Building resilience begins before school

Platypus Junction Mulgrave Childcare & Kindergarten Playground

Social and emotional wellbeing is a vital part of helping children gear up for life. Helping to build confident and resilient school-ready children starts well before kindergarten. Personal strengths and a sense of independence can hold children in good stead for the next phase of their lives.

These attributes are nurtured long before children make the transition to primary school, says Platypus Junction’s group business director Felicity Hall.

“It starts when they are quite young, when they are babies,” she says. “It’s about helping them have independence and confidence to try new things and really support their development.”

A family-owned and operated business, Platypus Junction has a 23-year history of nurturing young children, with early learning centres in Croydon, Mulgrave and Langwarrin. The centres support children from three months old to four years.

“Platypus Junction’s early learning curriculum supports a holistic approach to helping children build resilience for school and to help them become a well-rounded, independent little being,” says Hall. “How we can support that in early learning is through our curriculum, which is based on a learning-through-play model.

“It’s about really guiding and shaping each child to bring out their confidence and identify where their interests lie. I think that’s where you start building the resilience. The children feel really happy and supported in what their interests are. It’s not just a set routine where they are made to do things they don’t want to do, which is not a healthy environment in which to thrive.”

Platypus Junction’s curriculum is based on the National Quality Framework (NQF), incorporating philosophies from leading international education approaches to create an engaging, dynamic, nurturing and fun program.

Platypus Junction has a government funded kindergarten program with a bachelor degree-trained teachers at each of its Melbourne centres. They also have a school readiness program focused on the transition to school. “However, at Platypus Junction we incorporate a lot of those skills as early as possible,” says Hall. “It is then a real consolidation of those skills in kindergarten.”

It’s also a case of not just focusing on numeracy and literacy.

“It’s really about social skills and emotional wellbeing. This is extremely important going into school, so children feel like they can cope with change and making new friends. Setting them up to be happy little learners is very important and we really support that.”

Hall says this has been the focus since the business was established in 1995 by her parents, Dale and Julie Pearce, “because we knew how important it was for children to feel safe and happy, have that passion for learning and feel confident and happy in their environment.”

Hall says staff at Platypus Junction nurture independence and resilience in many ways. “Our team get to know the children on a deeper level, individually challenging them to be the best version of themselves. It’s about being prepared for life, not just school readiness.”

Source: The Age

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