Early Learning Centre

The ELC Programs aim to instil a sense of excitement and natural curiosity about the world, giving children the courage to explore, investigate, experiment and wonder.

Our Philosophy & Approach


At Strathcona Early Learning Centre we value Community. In our community, the children are central. We believe that play forms the basis of learning in the early years, and it is through play-based and adult-guided enquiry that children develop the vital skills of social connection, intellectual growth, emotional strength and a sense of personal wellbeing. Ours is a culture that values children and encourages positive dispositions for learning.

In our community, the parents are partners. The bond between the school and the home forms the bridge to a child’s learning journey. Home and family are the child’s first educators and we value the part we can play in extending that learning. We consider communication with our families to be an important factor in building this partnership.

In our community, the staff are facilitators. Every child brings with them their own unique history. They bring their own unique set of values, experiences and passions. In our community, it is our delight to guide and support the children in their development; to invite and inspire curiosity, creativity, enthusiasm, imagination and a love of learning.

In our community, the environment is a teacher. The children’s learning space is a tool to explore, provoke and learn from. We take care to ensure that the environment is thoughtfully constructed to facilitate the children’s personal growth, and to provoke joy and wonder whilst reflecting the culture of those within it.

At Strathcona Early Learning Centre, education is progressive. Our programs reflect our belief in the need to revisit, question and renovate our practices. Individual variation in children’s learning is respected and valued. Acceptance of the diversity of culture, heritage, background and tradition is inherent in our programs.


Our practices are based on the understanding that learning is a lifelong process. The Early Learning Centre programs are enhanced through the wider resources and facilities of the School. These programs provide continuity of learning and development as the children progress through the Early Learning Centre and follow individual and varied pathways.

We draw inspiration from the philosophies of Vyotsky and Gardner and are influenced by the Reggio Emilia approach to learning.

What Makes Our ELC Different?

We recognise that children bring with them a wealth of knowledge about their previous experiences and perceptions of the world. Our Early Childhood teachers facilitate learning through unique programs that support the needs of individual children as well as their group.

Small class sizes

Our small class sizes create an intimate family atmosphere and enable educators to offer children developmentally appropriate experiences that support and enhance their learning. Classes are co-educational.

The Shared Lunch Program

Our Shared Lunch Program enables children to collaborate in small groups with children from other classes and share a regular meal together. Currently occurring on a weekly basis, the children take turns and share the responsibility of planting, caring for the plants and utilising the food from our garden by preparing and cooking for a shared meal together. Parents and Grandparents delight in taking part in this experience.

Our Programs

We offer the following programs:

  • Three Year Old Programs
  • Four Year Old Kindergarten Programs
  • Pre-Prep Programs – five (5) days

Apply for our programs here.

Our programs aim to:

  • offer a wide range of experiences that encourage children to become engaged learners
  • foster children’s curiosity in their world
  • develop their ability to explore
  • encourage children to investigate, invent and predict.

In conjunction with a strong emphasis on literacy and language development, our programs also offer many opportunities for play-based learning, such as:

  • dramatic play
  • sensory play
  • cognitive development
  • creative experiences
  • specialist programs like Library and PMP.

There are many opportunities for children to learn in a group setting or individually. Children are encouraged to:

  • share their ideas, thoughts and experiences with their peers
  • work in collaboration with others
  • become increasingly confident within the group.

The Three Year Old Kindergarten is a time of discovery: a time for young children to investigate new surroundings, new friends and possibilities.

The Four Year Old Kindergarten Program is generally a child’s final year of kindergarten before moving on to school the following year. Learning how to look after yourself and your friends is an important part of the year and the children are encouraged to assert their capabilities and independence while developing an increasing capacity to understand the needs and rights of others.

The Pre-Prep Program

The Pre-Prep year is best suited to children who have previously attended Four Year Old Kindergarten. This full-time program provides an opportunity for children to benefit from a further year of consolidation and maturation before moving on to school the following year.

In the Pre-Prep Program, the children are immersed in a year of play-based inquiry, allowing them to learn by engaging in discovery, investigation and observation.

Within the small-group, large-group and individual settings, the children are involved in play experiences and project work that encourages them to follow their interests and to share in the interests of others.



The Pre-Prep year offers the children:

  • the time and opportunity to build on their learning
  • long periods of uninterrupted, purposeful play
  • both child-originated and teacher-framed experiences
  • a range of specialist classes.

Pre-Prep as part of the Primary School

To complement the classroom program, we endeavour to foster a close link between Pre-Prep and the Junior School environments, providing opportunities for the children to become familiar with the structure of the school setting. They enjoy shared time with older girls, including opportunities to join:

  • Assemblies
  • Buddy Programs with Year 4 girls
  • Tabloid Sports
  • Incursions.

Through regular activities with Junior School staff and in the Junior School itself, the children become familiar with a primary school setting and its expectations.

Specialist Classes

Our specialist classes are led by expert teachers and involve the children in a wonderful range of experiences in areas such as:

  • Art
  • Music
  • Library
  • Sport / PMP (Perceptual Motor Program)
  • Swimming.

ELC Overview

Specifications 3 year-old 4 year-old Full-time and Pre-prep Prep
Minimum age for enrolment Turns 3 before January 1 Turns 4 before April 30 Turns 4 before January 1 Turns 5 before April 30
Gender Co-ed Co-ed Co-ed Girls only
Class size 13 14 14 20
Days 2 or 3 day program 3 or 4 day
5 days full-time 5 days full-time
Length of day 8.45am – 3pm 8.45am – 3pm 8.45am – 3.15pm 8.45am – 3.25pm

Priority selection criteria

  1. Sibling at Strathcona
  2. Enrolment into Prep
  3. Staff member
  4. Old Strathconian
  5. Expressions of interest in order of receipt.

Before-school and after-school care

Before-school and after-school care are available on a permanent or casual basis.

Before-school care – From 7.00am (depending on demand)
After-school care – Until 6.00pm

Term times

A staggered intake operates at the beginning of the school year, with reduced hours for the first two weeks of Term 1. Before-school and after-school care commences early in Term 1.