ELC building

Early Learning Centre


Page graphic

Located in Canterbury our Early Learning aims to instil a sense of excitement and natural curiosity about the world, giving children the courage to explore, investigate, experiment and wonder. Through a collaborative and supportive partnership with parents, teachers facilitate an exceptional learning environment that enables each child to reach their potential. 

Our School’s progressive ELC approach to education is influenced by Howard Gardner’s concepts of learning and the Reggio Emilia Approach, in which children are recognised as capable and resourceful, and have many different ways to learn, know and communicate. The learning environment is stimulating, interactive and nurturing, with a balance of child initiated and intentional teaching, creating spontaneous and flexible learning experiences.

Early Learning Program

Located in leafy Canterbury right besides Camberwell, our Early Learning Centre is co-educational and we offer several options for both 3 and 4 Year Old programs, including a full time five day program. Hours of attendance are 8.45am to 3.00pm for 3 Year Old students and 8.45am to 3.15pm for four Year Old students.

3 Year Old Program

Your child’s first year of education is a time of discovery. We foster an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust, building a child’s sense of belonging and connection with the world around them. The rhythm of each child’s personal growth is respected and catered to in a learning environment that is responsive to a child’s natural curiosity and inquiring mind and builds their understanding through a creative and stimulating program.

In partnership with our Junior School teachers, the children in our 3-Year-Old ELC group have the opportunity to attend specialist Library and Sport / Perceptual Motor Program (PMP) sessions at least once a week.

4 Year Old Program

Our students move through from the 3-Year-Old program to the 4-Year-Old Program each year. This is typically the last year before starting at Junior School.  The foundations established during a child’s time in the 3-Year-Old Program are further extended and consolidated as they become increasingly confident and develop a greater sense of independence.

In addition to the educational cornerstones of literacy and numeracy, the children in the 4-Year-Old group attend complementary specialist classes, utilising the Junior and Senior School facilities. These include weekly library visits, art, music and Sport/Perceptual Motor Program (PMP) sessions.

Days of Attendance and Enrolment Options

Days of Attendance for 3 Year Old students at our Canterbury Early Learning Centre:

  • Option 1: Monday to Wednesday
  • Option 2: Wednesday to Friday

Days of Attendance for 3 Year Old and 4 Year Old  at our Canterbury Early Learning Centre:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday

Days of Attendance for 3 and 4 Year Old students at our Canterbury Early Learning Centre:

Monday to Friday

Before and After School ELC Care

We support our working parents by providing before and after school care options to students attending the Early Learning Centre and Junior School. We have partnered with Camp Australia in the delivery of a high quality before and after school care program. All families who wish to use these programs, from the Early Learning Centre and Junior School, must be registered with Camp Australia. 

Before Care commences at 7.30am and students are escorted to their classrooms by Camp Australia staff, ready for the start of school at 8.45am (Early Learning Centre). Breakfast is available to students that arrive prior to 8.00am.

After Care is available until 6.15pm and ELC students are escorted to the Junior School library by Camp Australia and teaching staff at the conclusion of their school day (3.00pm). A healthy afternoon tea is provided at approximately 4.00pm.

Registration and bookings may be completed via Camp Australia website.

Specialist Classes

In conjunction with a strong emphasis on literacy and language development, students in the ELC benefit from a range of specialist classes.

Sport / PMP

Each week, our ELC students take part in a PMP class that encompasses movement, coordination and physical skills. Parental participation is encouraged as both students and staff enjoy the assistance parents can offer.


Children are involved in the reading of a picture story book, followed by a short activity. Each week ELC students are able to borrow a book using their library bag. 


Our ELC students are read a story and then encouraged to represent the ideas within that story with the use of a variety of media and artistic methods. Available in 4 Year Old.


Our early learners are involved in musical activities, including songs and dancing, that foster the learning of musical elements such as beat, pitch, tone and rhythm. Available in 4 Year Old.

Prep at Strathcona

Are you thinking about Prep? Starting school is an exciting and formative year. Learn more about our approach to Prep and how we set our students up for success. Start your Strathcona journey in Prep!

Quality Care and Education

From sessional kindergarten to long day care, the options are plentiful for parents in Melbourne. It could be said that choosing the right one for your child and unique family situation could feel overwhelming. We understand that choosing the right Early Learning Centre can be challenging, so we offer as much support as possible to help parents with their research. We encourage you to ask questions, visit our centre during the next Open Morning and most of all listen to your own instincts – no one knows your child better than you!

At Strathcona, we provide small class sizes of fourteen students per day, with a consistent teacher and co-educator in each room. This means that we have the ability to offer a ratio of one teacher to every seven students, where the national expectation is one to eleven. Your child is only this age once and we want you to enjoy every precious moment, and you can relax in the confidence that your child is in safe and capable hands.

When it comes to our Early Learning Centre there is a clear and flexible framework within a predictable structure to each session. Children have the freedom to initiate ideas in a supportive environment while teachers facilitate a range of choices, allowing children to build understanding about themselves, others and the world.  These experiences are inspired by the Reggio Emilia Educational Approach, where learning is connected rather than confined. In particular, the five learning outcomes of the Early Years Learning framework (EYLF).

There are many different ways to learn, and children prioritise their senses differently. Our goal is to facilitate a nurturing environment where they can build relationships and an understanding of the world they encounter. Learning from and with others is an important part of this journey.

Attending an Early Learning Centre is not just about setting up a strong foundation for the first year of school, it is also about attending a structured program where the environment is tailored to provide quality learning experiences. At Strathcona, it is also about having an environment tailored to provide quality learning experiences. This means access to facilities including the Junior School Library, Music and Art rooms, indoor/outdoor sport fields and even the swimming pool in the Senior School.

Our qualified Early Learning teachers collaborate and work cohesively with our Junior and Senior School teachers to ensure ELC students can make the most of the facilities and pedagogy. 

ELC Exceeding quality

Since the inception of our ELC prior to 2013, we have consistently maintained an ‘Exceeding’ rating in all 7 quality standard areas. The National Quality Framework (NQF) provides a national approach to regulation, assessment and quality improvement for early childhood education.

Register for an
Open Morning

Attend our next Open Morning to meet our Principal, key staff, and current students on a typical day. Please click here to register.

Attend the next
Small Group Tour

Visit our Early Learning Centre on a typical morning with a small group of other parents considering Strathcona for the future.

Book a
Personal Tour

Register here to arrange a personalised tour of Strathcona. Typically, these take place during school hours and term time.

ELC director portrait

Meet our Director of Early Learning

Our team of fully qualified and experienced Early Learning Centre teachers and co-educators is led by our Director of Early Learning, Mrs Jo Dowling. She can speak directly to what makes our approach to early learning so unique.