Children at Windermere’s Early Learning Centre in Frankston are boosting essential developmental skills thanks to a unique program run in partnership with Monash University.
Once a week the kindergarten children visit Monash University facilities to practice skills under the guidance of their educators and students from the Monash Department of Occupational Therapy.
The regular one hour sessions assist the children to develop essential physical, emotional, social and personal skills. The ELC is conveniently located adjacent to the University so the children are able to walk from the ELC grounds to the University facilities.
One of the favourite activities for the children is the Monash University rock climbing wall, which has become an essential aspect of each trip. After the climbing wall the children use Monash sporting facilities to enjoy unstructured and structured physical activities, such as games and animal walks.
“There are many benefits from the program. Not only does it help develop their school readiness, but the children are learning essential lifelong skills. This includes interacting with their peers, problem solving and resilience as well as developing fine and gross motor skills,” says Kathryn Rothaker, Early Childhood Teacher.
The Windermere ELC introduced the weekly Monash sessions in 2017 and there have been many positive outcomes. “It’s a very effective partnership. The OT students hone their skills and the children gain the benefit of having regular specialist support. They interact together in a natural, true to life setting,” says Kathryn.
“We know that physical, outdoor play promotes problem solving and creativity. We also notice that the children’s fine and gross motor skills are steadily improving,” she says.
Parents are also noticing that their children are benefitting from the program. “Tessa is always excited to attend the outdoor programs at Windermere. She particularly enjoys the climbing wall at Monash and running around the oval. Eating lunch outdoors and the opportunity for lots of creative play makes for a fantastic learning environment,” says mum Melanie.
The Monash University excursions complement the ELC’s weekly outdoor classrooms held at George Pentland Botanic Gardens since the beginning of this year.
Windermere's Early Learning Centre in Frankston provides a kindergarten program in a long day care setting.