

3-year-old Kindergarten

Our Kindergarten Program for 3-4 year olds* forms the final year of Friends’ Early Learning and the first year of connection to the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP) which continues throughout the Primary School. Across the year in the PYP, our 3-4 year old children engage with four overarching Units of Inquiry, Who we are, How we express ourselves, How the world works and Sharing the planet. These rich and rigorous projects change and adapt every year, closely tailored to the ideas and interests of the children. Through the PYP, children are immersed in stimulating contexts for playful inquiry and engage with culture and language in a transdisciplinary way. This program incorporates weekly specialist classes in Music, Physical Education and Library, providing a seamless transition to the 4-5 year old Kindergarten Program in the School the following year. 

*To be eligible for our 3 year old Kindergarten Program children must have turned 3 by January 1st and be eligible to attend 4-year-old Kindergarten Program the following year.

For more information about the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program click here.

Incursions, Excursions and Visitors

We host a range of incursions and excursions for children across the year as linked to the educational program. These are planned and communicated with families in response to the dynamic and changing inquiries of the children. We also host weekly visits from our Year 6 leaders as they learn to support young children’s play and our Vocational Education & Training (VET) program students from Clemes (Years 11 and 12) undertake a component of their coursework and training with our Centre. All visitors to the Centre are registered with visitor check-in protocols and have a current Working with Children and Vulnerable People card.

Planning for learning and sharing learning with families

Our educational teams engage in an ongoing reflective cycle of observing, planning, implementing and evaluating learning programs for children. These are documented in our room planners and key moments of group learning are documented and shared with families via the Daily Journals, located in each room near the Sign-In iPads. These books contain traces of group learning moments, plans enacted with children, insights into the learning process and our evaluations of programs as they are implemented. They also detail our ongoing research questions and share some of the noticings and ‘wonderings’ we collect with each group of children. Individual and group Learning Stories are also documented for each child, tracked over time and shared with families via our online portal Storypark. Families will receive an invitation to download the app and login to their child’s profile on Storypark at the beginning of their journey with us. These stories provide personal and precious traces of children’s learning and development over time and we encourage families to engage with this platform as they reflect with their children on what happens during a learning day at the Centre. 

Outside School Hours Care and Vacation Care programs for school-aged children

The Friends’ School Outside Kinder Hours Care and Outside School Hours Care programs operate from The Frank Wells Hall, and provide before school, after school and holiday care services to children attending Morris, Friends’ Primary Years (4 year old Kindergarten to Year 6) and other children in our local community. We also offer engaging Vacation Care Programs for our enrolled families. These programs are posted on this website and e-mailed directly to enrolled families four weeks prior to the end of each term.