Excellent rating awarded to KU Ourimbah Preschool and Children’s Centre

Date awarded 14/10/2016

Valid until 13/10/2019

KU Ourimbah Preschool and Children’s Centre has been awarded the Excellent rating by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA).

The Central Coast based service was recognised for its collaborative partnerships and use of natural surroundings to enhance children’s learning and growth.

Karen Curtis, ACECQA Chief Executive Officer, congratulated KU Ourimbah on its achievement.

“I am very pleased that the first service to receive the Excellent rating on the Central Coast was one that makes use of that area’s beautiful local environment,” Ms Curtis said.

Noting research showing a growing incidence of obesity and stress in childhood, the service increased the opportunities for children to play outdoors. Based on the Ourimbah campus of Newcastle University, educators created a Forest Kindergarten to provide opportunities for children to explore the university’s wetlands and bush areas.

“The Forest Kindergarten allows children to explore and use their imagination, and has been particularly beneficial for children who have otherwise limited access to the outdoors,” Ms Curtis said.

Partnering with the Community Environment Network (CEN) extended the learning opportunities in the Forest Kindergarten. A CEN education officer taught children how to test and analyse water in the forest, and families were invited to also do this at home and provide data that was included in CEN’s national Waterwatch program.

A second partnership with the University of Newcastle’s oral health clinic supports children to learn about good dental health habits, including the opportunity to visit the clinic to observe a simulated dental surgery wearing the same uniform and protective gear as an oral health hygienist.

“Developing collaborative partnerships like these are a wonderful way for education and care services to connect with their community and use the resources available to them.

“KU Ourimbah’s connection with the University of Newcastle means they are involved in the development of early education courses and educators have also helped councils to design educational resources on the preservation of local wetlands. This is the kind of sector leadership we look for when awarding an Excellent rating,” Ms Curtis said.

Services that receive an overall rating of ‘Exceeding the National Quality Standard’ can apply for the Excellent rating.

More information is available on the ACECQA website and the KU Ourimbah Preschool and Children’s Centre website.

Media contact: 0477 301 274