ECTARC Smith Street Education and Care Service
ECTARC Smith Street is centrally located in Wollongong’s CBD, close to local schools, with easy access to the freeway, train station and buses, providing convenience for families travelling to work. Situated directly behind the old peach coloured Surf Life Saving building, we provide some off-road parking. ECTARC Smith Street is a 40-place service for children from birth to school age.
Our central location allows us to be part of our local community, enriching our children’s learning experiences, including inviting visitors to the service as well as excursions to local schools, the library, markets and the many glorious parks close by. We also participate in community events, deepening the relationship between our service and the community, while teaching our children the skills to be contributing and active members of society.
Our vision is to support each child to reach their full potential, igniting a passion for lifelong learning. For this to be achieved, children need to feel safe and secure. We believe children should be allowed to be children, engaged in the present and have opportunities to learn about themselves. We respect the rights of each child, listening and responding to their voice and giving them space to be powerful and active contributors in their own learning. Our program also aims to support each child to become a global citizen.
We have two rooms providing quality education and care for children from birth to 5 years. Both rooms offer an individualised program that caters for children’s interests and strengths. Our rooms are planned to support learning across the key learning areas set out in the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) including language and literacy, mathematics, creative arts, socio-dramatic play, construction, science and technology, physical play, and social/emotional. Our thought-provoking rooms ensure children have the chance to grow and develop through sensory, play-based learning, supported by warm, caring and secure relationships with educators.
Outside, our play areas have a balance of natural and man-made elements and play surfaces, with large sandpits, covered verandahs, lush vegetable gardens, worm farm, compost bin, water tank and pump, established trees, remarkable artworks from local Aboriginal elders and lots of space to run, explore, create and learn.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions are embedded in our program. Our educators also implement NSW ‘Munch & Move’, a healthy lifestyle program for children from birth to 5 years of age. We also appreciate the importance of mental health issues and implement ‘Be You’, an Australian Early Childhood Mental Health Initiative to support children’s social and emotional wellbeing needs and the Play and Learning to Socialise (PALS) program.
We provide families with daily updates about their children’s learning and development via a secure online program. This information is used to assess and develop individual and group programs and includes information collected from home.
Our educators embed the attachment-based practice ‘The Circle of Security’ throughout our program and practices, sharing this practice with families. We know that learning outcomes are most likely to be achieved when we work in partnerships with families. We honour diversity by embracing secure, respectful, reciprocal, relationships and respecting families’ values and beliefs celebrating the benefits of diversity and honouring differences. This also develops our educators’ own cultural competence. Our programs and practices strive to be environmentally sustainable.