About our Kindergarten
Welcome to the St Kilda and Balaclava Kindergarten (SKBK).
Our community-run Kindergarten has served the families of St Kilda and Balaclava since we first opened our doors on Blanche Street in 1911, and from our current premises since 1925.
Our Kindergarten provides a service that supports and enhances families and aims to meet the needs of our community. We offer a play-based program to pre-school children in a rich and stimulating learning environment where children are supported to explore and discover through play; who they are, their capabilities and their role in our changing world.
SKBK doesn’t just have a sense of community, we exist because of it. We thrive on the development of positive community relationships and embrace and celebrate the diverse linguistic and cultural input our families provide. Through working bees, excursions, in-services and networking with local organisations, our unique and vibrant community is the cornerstone of our Kindergarten.
SKBK is actively involved in nurturing our immediate environment and in taking steps to promote environmental awareness and sustainable practices. Consideration for the natural world is a part of everything we do.
We offer three-to-four year old and four-to-five year old long-day kindergarten programs for 48 weeks of the year.
We hope you enjoy discovering all our Kinder has to offer.
Our philosophy, values and aims
Childhood is a precious time, a time to be honoured and treasured.
Open-ended experiences enable children to explore, experiment, create, invent and extend upon their innate curiosity using the natural wonders of the world. This helps children in the process of developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to take responsible actions in their community and environment.
We believe that when children feel safe and secure in their environment, when play and learning are child-based and unhurried, children will flourish.
The St Kilda and Balaclava Kindergarten offers a rich and nurturing environment with a play-based program that supports children to explore and discover who they are, their capabilities and their role in our changing world. It is our hope that our environment and program will provide children with a foundation for lifelong learning.
We respect and embrace the uniqueness of each child and treat each child equally.
The development of the whole child is at the core of our planning. We aim to provide children with a breadth of experiences that will nourish their development intellectually, socially, physically and emotionally. All children, irrespective of their abilities, gender, language or culture, have an equal right to develop to their full potential.
We believe that through positive role modelling and guidance, we are able to have positive influences on the lives of the children who attend our Kindergarten. Our programs are led by dedicated, experienced and fully qualified Early Childhood Teachers and Educators.
A child’s connection to the living environment is essential for healthy well-being and growth.
We recognise that community attitudes towards caring for the environment are changing, and we see it is our responsibility to reflect these changes in our programs. SKBK promotes environmental awareness and is fully supported to undertake green housekeeping practices.
Our priorities are:
– a low environmental footprint in every part of the Kindergarten
– explicit teaching of the importance of preservation of the environment
– creation and maintenance of a natural learning environment
We make a genuine effort to reuse and recycle all waste materials. We have a strong commitment to attaining equipment and resources that are made from natural and renewable materials.
SKBK is committed to educating children about healthy food and healthy eating habits.
Parents are encouraged to provide lunch consistent with our policy for healthy eating. All food that we provide for cooking experiences and afternoon snacks are consistent with our approach to healthy eating. Cultural food differences are respected and specific dietary requirements catered for.
Because our Kindergarten may be your child’s first experience away from the home, we endeavour to maintain a homelike atmosphere. Our Kindergarten is not just for the children who attend, but for all family members and it is our hope that you will always feel a sense of belonging.
The amazing outdoor space at SKBK was acquired as a result of forward thinking staff and committee members who recognised the enormous benefits of having space in our urban environment. Despite its urban location, children are immersed in a beautiful setting – surrounded by nature’s treasures which support an appreciation of the environment and the world we live in.
The scale of both the indoor and outdoor areas enables ample opportunity for children to have real ‘adventures’ and gain a sense of independence and wonder in their environment. From mud and messy play to gardening, construction and even trapeze, the space and equipment provide unique opportunities for active and imaginative play that extend children’s capabilities and confidence. As children engage with the environment at their own pace, they learn the skills to take on new challenges, problem solve and make safe choices. It is our hope that this provides a foundation for a successful transition to school and the development of general life skills.
SKBK is managed by a Coordinator in conjunction with a Committee of Parents who are elected at the Annual General Meeting in February or March each year. The Coordinator is directly involved with the Committee of Parents, attending all management meetings including executive meetings, and administering the day-to-day running of the Kindergarten.
SKBK offers part-time and full-time care. We provide programs for children aged three years to school-aged. We are registered for 55 places, however we provide 52 places across two rooms: 28 places in the Narrang room (4-5 year olds) and 24 places in the Bundabun room (3-4 year olds) to enable three spaces for occasional days; when our families make urgent requests for emergency care.
The Victorian Government Department of Education and Training provides funding for eligible children to access a kindergarten program the year before they commence school. This funding is a contribution towards meeting the cost of a kindergarten program. It does not reduce the cost of care, but instead contributes to the cost of providing the Kindergarten program and is paid directly to SKBK based on the number of funded children enrolled in the Narrang Kindergarten Room.
To be eligible for funding, a child needs to access a minimum of 15 funded hours per week. Children therefore need to be enrolled in a minimum of three days per week in the Narrang Room.
Each of our rooms is staffed by a kindergarten teacher and three other early childhood educators with either Level 4 or Level 3 training. All our staff have a wide range of experience and skills, bringing a variety of influences to the program.
Our kindergarten teacher, Gabriel Mena, works with children from 9am – 2:30pm each day which equates to 5.5 hours per day. The hours in which the kindergarten teacher works with the children is also known as ‘funded hours’.