Welcome to the Early Learning Centre, a specialised research and demonstration kindergarten at the University of Melbourne.
The ELC mission is to provide an exemplary educational experience in a humanistic and environmentally mindful setting. Growing and learning at the ELC instils in children personal qualities such as empathy, integrity, respect and tolerance. The aim is to enable children to become confident enthusiastic learners, who are flexible, open-minded and able to navigate change in a fast moving world.
The ELC philosophy is based on an image of the child as creative, capable and inquisitive. It acknowledges the role of the child in the learning process and enacts a model of responsive curriculum that prioritises the interests of children, families and teachers as content for learning.The curriculum supports children to develop academic competence, problem solving and decision-making skills, independence and self-discipline.
The programs are designed, implemented and evaluated by highly qualified early childhood teachers who adopt a project approach to teaching and learning which encourages multi-modal in depth inquiries which integrate language, mathematics, the arts, science, information communication technology and education for sustainable development.
Specialist teachers offer a range of enrichment classes in visual art, ceramic art, dance, music and Chinese language.
The ELC is fully accredited and exceeds all federal and state regulations.
A distinct precept of education must be to combine greater knowledge, know-how and skills with social awareness, ethical orientation and aesthetic sensibility. Oslo, 1997
Integrated into the ELC’s teaching and learning philosophy is the idea that learning ABOUT, FROM and FOR the environment helps children to develop positive and caring attitudes, values, commitment and skills to support, protect and improve the environment. The aim is to educate children so that their behaviours and actions can have an influence on collective action, which in turn positively benefits the earthly environment.
This set of visual images, have been designed to communicate three significant environmental messages, drawing attention to conservation of water, energy and nature. At a time in the world’s history when visual imagery is making a dramatic impact on people’s thinking and understandings, these posters play a central role in communicating how young children can take responsibility as active citizens who enact behaviours that advocate for protection of the earth’s resources.
In an age of hurry and busyness the posters are designed to place a spotlight of attention on the importance of spreading the message of environmental care and concern and importantly taking action for a sustainable future. Cooee is the slogan for the environmental movement that is being launched and it is the ELC teacher’s and children’s hope that the values inherent in the visual imagery will act as a recruiting tool to strengthen environmental awareness in the community.
Click here to download the Cooee instruction & posters.
Virtual Tour of the Early Learning Centre
Three Year Old Program
To be enrolled in the 3 Year Old Kindergarten Program, children are required to turn three years of age by the 31st of January in the year of entry (i.e. for 2018 enrollment, children must be born between 1 May 2014 and 31 January 2015).
Four Year Old Program
To be enrolled in the 4 Year Old Kindergarten Program, children are required to turn four years of age by the 30th of April in the year of entry (i.e for 2018 enrollment, children must be born between 1 May 2013 to 30 April 2014). Your child must not be enrolled in a 4 Year Old Victorian Government Funded Kindergarten Program at any other centre.
There are three attendance options available:
- Two days: Tuesday / Thursday
- Three days: Monday / Wednesday / Friday
- Five days (full-time): Monday to Friday
Hours of operation are 8:30am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.
Fee Structure 2018
3 Year Old and 4 Year Old Program:
The 2018 full-fee daily rate will be $135.00
|Annual Levy||Building & Resource Fee||$250.00 per year|
|2 Days||Tuesday / Thursday Attendance||$270.00 per week|
|3 Days||Monday / Wednesday / Friday Attendance||$405.00 per week|
|5 Days||Monday to Friday Attendance||$675.00 per week|
Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Rebate (CCR)
Waiting List - CLOSED FOR 2018 ENROLMENT
Offer of Place
'Offers of Place' are forwarded to each successful applicant between July and August of the year prior to entry.
Priority of Entry
- Currently enrolled children
- Current employees and students of The University of Melbourne
- Affiliation to the University of Melbourne (i.e. employed by University of Melbourne partner)
- Siblings of currently and previously enrolled children
- New families
Please note that Waiting List Applications are NOT prioritised on a first-come, first-served basis.
If you are submitting an application as a current employee, student or affiliate of The University of Melbourne, please attach relevant documentation/proof.
I.e. current staff/student card; letter of acceptance/employment from faculty/department.
Priority of Entry is in accordance with the Commonwealth Priority of Access Guidelines. For more information, click here
Age of Entry
The ELC allocates children into programs by their date of birth. These date ranges exist to account for educator to child ratio; the cost of running/staffing the centre; and age when starting primary school.
2018 Three Year Old Program
To be eligible for the ELC 2018 Three Year Old Program, children must have been born between 1 May 2014 and 31 January 2015.
2018 Four Year Old Program
To be eligible for the ELC 2018 Funded Four Year Old Program, children must have been born between 1 May 2013 and 30 April 2014.
Forms & Links
The Waiting List for 2018 enrolment is now closed.
The ELC Policies and Procedures Manual is available upon request.
Open Day 2017
About the Gallery
Boorai, the word for 'baby' or 'child' in Wurundjeri language, is the name given to the Children's Art Gallery that is located within the ELC. Boorai provides a permanent venue for the display and appreciation of children's art and stories. This unique space presents local, national and international exhibitions that stimulate and challenge audiences to recognise and value the personal and socio-cultural comments expressed by children through their art and stories. These symbolic representations and related documentation, support research activity and provide teachers and parents with further understanding of the ideas, beliefs and abilities of young children. In an increasingly global community, Boorai – The Children's Art Gallery gives emphasis to exhibitions which foster inter-cultural understanding for children, families and the wider community.
The Early Learning Centre is committed to the development and presentation of child art exhibitions in a variety of local, national and international settings. It provides a permanent venue for children's art. Boorai invites individuals and groups to:
- Contribute significant child art exhibitions for display at Boorai - The Children's Art Gallery
- Collaborate in joint projects centred on the development of collections of children's art from diverse cultures.
- Host touring exhibitions developed by Boorai - The Children's Art Gallery
- Develop research and project materials suitable for exhibition contact the Centre for more information.
Boorai, the word for ‘baby’ or ‘child’ in Wurundjeri language, is the name given to the Children’s Art Gallery that is located within the ELC.
- Recent Exhibitions
The Early Learning Centre is committed to the development and presentation of child art exhibitions in a variety of local, national and international settings.
The Early Learning Centre is committed to ongoing reform, innovation and development that is achieved through research and evaluation.
A diverse range of early childhood issues have been investigated and debated through formal research and community-based projects. These have included:
- Coming Closer: sharing Australian Aboriginal stories through drawing, painting and words
- Children's experiences of their sonic environment
- An investigation of the musical ability of three year old children
- Assessing the mathematical abilities of preschool children
- Empowering early childhood practitioners to critically examine their current practice
- Young children's understandings of the world of work
- The relevance of preschool theory and practice for primary school teachers
- The integration of young gifted children into mainstream preschool programs
- The development of a community resource to aid literacy development for children aged birth to five years
- The role of the arts in the establishment of innovative teaching and learning
COPE-R Wisdom Program
Frydenberg, E., Deans, J.,Klarin, S., Baxter, E., de Quadros-Wander, B., Ostuki, R., Pang, D., Su, H. (2016)
Frydenberg, E., Deans, J., Klarin, S., de Quadros-Wander, B., Jones, N., Stirling, S., Deery, B., Otsuki, R, Cornell, C., Dobee, P., Kaufman, D., Kiernan, N (2015)
This research was designed to develop the knowledge and skills of emotional recognition and the use of pro-social and empathic behaviours such as caring and sharing in children aged four to five years old.
Areas covered include:
- Understanding emotions caring for others;
- Open communication;
- Polite/respectful behaviours; and
- Empathic sharing.
These topics were taught through the use of discussions and activities, and were implemented within the classroom in whole group and small group situations.
To view the 2016 COPE-R Pre-Program Research Booklet, click here.
Families Coping: Effective strategies for you and your child
Frydenberg, E. (2015). Victoria: ACER.
Families Coping brings together two frameworks – positive parenting skills and the transactional model of stress and coping – to create a program of positive psychology aimed at parents, children and counselling professionals. It provides a toolkit for parents that can be used in a self-help mode or as an instructor-led program. It brings together tried and true principles of good parent–child relationships, which will benefit the family through childhood years and beyond.
Families Can Do Coping: Parenting Skills in the Early Years
Deans, J., Frydenberg, E., Liang, R. (2013 - 2015) Families Can Do Coping: Parenting Skills in the Early Years
This research program was designed to support parents with practical and easy to implement strategies on how to raise happy, confident and respectful children. Each session included a theoretical introduction followed by a range of examples and activities that parents can do apply within the home. Real-life examples relevant to the participants will feature.
To purchase Families Coping: Effective strategies for you and your child, click here.
Developing Everyday Coping Skills in the Early Years. Proactive strategies for supporting social and emotional development
Deans, J., Frydenberg, E, O’Brien, K. (2012)
This evidence-based book is designed to help children to develop coping skills through arts and language-based activities. The strategies suggested build on children's existing knowledge and skills to enhance their learning. The focus is on:
- improving children's emotional health and creativity
- helping children to develop resilience, particularly in periods of high stress such as transition from preschool to school
- increasing children's capacity to cooperate, respect, work with others and demonstrate empathy and concern for others and the environment.
The authors explain how to identify children at risk, particularly those experiencing anxiety or delay in social and emotional development so that parents and practitioners can intervene early where developmental delays or socio-emotional difficulties exist. Practitioners and parents of children aged 3-8 will find a treasure trove of activities to build coping and self-esteem through creative play.
To purchase Developing Everyday Coping Skills in the Early Years, click here.
Early Years Coping Project: Phases I–IV
Chalmers, K., Deans, J., Frydenberg, E., Tsurutani, H. (2011)
An overview of the Early Years Coping Project Publications, Samples, Outcomes and Implications.
To view Early Years Coping Project: Phases I-IV, click here.
An Exploration Into the Coping Strategies of Preschoolers: Implications for Professional Practice
Chalmers, K., Deans, J., Frydenberg, E., Tsurutani, H. (2011)
The capacity to identify a range of coping strategies related to specific situations has implications not only for theory development, but also for the design of effective prevention and intervention programs to help children more effectively deal with life challenges.
To view An Exploration Into the Coping Strategies of Preschoolers- Implications for Professional Practice, click here.
Operationalising Social and Emotional Coping Competencies in Kindergarten Children
Chalmers, K., Deans, J., Frydenberg, E., Tsurutani, H. (2011)
In order to assess a child's competence in the social and emotional domains of development, specifically emotional recognition, regulation and expressiveness in interactions, it is necessary to have an understanding of the types of stresses and problems children face at that developmental age...
To view Operationalising Social and Emotional Coping Competencies in Kindergarten Children, click here.
Coping Competencies in the Early Years: Identifying the Strategies that Preschoolers Use
Deans, J. & Frydenberg, E. (2011)
A three phase study to assess and help develop young children's coping skills...
To view Coping Competencies in the Early Years- Identifying the Strategies that Preschoolers Use, click here.
The Early Years Coping Cards
Frydenberg, E. & Deans, J. (2011)
In 2010 the Early Years Coping Cards were finalized and a piloted program investigating the use of the cards, involving early years teachers and children aged 4-8 years in two settings was undertaken. This work was submitted for the DEECD Early Years Awards, short listed and awarded a High Commendation. The Early Years Coping Cards are published by by ACER early in 2011.
The Early Years Coping Cards is a set of pictorial situation and coping response cards to engage young children aged 4 to 8 years old in discussing a variety of challenging situations and ways of coping with them. It is accompanied by a User’s Guide that includes some background information, conclusions from research and practical tips on using the cards.
To purchase The Early Years Coping Cards, click here.
View our parenting resources for ideas to improve the wellbeing of yourself and your child.
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