15 Burford Street
MERRYLANDS NSW 2160
Ph: 02 9637 5263
As the Director of Merrydays Kindergarten, I would like to take this opportunity to extend our hospitality to you, your child and your family.
As a Community Based service, we have over the years built a reputation for quality, not only in the way our service is run and managed but also through our staff’s warm and caring attitudes.
We take great pride in being able to offer you a very professional team of caregivers. Our staff are trained in the field of Early Childhood, and they attend regular in-service and training courses to ensure their skills are always up to date, furthering their skills and abilities in caring for your children.
We endeavour to provide a care giving environment for your child, and a warm and friendly atmosphere for parents and family members to become involved in our service.
All family matters are held in the strictest of confidence, and through our wide range of networks and friends in other agencies, we may be able to offer a variety of support to families when needed.
Our basic approach to child care is through a warm and caring environment which is an extension of the home. We value learning through play, and we cater our program to meet your child’s developing interests and skills. We offer a variety of experiences that promote the desire to explore, and encourage the development of independent skills and a positive self esteem.
Our staff keep detailed developmental records on your child’s progress; these are a combination of portfolios, daily diaries and developmental checklists. We aim to work with you in empowering your child to be a confident, competent unique individual ready to take on the world!
As a new member of our service, you may have a number of questions, or may have forgotten something to ask in your initial interview, we hope that this booklet will assist you to clarify any of your concerns or answer any of your questions, as well as identify the necessary information required for a smooth transition into care.
We welcome you into our Merrydays family and hope that your time with us is one which develops into a friendship that will have many happy memories in the years to come.
Should you require any further information after reading this booklet, please come and see us, a cup of coffee and a smile is always waiting for you!
As far as the records show, Merrydays Kindergarten was established in 1948, and in all this time has served the families of the Municipality of Holroyd in regards to the care and educational well-being of the children in the area.
Initially the land was donated to the Management Committee, after they lobbied the Council for funds to establish a Child Care Centre.
The building itself was built by the parents and concerned citizens of the area. Since that time there have been 3 major extensions added, 1 to the front of the centre creating a storage room, another to the left rear side of the centre creating a room for the under 3’s and the third is the “Green Room” at the rear of the centre creating a wonderful large play room filled with many useful learning centres and a separate laundry area.
Over recent years there have been many internal changes. We have moved our tiny kitchen and created a larger area for cooking; we have created a staff room; we have enlarged a single toilet area to include basins, children’s toilet and nappy change facility and we have replaced the children’s mezzanine play area. Most of the internal changes have been made possible thanks to the concerned citizens in the area, who donated labour and building materials as well as local organisations such as The Holroyd Rotary Club and Lions Club.
The centre’s rear play yard has also undergone some significant changes in recent years; we now have a large rubber soft play area and giant shade structure which was made possible with the help of another local organisation called ‘KIDSWEST’. Some of the art work on the fences in the rear yard was drawn and painted by parents, volunteer citizens of the local area and staff at the centre, the remainder completed by a professional artist.
As you can see our service has survived these many, many, years thanks to the dedication and devotion of local community members.
The centre provided care for 30 children aged 3-5 years and 2 children aged 2-3years for the majority of its lifetime, however in 1991, the Child Care Regulations changed, and the Management Committee had no alternative but to change the attending age of all children to 3- 5years only.
Then in 1993, we raised enough money from fundraising and with a generous grant from the Western Area Assistance Scheme, we upgraded the conditions and gained the approval to change the license from 32 children to 35 children. As of January 1995, Merrydays accepted 8 children aged 2-3years and 27 children aged 3-5 years.
As of January 2005, Merrydays increased our license to accommodate 37 children per day, this includes up to 12 children aged 2-3 years olds and the remainder of the children aged 3-5 years old. Over the many years we have also extended the operational times of the centre, Merrydays now opens from 7.00am to 6.00pm from Monday to Friday. Again showing that we are striving to provide care that is, directly related to the needs of the families of Holroyd.
Since opening the doors in 1948 there have been only 4 Directors. Mrs. Angel [R.I.P] being the first Director, …Mrs. Mavis Carey being the second Director, …Mr. John Stewart being the third Director and Mrs. Michelle Hansen being the latest and current Director.
At the same time we are proud to say that we have a number of staff which have been with the centre for more than the teaching profession statistics of 2 years. Our staff come from a variety of backgrounds and bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience. We take great pride in the fact that our staff provide you with quality care.
We are also proud to see that we have a number of families who used the service as children, now returning to enrol their own children in Merrydays.
On the whole, we at Merrydays Kindergarten Society Inc are proud to state that we have been servicing the needs of families and children in the Holroyd area for so long and are looking at the future years of Merrydays with a very positive attitude.
In 2008 our service celebrated a very special event, “60 years of service”. It has been a truly exciting time to have survived this long as a “true” community based service.
Our success is contributed by the dedication and support given from the local families of past and present, as well as the staff of past and present, and the local community members who have been involved with our service and the local businesses who have supported our service.
We wish to thank all members of our past for contributing to the wonderful service that Merrydays is today, and we invite you to continue the journey in true Merrydays spirit…welcome to our Merrydays family.
Community based child care is designed by the users; it is run by the users, for the users!
Merrydays Kindergarten Society Inc is community based children’s service, catering for 37 children per day between the ages of 2 and 5 years of age. Our centre is open between the hours of 7.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday. Our service is closed for 4 weeks over the Christmas period and on Public Holidays.
Merrydays is a non- profit organisation funded by the NSW Department of Human Services. Our building and all of the belongings within it are owned by the Management Committee in the year of operation.
Merrydays Kindergarten Soc Inc aims to provide High Quality Care, non-institutionalised early childhood care and education. Our centre has qualified, trained and experienced staff members. Merrydays is committed to providing the principles of care as outlined in the Quality Improvement and Accreditation System, Quality Practices Guide provided by the National Childcare Accreditation Council and the more recent Early Years learning Framework for Australia.
The service provides an educational component program based on the principles of early childhood development and highly values learning through play. Learning is based on the children’s developing interests. Programs are evaluated regularly by all staff and provide the opportunity for the child to explore and self discover in all areas of development including maths, science, technology, creative art and craft experiences, music, language and literature, documentation, sensory awareness, construction, social and dramatic play. We also provide a Music, Movement & Drama Program, as well as a School Transition program.
The centre aims to provide a homelike comfortable atmosphere for children and families to share. The children are grouped together at various times of the day and separated into smaller primary care giving groups at other times of the day.
Foundations are laid in the child’s early years for formation of healthy social habits, attitudes and competency. The staff working at our service value and wish to maintain close relationships with each family in working with their child. We feel that mutual co-operation between families and the service is of vital importance in empowering the children to be competent, confident and capable unique individuals for today’s future. We encourage families to participate in all aspects of the service as per their capabilities.
Merrydays Kindergarten is also a teaching service, and accepts students from teaching schools such as TAFE, University and Colleges to attend for periods of time to undertake their practical teaching experience.
Our service is one in which “flexibility” is a main component of operation, we strive on accepting and implementing new experiences, and aim to keep up with current early childhood education practices and development theories.
At Merrydays we view all children as being unique, resourceful and competent individuals. We believe children are active explorers learning about themselves and constructing their own identity within the context of their families and communities. We value their inquisitive, imaginative, spontaneous and challenging nature; as they organize and make sense of their social worlds through actively engaging with people, objects and representations. We value their ability to actively construct their own understandings, and contribute to the learning of others. We value their capacity to initiate and lead learning, and their rights to participate in decisions that affect their world. We believe learning is integrated and interconnected to children, families & communities; we see learning as a social activity and value a collaborative approach.
We believe that it is of vital importance:
- For educators take a holistic approach to teaching and learning. We value establishing a responsive, respectful and reciprocal relationship with children; that promote building on their emerging skills, interests, strengths and abilities, to ensure their motivation and engagement in learning within a physically safe and secure environment.
- To enhance the children’s learning through play and hands-on discovery, encouraging children to discover, create, improvise and imagine. Through play experiences we will provide a supportive environment where children can ask questions, solve problems and engage in critical thinking. Educators will encourage children to reflect on their emotions and develop their awareness of empathy for others, building their ability to become effective communicators. These experiences shall reflect cross cultural, anti-bias, non-discriminating issues and incorporate creativity, investigation and exploration through all developmental areas such as physical, cognitive, social and emotional, creative, spiritual and moral, and both expressive and receptive language.
- To work in partnerships with parents and families in meeting the learning outcomes of their children and strengthen their emerging skills. We recognize & value families as the children’s first and most influential educators. We aim to provide a welcoming environment where families are respected and encouraged to collaborate with educators about curriculum decisions, ensuring that learning experiences are meaningful whilst also promoting staff, family and community needs through co-operation and participation within the service.
- To document the children’s learning in a variety of ways around the service and in unique individual child portfolios, to compliment the teaching and learning processes, and to aide in the process of reflection that occurs frequently between children, staff and families.
- To support the individual skills, knowledge and experience of the staff, families and community through all aspects of the service.
- To foster and nurture an environment that encourages families and staff to work co-operatively towards promoting good moral values within the community and therefore enhance community development.
- To build strong networks with agencies and support services which be advantageous to the children, their families and the staff.
- To maintain the responsibilities to all Government departments and associated regulating authorities related to the effective operation of the service.
- To always strive to achieve and maintain a high quality service within all aspects of the centre.
This routine is displayed in time format to enable a better understanding of how our day progresses, however at Merrydays we are very flexible and do not stick strictly to the indicated times. As a general rule, we regard each child as an individual and try to keep this in mind when caring for each child, and let's not forget that each day is different bringing us new and exciting discoveries.
7.00am Centre opened. Quiet indoor experiences are offered such as puzzles, craft, manipulative play, construction, home corner, computers etc. Children help to prepare the centre for the day ahead.
8.00am Breakfast is served from 7am - 8am. For those children who do not require breakfast, they are free to move about the experiences set up inside and outside (weather permitting). Children help staff with setting up outdoor play areas (weather permitting).
9.00am Children are encouraged to tidy up the experiences, in which they have been playing with and have the option to participate in a small group time experience or have morning tea. (We have a free flow morning tea from 9am - 9.45am). Children who do not wish to participate in group time are free to continue playing with the experiences provided.
9.45am Children are free to choose to participate with the experiences that have been programmed for the outdoor environment, or remain in the indoor environment pending their interests. Children help to prepare for primary caregiver group time.
10.15am Children move into their Primary Caregiver Groups for individual attention in all developmental areas.
11.30am The 2-3 year olds have their lunch.
12.00pm The 2-3 year olds are prepared for their rest period. The older children are prepared for lunch - when ready lunch is served. The children are encouraged to use their self help skills in serving lunch and assist the staff with the clearing of lunch.
12.45pm The older children are gathered onto the mat and small group experiences
eg singing, story telling etc, take place as children are sent to the bathroom a few at a time. After this, the children are settled onto their beds for a rest period.
1.00pm Rest Time - those children who wish to sleep are more than welcomed to snuggle down, and for those who do not require a sleep the children are requested to give their bodies a short rest before undertaking quiet activities.
2.00pm Children begin to wake up and are prepared to go outside if they wish (weather permitting). Beds are packed away and the indoor environment is set up for play. Children participate in self-directed activities.
2.30pm Children are encouraged to participate in a small group activity or are free to continue their indoor/outdoor play, before moving to afternoon tea. We have a free flow afternoon tea that is served from 2.30pm - 3.00pm.
3.00pm Children are free to play outdoors (weather permitting) at the experiences provided or may choose to continue playing indoors at the experiences provided.
4.00pm Children are encouraged to help pack away the outdoor experiences and move inside, where they can select experiences of their own choice for play. Children are encouraged to participate in small group experiences eg group games, story telling, music activities etc.
Children assist the staff with preparing activities for the next day.
Children part take in self help activities to prepare for their parents picking them up eg washing faces, tidying hair etc.
5.00pm A late afternoon tea snack is served to those children whose parents work late. Children are free to participate in experiences selected by staff or to undertake self selected work, children are encouraged to help with the final clean up of the centre eg washing, putting paintings away, restocking craft items etc. Finally there is time for a well deserved cuddle for both children and staff, and time for a chat for all the special things that happened during the day.
6.00pm Centre is closed.
Please note that as the children arrive at the centre sun cream is applied and again after rest period, and don't forget our "NO HAT NO PLAY" policy.
At Merrydays we observe and program for each child in our care. Each of our primary caregivers is responsible for keeping developmental records and individual portfolios on each child within their group.
Observations are ongoing over the whole year and give each caregiver a source of valuable information, to further the development of each child. Basically we use this information to plan our program.
We have opportunities for self directed play, individual project discovery and small group work occurring at the primary caregiver group time. During this time when within smaller groups their primary caregiver plans experiences and activities based on the children’s interests in a number of areas such as language, music, creative and sensory exploration, maths, science & technology, craft, art, cognition, construction etc for each child. During these experiences the caregiver observes each child, clarifying the child’s areas of strength and further interests. Together the children and carer develop strategies and areas for further investigation. Each experience is designed to extend the growth and development of each child, to promote curiosity and the desire to explore, as the teacher scaffolds the child’s learning. The staff are constantly evaluating these experiences to ascertain the effectiveness of the experiences on the child’s development and understanding.
We work in line with parents and ask parents that they become involved with their child’s education at the centre. We do this through formal parent chats, usually arranged with your child’s caregiver at least twice a year and through open communication within the daily diary. Often with your involvement we are able to better meet the needs of your child. We promote learning and discovering together with the family, as learning is a never-ending process for everyone.
We encourage parents to view their child’s developmental records and portfolios, to add to these documents as well as the daily diary. We also provide every child with “My Space”, where the children are free to display their accomplishments to their family & friends within the service. Individual portfolios are not available to other parents as they are treated confidential.
This process is carried out daily and for each day that your child attends our centre. We have planned, prepared and evaluated individual experiences based on your child’s interests and abilities. At this time we have 5 primary caregiver groups with their own individual program.
Currently our early morning and late afternoon indoor/outdoor environments are designed to promote self discovery and curiosity. These environments cater for the varying abilities of the children and their individual interests. Therefore our whole program revolves around each and every child.
If you require further information about our centre’s programming methods please ask the staff to show this to you, or talk with the Director, or better still, why not come in and spend some time with us during the day for some hands on experience.
The management of Merrydays Kindergarten Society Inc. is maintained by a Management Committee of interested parties, in conjunction with the centre Director. An efficient and conscientious effort is made to run the centre within the regulations outlined by the NSW Department of Community Services.
The Management Committee meets monthly to discuss all issues relating to the service and the care of the attending children. Staff and family members are encouraged to attend these meetings.
The service hold's its Annual General Meeting in the first week of March each year. All members of Merrydays Kindergarten must attend this meeting. At this meeting the service elects a Management Committee, family members are encouraged to be involved in the running of the service by joining the Committee. As a Community Based Service we are required to have a Management Committee in order to receive our funding.
The positions on our Management Committee are vacated each year at the Annual General Meeting. Parents may nominate themselves or be nominated by others. The Director will give a brief account of each position and what this entails as per the service Management Committee Handbook. Each nominee will state why they would like the position and what they feel they can offer the service. Parents at this meeting have the opportunity to ask each nominee questions, before voting on the following positions.
Up to 5 committee members.
Once voting is complete and a new Management Committee decided upon, planning for the coming year commences and parents are invited to share their ideas for the service.
We are very fortunate to have a chef “Mr Fernando” working at our service and not are the meals nutritional and well balanced, but they taste delicious!! Meals are provided daily for each child, including vegetables, meat and diary products. During the hours of 9am and 3 pm your child will be offered the daily nutritional requirements of food. We also cater for vegetarian and fruit diets. Should your child at any time have any particular needs, please advise our Director and Chef. We are very flexible with our menu and appreciate any special recipes that your child enjoys at home and particularly cultural diverse recipes. Please talk with the Director about these.
We have an “Eat & Sleep” chart located in the parent room, which displays what was for lunch that day, how much your child ate and whether your child had a sleep during the day.
All of our foods are offered to each child and the staff join the children during the lunch period. No child is force fed; we offer gentle persuasion to at least try the food before you deny the food. It would be most appreciated if parents try this at home too. We encourage good eating habits and pleasant social interaction during mealtimes, this incorporates good manners.
Some children are allergic to certain foods, if this is the case for your child, please advise the Director as soon as possible. The service does not use nuts in any of the menus and refrains from using any nut products.
Children do like to celebrate special events with their friends at the service, on these occasions you may wish to bring in a cake, if this occurs please speak with the centre Director beforehand as they will advise you of what cakes are preferred and the amount required to feed 37 children. Please inform the Chef as this will require him to adjust the menu for that day. At present a plain slab cake from the Sara Lee Factory Outlet at Woodpark is the preferred supplier of cakes for celebration.
The children are required under the Children’s Services Regulations to take a rest period during the day, however some children require a sleep and others do not. At Merrydays we cater for both, and those who do not sleep are encouraged to have a short rest on their beds after which they then become involved in quiet activities while their peers are sleeping.
We request that parent refrain from sending toys at sleep time, they do cause arguments and anxiety, and if your child has a security toy we suggest that you speak with the centre Director on enrolment.
At present the service has many incursions rather than excursions. Parents are advised of incursions at least 2 weeks in advance with notes left in your child’s communication pocket and displayed through the service and in newsletters. Parents are asked to contribute towards the cost of these incursions. All incursions have educational messages within and these are explored by the staff and children.
On occasions the centre may go for a short walk within the local community as a learning experience or may go on a larger excursion, either way, all excursions are planned in advance and detailed permission notes are provided to all parents. Parents are encouraged to participate in these excursions and their help is always appreciated.
It is through your involvement with social functions that you have the opportunity to meet other parents and staff, and build some great friendships. Throughout the year there will be various functions for all members of your family to attend. Often these will be fundraising ventures at the centre and these are necessary to supplement the monies provided by the Government and to extend the equipment at the centre that your child uses.
Our Management Committee organises the functions and fundraising events, if you would like to assist or have any suggestions to put forward, please speak with the centre Director. Your support is always appreciated
- A school type bag that will fit into the locker box. ( no superhero bags permitted)
- A complete change of clothes is essential, whether or not your child has accidents; other situations arise where a change of clothes is needed such as messy play.
- Ensure that all belongings are labelled with your child’s name, including shoes & socks. Unlabelled clothing will be sent to St Vincent De Paul.
- Check your child’s locker and bag daily, notes and paintings may be placed there for your attention.
- Ensure that your child has a hat at the centre at all times. Each child has their own hat pocket to store their hat at the service. Our service does have a NO HAT = NO PLAY policy.
15 Burford Street
MERRYLANDS NSW 2160
Ph: 02 9637 5263
Please feel free to call us on the number/s above or enter your details in the form below and we will contact you as soon as possible.