What We Offer
Our Programs and Spaces.
We offer programs and spaces which connect children to other children, their educators, their environment and community and we welcome the whole family into this learning space. Our programs emphasise listening to the child. As educators, we are active listeners participating with children who are constructing their own learning. We also emphasise strong relationships as a foundation for expanding the child’s potential. We combine the approach of Reggio Emilia with the Early Years Learning Framework and the National Quality Standard, and we believe this combined approach is the key to creating a high quality educational experience for your child.
“Play is the highest form of research” – Einstein.
School at a glance
Our early childhood school is open from 7 am – 6 pm 5 days per week (except Public Holidays)
Children from 6 weeks old to school entry (kindergarten approved program)
We accommodate between 70-85 children in four multi-age units with shared communal space.
Coded secure access to the centre, and family access to community piazza.
Our classrooms and programs
1. Infants (Nido) 6 weeks – 2 Years
2. Toddlers 15months – 3 years
3. Uno Kindy (Kindergarten Program) 3 – 5 years
4. Duo Kindy (Kindergarten Program) 3 – 5 years
Each classroom community develops its own culture based around the diversity and uniqueness of the individuals within the community. Children spend between 12 and 24 months in one classroom creating and supporting the community in which they attend outside of their home, thus forming close bonds with educators and peers.
Our community spaces consist of our outdoor spaces, piazza, atelier, kitchen/dining, and nest. They are considered an extension of the classroom. All children are able to access them daily as an opportunity for extension, research, play and learning. Children are able move between spaces and groups while still being connected to a home ‘classroom’ space to support their sense of belonging.
Penola Casa’s kindergarten programs are based around the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guidelines (QKLG) to provide a responsive, child oriented and developmental program that readies your child for Prep and for lifelong learning.
It is our aim to allow the competent child to investigate and play naturally in a suburban built-up environment whilst developing empathy, awareness and a love for the outdoor spaces they inhabit.
The outdoor classroom combines traditional equipment with the original building as a platform for play. It also provides the scope for natural and naturalised landscapes which includes indigenous plants, dirt, sand, rocks, trees to climb, cosy spaces to hide as well as large spaces to run and ride a bike.
The outdoor classroom aims to flow seamlessly from the indoor classrooms – paying respect to the Australian context of outdoor play that is able to take place all year round.
Our Piazza is the connecting space that brings the entire school and its families together. It is reflective of the principles of the many, many piazzas in Italy where the community meet. It also honours Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditions of the Gumbuya space of gathering. Our piazza is in the centre of our building, and was created out of the old building and its original structure. It is a space which fosters and supports the intent of “relationships.” The space is sheltered by a lovely tree in the centre and has seating for families, children and groups of learner to take time to “just be.”
The art atelier is a shared space which holds a variety of materials for your child to act upon. We view the atelier as a space for the co-construction, investigation, extensions, research and representation of children’s ideas about the world and what interests them.
The Theatre/light atelier is a large open space located upstairs that is available to use. This space offers us ways to investigate new languages your child can adopt for expression, such as using the whole body in movement and dance, as well as exploration with light, media and technology. This space also doubles as a place that can be filled with materials too large to store in the classroom and acted upon and researched by the children.
Our kitchen is a community space where food is cooked and enjoyed among all.
Penola Casa aims to pay homage to the original foot print of the Penola Nursing home, as well as incorporating the original building, artefacts and materials within the school. This is reflective of the Reggio approach where the environment is ‘as it is’ – speaking to the child about how to use it. Penola Casa has a blend of recycled, repurposed, original and commercial materials and fixtures that invite your child to live and play in the space that ‘is’ whilst respecting their capabilities.
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”The wider the range of possibilities we offer children and the more intense will be their motivation and the richer their experiences” Malaguzzi
Another essential space we offer at Penola Casa is a virtual one, and is constructed out of the relationship between us, your child and you. Documentation is a significant part of the Reggio approach, and we use an online portal, StoryPark to record and communicate to you about your child’s day. We can do this in real time, through images, video and observations. It enables us to get instant input from you, and reinforces those links between you and your child. This fosters that collaborative approach that we strive for.