Cressy Road Cottages Early Learning Center – Overview
At Cressy Road Cottages early learning center, we welcome children from six months to six years. Whilst we are licensed to accommodate babies from six weeks we believe very young babies may be better cared for outside of a group-care environment. We consider enrolling babies under six months on an individual basis.
We staff our service with additional Teachers and Educators than required which grants us flexibility in the number of children enrolled in each room. This means if a child is better suited to another group of children there is no need to wait for a space to become available; just one of the many ways we are able to cater for the individual needs of each child.
Our 0-3s are accommodated within two groups, our Nursery group for those under two years at the beginning of the year and our Toddlers, the Elephants group who are under three years at the beginning of the year.
We have two pre-school rooms, the Giraffes are three to four years of age at the beginning of January and the Lions are four to five years at the beginning of January. The legal ratio for these age groups are 1:10 though we prefer a 1:7 ratio. Further information on our pre-school program is available here, 3-5s.
Nursery - under 2 yrs
Our babies enjoy their own cottage made up of a large, sunny playroom, two beautiful cot rooms, a nappy change room, a separate bottle preparation and a welcoming hall from our front door. We love that entering our Nursery cottage is the same as arriving into a home. A standalone cottage affords our babies a peaceful environment away from the hustle and bustle of older children.
Our Nursery children spend their days in smaller, age appropriate groups. Whilst our youngest babies are inside the older children spend most of their time outside in the sandpit, undercover area and playing on our real lawn.
We respect that each baby is unique and we follow home routines as much as possible. Sometimes we are unable to follow practices implemented at home and this is always discussed ahead of time. Examples of this include propping babies up into a sitting position when they are unable to get into this position themselves or coating dummies in honey.
Over four years ago we made significant changes to the way our babies were cared for – we went from 23 children to nine children and we began adopting the RIE principles. These principles, based on respect for all areas of development, have been fundamental in building secure attachments with our babies.
At Cressy Road Cottages early learning center, we have employed two full time university trained teachers to work directly with our babies to ensure they receive the very best care and early education possible.
Elephants - 2 to 3 yrs
Our toddlers room accommodates children who are two years old in January. This is our Elephants group and indeed at times, they sound like wild elephants thundering up and down the carpeted stairs as they love collecting their lunch from the Kitchen! At the moment the legal ratio is 1:8 however from January 2016 this will change to 1:5. Never ones to rest on our laurels and wait for legislation to tell us to be better, we began staffing at this lower ratio a couple of years ago. We have found it allows Teachers and Educators to work with children in small groups and have authentic interactions with each child.
Our days consist of free play, free play and more free play! In amongst this we have regular nappy changes, morning tea at 9am, lunch at 11:30am and afternoon tea at 3pm. Sleep/rest happens after lunch and for those here late we have a late snack just before closing at 6pm.
Experiences are set up in the rooms and outdoors based on each child’s individual program. Group times are spontaneous; we do not hold large formal group times for children of this age.
A typical, impromptu group time will include stories, games, language or numeracy exploration, puppet or prop play and songs. During this time children are free to come and go and the Teacher or Educator will read the needs of the children, allowing them to determine when group time is over (this could be different for each child). Knowing children well allows us to facilitate appropriate learning avenues for each child at our group time. Some children may need support in taking turns so we might introduce a game that requires turn taking, other children may need support in language development so we offer familiar songs or stories to provide opportunities to practice familiar or new words.
When our Director, Ingrid, took over the service in October 2008 two year olds were in mixed aged rooms (that is, in one room were two year olds, three year olds, four year olds and five year olds). We changed this and found the two year olds could be more appropriated nurtured and educated in their own group. Refer to Our Philosophy.
Giraffes - Pre-School 3 to 4 yrs
Our pre-school rooms are identical and positioned at the rear of the property. The Giraffes group is our three to four year old children. Our Lions group is our four to five year old children.
Lions - Pre-School over 4 yrs
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Our Kitchen is managed by one of our owners, Juli, who is qualified in Nutrition and Menu Planning and Food Handling. We closely follow the nutritional guidelines of Munch and Move, Get Up and Grow and Nutrition Australia. The new Healthy Eating Guideline has been an amazing tool to share with children who never seem to tire of looking at the food chart and pointing out all their favourites, and sometimes not so favourite (!), foods.
Our menus are nutritionally balanced across a two week period to give children 50% of their recommended daily intake (RDI). (Click here to view the 4 week menu)
Our recipes are developed in-house to minimise added fats and sugars. Instead we add naturally sweet products such as fruit juice, fruit and honey. When available all breads and grain products are provided in wholemeal or brown varieties. Baby purees are made onsite.
Our menus are devised to provide a wonderful array of different textures and tastes based on home-style cooking. Spaghetti Bolognese has been the favourite for many years, though two summers ago we introduced Build Your Own Sandwiches which were an instant hit!
We provide morning tea, lunch, fruit, afternoon tea and a late snack. Breakfast is not provided and we encourage all families to have breakfast at home. We prefer families do not bring food into the service as we have children with severe allergies that may be life-threatening.
Food allergies must be documented and a complete Allergy Action Plan provided by an approved medical practitioner. All medications listed on the Plan must be supplied and within date.
Allergies, health-supported special diets and religious requirements are all happily catered for. Juli works with individual families to ensure each child’s needs are met.
Birthday cakes are made onsite. As an extra way of celebrating, a child’s group will make cupcakes with the birthday child and these are served at afternoon tea.
At Cressy Road Cottages early learning center, we made a conscious decision when our family took over the service in 2008 to ensure all staff are with the children and not in the office. Whilst of course new business is important, our priority has always been the children entrusted to us each day.
We implemented a new system and process that reduced the time it took to process our fees from two full days a week to one and a half hours a fortnight.
Communication is kept simple – most information is shared through our Facebook page, Cressy Road. A daily update on each room is recorded in a Communication Book in each room and any more sensitive information is also shared here. On rare occasions we will also email notices to families. This is usually only once a year when we send out documents to be returned.
When Ingrid is not in the office the phone will go through to voicemail. You might like to leave a message or alternatively, please feel free to email us