We do this by engaging children in discussion about sustainability and what it means. Such as recycling, looking after the land, looking after the animals and producing our own food. We educate the children on energy saving, being responsible for noticing when we don’t need lights on and water saving ideas. Smartie Pants use a worm farm and composting bin to reduce food waste within the service and children for a long time now have been involved in this practice.
For the educators, we have developed practices to promote sustainability in many ways. Smartie Pants has a water tank that is used to water our gardens. Educators also empty water play containers and any left-over water into the gardens. We use solar power and have reduced the amount of chemicals used in the centre through natural products, such as vinegar, tea tree oil, bicarb soda etc. Smartie Pants encourage families and educators to bring in materials they no longer use or need, such as jars, ribbons, fabrics, boxes, bags etc.
We have set up displays of sustainability messages that can be easily seen by families. This is an area where parents and educators can leave donations of any kind that are suitable for childcare use. We also have a sustainability section in our quarterly magazine that informs families on any updates.
Smartie pants have regular sustainability meetings where the team come up with new and innovative ideas to continually improve on our sustainability practices.
Our centre is very passionate about sustainability – Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.
See an overview of our sustainability journey.
Nestled into an acre of native bushland, we are fortunate to be able to foster a wide variety of animals within our education and care program including fish, chickens, ducks, goats and from time to time guinea pigs and rabbits. Each day, children care for and feed our animals, instilling into them care for others and civic responsibility.
Our program embeds KidzPlay (Coach Phil) to deliver a specialised sport and exercise incursion program to support Fundamental Motor Skills (FMS) and Perceptual Motor Programs (PMP). KidzPlay provides a non-competitive fun and safe environment for both boys and girls.The FMS program is all about learning to kick, catch, and throw etc., and the PMP program focuses on balance, coordination and movement. KidzPlay sport and exercise programs not only develop the FMS but improve hand-eye coordination, balance and spatial awareness. In addition to the physical benefits, our exercise and movement programs also improve self confidence, self esteem, social development, sharing, concentration, independence, sportsmanship and group and individual learning experiences. The educational component of our sport and exercise programs teach colours, shapes, body parts, animals, numeracy and listening skills.
Each week we run music and movement classes for children run by 'Jump for Joy' which provides a specialised performing arts, music, movement and fitness program for children.
Download further information about our Jump for Joy programs:
Babies and Toddlers
Pre-Kinder and Kindergarten
Educating children on the Indigenous history, culture, and perspectives is essential in reversing the legacy of Australia's excluded past, addressing poor socio-economic outcomes in Indigenous children and supporting reconciliation between Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians (Westaway, 2014; Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, n.d; Craven, 2020). There are many other benefits of teaching Indigenous Australian histories, cultures and perspectives to all young children, including that the future generation respect and understand the importance of the land they live in (Mandewo, n.d.). Children's ongoing development is also supported through historical teaching inquiry and essential empathy skills (Westaway, 2014). During early childhood, children form opinions and understandings that they will carry with them. Thus learning Indigenous history forms lifelong cultural competence and encourages the fulfilment of the human rights of the Indigenous to have their own cultures, histories and perspectives recognised and respected (Mandewo, n.d.). It also fosters stronger connections to the land, a deeper understanding of the natural world and environmental stewardship (Yiramalay/Wesley Studio School, 2019). Children's emotional and social well-being are also supported, understanding their identity, place in the world and different ways that cultures and communities can come together (Early Childhood Australia, 2019; Evolve Communities, 2023)
In early 2020, our service created a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) under the Narragunnawali framework. Two fundamental principles of the National Quality Framework require that equity, inclusion and diversity underpin teaching practice and that Indigenous cultures are valued (Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority, 2022). While initially starting only a tiny project led by one team leader, this project is now fully embedded into all our operations, and our actions are only getting more adventurous.
See the latest copy of our RAP. Also view an overview of our journey.
Our older children start each group time with an Acknowledgement to Country, where we pay our respects to the traditional owners of the land on which we attend Kinder, the Wurundjeri people. We also finish each morning group time by raising a flag in our outdoor setting.
In 2023 we implemented Prelit into both our funded Kindergarten programs. Prelit is an evidence based learning program designed to integrate into the Multilit which over the last 25 years has been delivered in the Australian School system. PreLit uses a systematic and skill-based approach to help children develop a strong foundation for reading. It equips early childhood teachers with the necessary resources to teach pre-literacy skills in an enjoyable and interactive manner. The program concentrates on developing phonological awareness and oral language abilities through structured storybook reading.
Our early childhood service has been implementing the "You Can Do It" program since 2022, which is recognised as a best practice in social and emotional education. Developed by a team of experienced teachers specialising in social-emotional learning, along with Professor Michael Bernard, this highly popular program focuses on fostering positive attitudes and essential skills like resilience, confidence, persistence, organisation, and social skills in young children. The program also includes two engaging animations featuring characters such as Ricky Resilience, Connie Confidence, Pete Persistence, Oscar Organisation, and Gabby Get Along to introduce these concepts to children in a fun and relatable way.
Sounds Good to Me is a play-based real-world learning program developed by speech. Our educators use short lessons and structured assessments to support children’s phonological awareness. This program fosters listening skills, language skills, reading, words & syllables, first sounds, letters and rhyming.
Animal Fun is a movement program aimed at enhancing the gross and fine motor skills as well as social skills of children aged 3-6 years. The program was created by a team of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and psychologists affiliated with Curtin University's Health Sciences Faculty.
To assess the effectiveness of the program, a three-year randomised controlled trial research project was conducted and financially supported by Healthway, the Western Australian Government. The research project sought to determine whether Animal Fun could yield positive outcomes.
Based on the evidence gathered, it was found that children who participated in the Animal Fun Program for a duration of 10 weeks exhibited notable improvements in both their motor skills and social skills. These improvements included advancements in fundamental movement skills like one-legged balance and throwing.
Smartie Pants commenced using Animal Fun in early 2021 and have found that children from all our age groups enjoy the challenging poses that the program inspires. Through simple imitations of certain animals children engage their core, focus on balance, coordinate movement of their gross motor skills and use creativity to imagine and recreate the world they see around them.
The Abecedarian approach in early childhood education is a comprehensive program that emphasises language development, cognitive skills, and social-emotional growth in young children. This approach is characterised by its focus on individualised instruction, stimulating learning environments, and consistent caregiver interaction. The benefits of the Abecedarian approach are significant. Research has shown that children who receive this type of intervention tend to demonstrate higher cognitive abilities, improved language skills, and enhanced academic performance later in life. Moreover, the program has been found to have a positive impact on social skills, self-regulation, and overall school readiness. The Abecedarian approach plays a vital role in supporting the holistic development of children during their crucial early years, setting a strong foundation for their future success.
Auslan (Australian sign language) is the sign language of the Australian Deaf community. It was developed in Australia by people who are deaf so that they could communicate with others. The term Auslan is an acronym of Australian Sign Language, coined by Trevor Johnston in the early 1980s, although the language itself is much older.
In late 2022 13 of our educators signed up to a 12 month Auslan language program and have been learning and incorporating Auslan . More recently we have also been incorporating indigenous sign languages into our curriculum, which has been a fantastic way of integrating appreciation for indigenous ways of thinking, learning and communicating into our programs.
ELLA is a captivating program for young children that offers an engaging digital platform for language learning. It introduces preschoolers to a wide array of cultural experiences from an early age.
Through interactive and playful applications called The Polyglots, children have the opportunity to learn any of thirteen different languages. These apps are specifically designed to be used on tablets within a preschool setting. Their development involved collaboration with experts in language, early childhood education, and technology.
ELLA offers a range of benefits for preschoolers and educators alike. Firstly, it serves as an effective method for introducing young children to a new language, fostering their interest in language learning both at school and beyond. Additionally, ELLA promotes cultural competency by exposing children to diverse cultures, fostering respect and understanding. It also encourages families to share their home languages, further enhancing language appreciation. Moreover, ELLA plays a significant role in developing children's cognitive and social skills, improving their literacy, memory, and concentration. Lastly, educators who utilise ELLA find themselves growing alongside the children, gaining confidence in incorporating languages and technology into their teaching programs.
At Smartie Pants we have chosen Italian as our ELLA language.
In 2021 key members of the Smartie Pants commenced the Little Scientist Professional Development program which delivers accredited, pedagogy-based face-to-face workshops in Water, Air, Engineering, Optics, Acoustics, Mathematics, Human Body, Computer Science, Chemical Reactions and Design and Technologies specifically targeted for early childhood education. We have completed the required training and are currently implementing a number of enquiry learning projects which will be submitted to be assessed and approved as a Little Scientist House. For example, a recent inquiry learning project in our Mini Minors room was sparked by children’s interest in fish in our sustainability garden pond. The children are exploring all sorts of ideas they have about fish, including what they eat, how they breathe and their scales. Our teachers use their questions to spark research which could include reading books, discussions, looking up information online and conducting experiments.