The Sydney Catholic Early Childhood education portfolio just got larger and more equitable for families, with the opening of its first ever not-for-profit preschool.
St Therese Catholic Preschool will open in May with up to 40 students, next door to St Therese Catholic Primary School at Sadlier-Miller.
SCECS Director Franceyn O’Connor said the preschool will be staffed by highly experienced early childhood educators and focus on learning through play. Families will be able to access the service from $15 a day.
We will have a great educational program with children exploring, interpreting and solving problems through play.
A chef will prepare a healthy lunch and morning and afternoon tea for students. Breakfast will also be provided for children who access the long day care option.
Ms O’Connor said staff were very excited to delve into preschool delivery.
“Those five years from birth are crucial in a child’s development and families can rely on us for support when their children are very young,” she said.
“This preschool allows us to be there for families. We will have a great educational program with children exploring, interpreting and solving problems through play.
“We’re very proudly Catholic, and a Catholic teaching framework will underpin our daily interactions with children and families. We’ve built our centre to be as sustainable as possible, inadvertently teaching our children how important it is to look after God’s creations.”
Partnerships with CatholicCare, the primary school and parish will support and enrich the preschool service.
University of Notre Dame and Australian Catholic University students enrolled in a birth to 12 teaching degree may complete work placements at the preschool, where they will observe what religious education looks like for 3 to 5 year olds. Sydney Catholic Early Childhood Services will also offer early identification for children with diverse learning needs including gifted tendencies, at the preschool.
Principal of St Therese Catholic Primary Michelle McKinnon will work in consultation with the preschool’s director to ensure they collaborate where possible to create strong community links and support for families.
“Because it is a not-for-profit organisation it is authentically about the children and we’re very, very excited,” she said.
“We hope there will be a really strong relationship so children will have the opportunity to come in to the primary school setting and use our facilities and resources, but also be part of our Harmony Day experiences, NAIDOC Week and other extra-curricular activities.”
Mum of three Aliscia will send her two youngest sons to the service in May.
She said having a preschool and primary school that connect was priceless when preparing for the transition to big school, especially for an eldest child.
“The way the world is going, that prep year is becoming so important,” she said.
“It’s not like when we went to school where you started Kindy and then you learnt your ABCs. Now they are almost expected to know the basics when they start, and by Year 3 they already start a formal testing process.
“It’s wonderful to have that one stop where you can have all of your children’s needs met in that seamless environment, and they can build relationships with others.”
Amrid Nepal said he and his daughter Diya, 2, were impressed with the facilities at St Therese Catholic Preschool, which include open plan areas brimming with natural light and colourful educational toys. Diya will attend the preschool in May alongside others. “I think they will enjoy it,” he said.
SCECS will open a second preschool in Auburn later this year. Sydney Catholic Early Childhood Services also runs Out of Hours School Care in 12 locations, with another eight to open next year due to demand.