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Welcome to the Ananda Marga River School Early Childhood Centre. We are delighted that you have chosen to become part of the River School Family. Our service endeavors to act as an extension of the family and home environment. We aim to provide a warm and nurturing setting where children, families and staff feel a sense of belonging, respect and community. We are looking forward to spending many special times with you and your child over the coming year.

The Early Childhood Centre has been operating since 1999 as an important component of the River School. We provide an environment of love and learning for children from 2 years to 5 years.

Our buildings and playground are built to align with an eco-friendly code of practice.  This includes the provision of solar hot water, rainwater collection, solar power generation, composting, worm farms, recycling, organic gardening, non-packaged healthy food policy and non-toxic art materials.

Every year and every group of children are very different and this makes for an exciting and fresh adventure. It is always a fun-filled time, where we get to know and love a whole bunch of great kids and the children make new friendships and take huge leaps in getting ready for ‘big school.’

Play is the natural way that children learn. With play-based education, children develop a love of learning.

We believe there is an innate Oneness that unites all beings, animate and inanimate. We share with children our respect for all life and the wonder of the amazing natural world that surrounds us. We like to encourage children to innately feel that connection through developing silence (Quiet Time), simple meditation and visualisations as well as spending time in nature.

We are all members of one human family. Humanity is like a beautiful garden with so many different kinds of flowers each one adding to the beauty of the whole. We can help children appreciate and understand racial, cultural, national and ethnic differences – while still understanding the basic unity that we share.

We believe in the uniqueness of every child; each child has special gifts, their own learning timetable, and their special way to take in knowledge. The teacher’s job is to see, with love, the uniqueness of each child, so that they can freely blossom in their own time, in the best possible environment for them. Each child has many facets to be valued and enhanced.

Our learning community takes into account children’s physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual development.

 

Our Philosophy

The guiding philosophy of the Ananda Marga River School and its Early Childhood Centre is Neohumanist Education (NHE). Neohumanist Education is based on Neohumanism: the practice of love for all people (regardless of race, gender, culture or religion), animals, plants and the entire world.

To develop the full potential of each child (physical, mental and spiritual), NHE applies whole-child learning. The methodology of NHE is flexible, creative and culturally sensitive, and empowers children internally (through personal development) and externally through academic subjects, creativity and the arts (literature, art, music and drama), physical education and other life skills.

Personal development includes the teaching of spiritual concepts such as universal love, meditation and yoga, morality (ethical values), integrity, intuition and interpersonal skills such as courtesy, cooperation, communication, decision-making, conflict resolution and problem solving. As part of Neohumanism, an awareness of ecology is promoted in its broadest sense (the realisation of the inter-relatedness of all things), with active encouragement for the respect and care of all living beings and the environment. As an extension of this, children, teachers and staff are expected to consume only vegetarian food at school and teachers are expected to promote vegetarianism as part of their teaching.

Neohumanist Education

Based on our collective belief system in Neohumanist Education, we aim to:

▪ Develop the full potential of each child: physically, mentally and spiritually.
▪ Awaken a thirst for knowledge and love of learning.
▪ Facilitate personal growth in areas such as morality, integrity, self-confidence and co-operation.
▪ Develop physical wellbeing and mental capabilities through meditation, yoga and play.
▪ Develop a sense of aesthetics and appreciation for culture through drama, dance, music, art and indigenous appreciation.
▪ Promote an awareness of ecology in its broadest sense, i.e. encourage respect and care for all living beings.
▪ Recognise the importance of teachers and parents in setting an example.
▪ Encourage a universal outlook, free from discrimination based on religion, race, creed or gender.
▪ Respect our health and that of the environment by asking families to provide vegetarian, sentient packed lunches with every attempt made to minimise the amount of packaging brought into the school.

Our Vision

Driven by their intense curiosity, children are investigators and constructors of their own knowledge, learning best through experiencing for themselves. In offering a play based approach to learning, which caters to each child’s interests, unique intelligences and learning styles, we intend to activate within each child, the desire, confidence and great pleasure that comes from being authors of their own learning.

Children are rich thinkers and we respect that children provide their own unique interests, skills and knowledge. We believe in advocating equity of opportunity, access and outcomes for all children, including those with additional needs.

Our programs aim to value children’s thoughts by:

▪ Allowing children to make choices with their learning and of the materials and equipment they need to access.
▪ Giving children time to pursue and extend on their ideas.
▪ Giving children freedom to explore and revisit their ideas.
▪ Encouraging children to reflect on and communicate their learning.
▪ Encouraging children to listen to, value and learn from others as co-thinkers.
▪ Listening to and observing children, supporting them when necessary to extend on their ideas.
▪ Documenting children’s actions and thoughts to gain greater understanding.
▪ Providing rich environments and a variety of educational choices, which empower children to direct, develop and expand their own interests and unique talents.
▪ Providing an environment where all children are happy, safe and free to learn.

We believe that a Centre which obviously has such great respect for children, fosters within children a deep sense of trust, greater self- esteem and an open mind to value others ideas and worth.

We believe that the value of play is in the doing not in the end result.

Some NHE Specialities

Morning Circle

Morning Circle is our daily welcoming time. Children come together to sing songs and share news. You are very welcome to stay and join in this joyous part of the day.

Meditation and Yoga

Children learn the beginnings of meditation by being able to cross legs, fold hands and close eyes. The children experience peace and quiet through visualising love and developing their inner world. You will frequently hear our beautiful mantra Baba Nam Kevalam, which translates as “Love is all there is.”  A qualified yoga teacher works with the children weekly, which is supported by daily practice.

Virtues Program

Every week our school classes focus on a specific virtue. Topics such as Courage, Responsibility and Compassion are covered. At the Early Childhood Centre, we introduce the basics of our virtues program through role modeling, discussion and positive reinforcement.

Art and Music

Our programs are enhanced by weekly sessions with our school’s art and music teachers.

Centre Hours

The Centre is open from 7.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday and runs a holiday program during the school holidays. The Centre is closed for two weeks during the Christmas/New Year period each year. Parents are not charged a fee during this two week period. During the year all other weekdays are charged as the Centre still operates during these times. This includes public holidays and school holidays.

Please remember to sign your child in and out every day on the attendance sheets provided. This is essential for us to be able to claim Child Care Benefit on your behalf.

Class Families

The Early Childhood Centre encompasses two family groups.

Pre-Kindergarten (2yrs – 3yrs)
Kindergarten (3yrs – 5yrs)

Keeping consistent with our vision of creating family and home-like environments, siblings and friends are most welcome to visit between the groups as they wish.

We understand that beginning in a new Centre can be an exciting and perhaps even daunting experience for many parents and children. We encourage parents to stay as long as they wish in order to create an easy and comfortable transition into the Centre. Our open door policy welcomes our families to come and go as they please throughout the day. If you have concerns about how your child is settling in, please feel free to approach the Director or staff for support.

Programs

Play!  It’s the way children learn best and has fundamental roots in a child’s biology and in our evolutionary development.  Play is important for cognitive development, social and emotional skills and is fundamental in developing pre-literacy and numeracy skills in which to enable your child to read, write and love learning.

Research tells us that children who learn through play in the early years retain more information, have higher socio-emotional skills and inter-relationship skills than their academic kindy peers, and scored no different on literacy and numeracy tests within longitudinal studies.

Play is absolutely essential for child development and we are so excited to bring nature-based play and exploration to Ananda Marga River School’s Kindergarten Program.

Your child will be guided in their Kindergarten journey with Katchia Avenell.

“I am a fully qualified and registered teacher and this year have chosen to further my own learning by enrolling in my Masters of Education with Queensland University of Technology.

I am also Kodaly-trained music specialist and certified in the International Baccalaureate; I have owned and operated The Cubby House, an attachment-based family day care service in Brisbane and am a member of Inspired Early Childhood Consultancy’s pedagogy and training team.

I have a deep love of nature, including the healing benefits of nature education and outside play.  I believe in the educational benefits of unstructured outside play, child-led investigations and peer-to-peer teaching, in conjunction with appropriate scaffolding and provision experiences.  I am an advocate of play work, loose parts and role play, as well as the importance of music and the arts in our everyday environment.”

Stick Play

Sticks provide a step towards understanding and caring about the world we live in.  A pile of sticks enriches the curriculum, enticing children into magical worlds of knights, fairies, acrobats, explorers and engineers.  Sticks are the ultimate eco-toys – recyclable and easily replenished, they cost nothing and can do (almost) anything.  They lend themselves to being sorted, stacked, snapped, buried, joined together and leaned on.

Enabling children to play independently outdoors is one of the most important ways we help them learn to keep themselves safe in the world beyond the day care.  Supported by caring and knowledgeable adults, stick play is safe and exciting and assists in developing imagination, gross and fine motor skills, numeracy and literacy.

Observation of stick play will reveal children digging, banging, bending, tapping, pointing and balancing with their sticks, using their whole bodies and exercising control of movements and actions as they do so.  Playing with sticks can also be a wonderfully peaceful and private experience; often a child will simply sit and feel the texture of the bark or rub the nodes of old branches.

Other benefits of sticks include:

Problem solving: reasoning and numeracy: sort the sticks by length, width, species, texture or colour; ask children to show how they sorted them – in rows, lines or bundles?

Mark-making: create charcoal by wrapping the ends of sticks in foil and charring them for a few minutes on a campfire or barbecue; swish sticks through sand or mud to create pictures or words; write magic spells in the air with short sticks; use sticks to trace the lettering on signs around your setting.

Construction: from the perspective of a stick connoisseur (some might say obsessive), construction play is the most enduring kind of stick play.

Whether it’s stringing sticks together to make giant picture frames, assembling wind chimes and dream catchers or engineering shelters and hidey-holes, the problem solving and language skills involved are just the start.  Children gain an immense sense of achievement from making something beautiful or complex from sticks and a few simple resources, and we have seen children collaborate and show ingenuity beyond their years, in order to succeed with their project.

Fire Play

Fire is often viewed by adults as an element that children should be prohibited from playing with.  It’s well known that prohibiting most children from doing anything, particularly something that they arguably have a biological drive to do, is a guaranteed way of ensuring that they’ll do it!  Fire no longer plays a role in our everyday domestic lives; we generally don’t rely on fire for cooking or heating our homes anymore.  However children remain fascinated by fire and it is important to provide well-managed fire play to provide them with the opportunity to:

  • Encounter and manage risks for themselves
  • Learn valuable lessons about how to light and extinguish fires safely
  • Develop the necessary skills to competently and safely experience the magic of fire

You may be concerned that introducing fire into your setting is too dangerous or will encourage children to experiment on their own.  However, a constructive well supervised session allows adults to discuss the benefits and dangers of fire with children.  In addition, involving children in carrying out risk assessments of fire activities helps them to understand the potential risks of the activity and the consequences of ignoring safety advice from adults.

Tree Climbing

Tree climbing is a fun, exciting activity that allows children to challenge themselves and to develop self-risk assessing skills.  Children also develop an awareness of some of the hazards related to tree climbing include height and capability assessments.  They will develop and improve physical motor skills, self-confidence and self-esteem which leads to increased emotional and physical wellbeing, as well as providing essential pre-writing strength and increase group awareness and co-operation.

Tree climbers also will develop an awareness of seasonal changes and the changes brought on by different weather, leading to develop awareness of the characteristics of trees such as branches, bark, textures, seeds and fruits.

Tool Work

Tools are essential in developing little hands for writing-readiness, and are an exciting addition to exploration.  Tools can be anything from magnifying glasses, to tongs or hammers, nails and screw drivers.  It can also include whittling knives for older children or saws and hand drills!

Children love to find out how things work, so using tools to take things apart or put things back together is a fantastic way to develop fine motor skills, finger strength, patience and perseverance.  Using tools to help build shelters, toys or art also gives children a sense of achievement!

What to Bring
  • A sunhat, which is kept at Kindy.
  • A named, unbreakable drink bottle to stay at Kindy.
  • Sheets/pillow/blanket to stay at Kindy for rest times. Cot sheets fit beautifully over our mattresses.
  • Enough food for a sentient lunch and morning tea. (These will be refrigerated).
  • At least one change of spare clothes (old clothes are best as your child will engage in messy and wet play)
  • Kindy children will need to bring a splash suit and knee length gumboots for cooler weather

If your child has a “lovey” (special toy, blanket or other) they are very welcome to bring it along for comfort. Although we encourage “loveys” and any natural found treasure your child may wish to share with the group, we do discourage children from bringing in toys from home. If these are lost or damaged, it may cause upset to your child as well as the discomfort “sharing” home items may cause.

Naming all belongings helps us to ensure they are returned to their right owners.

Fees and Enrolment

Fee Schedule

Upon enrolment, a $250 enrolment fee is payable. It is a requirement that this fee is paid before your child commences at the Early Childhood Centre.

Our Centre offers CCB and CCR allowances. The daily fee is $76.00 per child.

During the year, all weekdays are charge (including public holidays and school holidays) except for the four week period the service is closed during the Christmas/New Year period.

Fees are charged fortnightly in advance and parents must remain two weeks ahead at all times. To achieve this, we ask parents to pay four weeks of fees upon commencement at our Centre, and then every two weeks after this time. We issue a statement of account to each family every fortnight.

Payment of enrolment and weekly fees can be made in cash at the school office or by direct transfer.

The bank details for direct transfer are:

BSB: 014 645

Account Number: 253 305 734

Account name: Ananda Marga Education Ltd

Reference: surname/child’s name

Waiting List

If a place is not available immediately, your child’s name will be placed on the waiting list. When a position becomes available, parents will be informed immediately.

Extra Days

These are available on top of those days already booked for your child. However, this is subject to availability so it is necessary to check with the Centre first.

Swapping Days

Is not permitted unless in very extenuating circumstances and is previously arranged with the Director.

Changing Enrolled Days

Change can only be accommodated if positions are available. Parents must sign a variation form in order for the Centre to make a permanent change to their booking.

Withdrawing from Enrolment

Should you wish to withdraw from enrolment, a minimum of two weeks written notice must be given to the Centre.


Nutrition

At the AMRS Early Childhood Centre, all snacks and lunches are required to be vegetarian (no meat, fish or eggs) and sentient (no onions, garlic or mushrooms). If more information is required, please feel free to discuss this with the Director.As well as the vegetarian aspect of the school lunches, we also emphasise the importance of healthy, non-packaged food; preferably low sugar and not highly processed foods.Please make every attempt to minimise the amount of packaging your child brings to school. Encouraging children to be aware of packaging enables them to make choices about their involvement in the waste issues of the school and planet.To encourage independence please ensure food is easily managed by the children themselves.Please ensure you send adequate food to provide for those extra-hungry days! Some lunch suggestions include:

▪ Fresh cut fruit

▪ Fresh salads

▪ Fresh cut vegetables

▪ Vegetarian nori rolls

▪ Salad wraps

▪ Nuts

▪ Plain corn chips

▪ Pasta, etc.

Rest Time

Rest time is an important part of our Kindy day. During the morning, children will be so actively busy that a rest can make their afternoon more pleasurable. We provide a rest area for every child, so that those who may need a sleep can do so. For those children who are non-sleepers, a rest can be just as beneficial. This is supported by relaxing music, teacher comfort, and books, puzzles and stories for those who are past the sleeping stage. We are happy to discuss your child’s particular rest requirements and cater to them as needed.

Birthdays

Birthdays are special times for children so you are welcome to celebrate this in the Centre. You are welcome to send along a cake to share with your child’s friends, so long as it is vegetarian, egg-free and contains minimal sugar and additives. We have a number of egg-free, healthy cake recipes to share with you should you be needing ideas.

We do understand that not all families celebrate birthdays and/or other religious occasions. We are more than happy to accommodate this. Communication is the key here.

Health

Illness

In fairness to all, children who are sick must not attend the Centre. Sooner or later, all children do get sick so please be prepared to have a plan ready if required i.e. a standby caregiver.

▪ Children suffering from an infectious complaint must stay at home for the period specified by the Health Department or family doctor.

▪ If your child has suffered an illness in the past 24 hours, please contact the Centre to consult with the Director or Child’s Teacher before leaving them in care. Just like us, children need to be well in order to enjoy a day away from home.

▪ Please advise the Centre if your child has contracted a contagious illness so we can advise other parents to be aware of the symptoms.

▪ If in the opinion of the Director or Teacher in Charge, your child is not well enough to be at the Centre, you will be contacted to collect your child.

▪ Should your child’s condition warrant emergency attention, you and an ambulance will be contacted.

Medication

Should your child require medication while attending the Centre you must complete a medication form each day the medication is required. You can obtain a form from your child’s teacher. The medication and the form must be handed to your child’s teacher in order to be stored safely. Medication can only be given if it is in its original container bearing the pharmacist’s dispensing label with your child as the prescribed person. Medication must not be left in your child’s bag for safety reasons.

Allergies/Asthma

It is essential that the Centre is made aware of any special requirements, allergies or medical conditions before enrolment. Forms will need to be completed in regards to your child’s particular condition and plans of action will be developed in consultation with the family and displayed accordingly. All staff will be made aware of the condition and plan of action.

Homeopathy

The Centre keeps a range of homeopathic treatments for the day-to-day occasional upset or injury. i.e. ant bites, falls, etc. We will always follow your wishes on the administration of homeopathies, and if we do administer any remedy we will ask you to sign a form which relates the details to you at the end of the day.

Additional Needs

We are very willing to work with parents to plan for additional needs. Our Centre endeavours to integrate children with additional needs into our programs, regardless of the additional need. Following an interview with parent and child, the Director will assess the needs of the child and the appropriateness of the Centre’s resources and program to best benefit the child.

Injuries

Should an incident occur, staff will act immediately to administer first aid procedures. Incident reports are completed by the staff members present at the time of the incident and shown to parents on arrival. Parents will be notified by phone or arrival, depending on the severity of the injury.

Immunisation

If you choose to immunise your child, then we request that you keep your immunisation records up to date with our office.

However, we support parent’s decisions to not immunise, and will contact parents of non-immunised children of an outbreak of contagious disease within the service. These children will need to stay home until the outbreak has cleared.

Sun Protection

Families have very different beliefs on the application of sunscreen. Respecting this, we do not provide sunscreen within the Centre. However, if a parent wishes for their child to wear sunscreen, they may provide the cream and request that it be applied before outdoor play sessions. We suggest that you apply your preferred sunscreen to your child before bringing them to Kindy, to protect them during their morning play session.


Behaviour Guidance

A positive approach to encouraging children to develop positive social skills is implemented by all staff as children’s positive self-esteem and emotional happiness are of utmost importance to us.

“Safe, Happy and Free to Learn” is our Centre and School’s philosophy of children’s emotional wellbeing whilst being in attendance at our facilities.

Some guidelines of our Centre include:

▪ Preventative methods such as developmentally appropriate expectations of behaviour and redirecting behaviours before problems occur.

▪ Providing an environment that meets children’s emotional needs, such as the need for belonging, the need for power and autonomy, the need for freedom and the need for fun.

▪ Supporting children’s efforts to meet expectations, giving positive reinforcement for their efforts.

▪ Helping children explore alternatives to unacceptable behavior.

▪ Engaging in restorative chat to maintain relationships.

▪ If unacceptable behaviours continue, encouraging children to take some time with the teacher to talk and think about what is happening.

Excursions

Parents may be asked to complete an excursion form for their children to explore the greater school environment or participate in excursions that may enhance children’s current interests and learning. Excursions provide wonderful real life learning experiences for children. You will be notified of all details prior to the excursion, escorted journey or visits and your permission for your child to participate will be requested. Your child will not leave the Centre without your permission and any child not participating in an excursion will be cared for in the Centre as normal. At all times the appropriate staff/child ratios will be maintained.

Parent Involvement

We not only welcome parent involvement and input but believe it is important in developing strong teacher/parent bonds based on mutual respect and understanding.

Your involvement can take many forms:

▪ Communicating your aspirations and concerns associated with your child as well as observed ongoing interests, abilities and learnings your child has gained.

▪ Sharing your time in the Centre.

▪ Sharing talents, hobbies, interests and skills.

▪ Contributing suggestions or ideas into the program via our Facebook/Story Park links.

▪ Attending parent meetings and social events.

▪ Reading notice board and emailed communication.

Please note that if you would like to have an extended conversation/discussion with any of our staff, it is often best to make an appointment. While our staff are working in the rooms, their priority is looking after the children, so long and focused discussions with parents may not be appropriate.

Policies & Procedures

An extensive handbook of Centre Policies is available in the foyer for your perusal at any time. These policies include:

  • Acceptance and refusal
  • Access to individual children’s records
  • Administering medication
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Animals
  • Arrival and departure
  • Asthma
  • Cleaning and maintaining the environment
  • Clothing and footwear
  • Emergency and evacuation
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Excursion
  • First Aid
  • Infectious diseases
  • Incident, injury and trauma
  • Nutrition
  • Providing a child-safe environment
  • Rest time
  • Safe storage of dangerous goods
  • Social media
  • Sun protection
  • Supervision of children
  • Water safety

Questions or Concerns

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s time at our Centre, please approach your child’s teacher. Your queries will assist the teacher in understanding your perspectives and vice versa, and can only increase our mutual understanding.

Should you feel your concerns or questions have not been met, or you feel uncomfortable discussing them, please do not hesitate to discuss any issues with our Centre Director:

Vikki Paterson
amrsecc@amriverschool.org
Phone 5499 9359

Alternatively, if you still require further assistance, you can contact our School Principal:

Jenny Oakley
admin@amriverschool.org
Phone 5494 3559

Lastly, for further Early Childhood related enquiries you can call the Early Childhood Information line on:

13 74 68

A compliance history log book is also available to all families at your request. This is a service’s record of its compliance history as part of its licensing responsibilities under the Child Care Regulations.

We know your child is going to enjoy their exciting journey at AMRSECC. We look forward to getting to know you and your family, and developing a partnership based on the mutual goal of your child’s happiness.

 

 

 

 

Contact Information

Ananda Marga River School
251 Bridge Creek Road
(PO Box 411)
Maleny QLD 4552

Primary School:
(07) 5494 3559

Early Childhood Centre:
(07) 5499 9359

Fax: (07) 5494 3577

admin@amriverschool.org