​Early Learning Centre

“Even our youngest students at the beginning of their wonderful learning journey are given every opportunity to discover the benefits of a Westminster education.”

Our Early Learning Centre (ELC) accepts children from three years of age and offers a stimulating and fun environment that develops social, emotional, physical, spiritual and cognitive potential. We respect that children develop differently and encourage each student’s willingness to try new things that lead to new discoveries and connections. As ELC staff have access to the School’s extensive resources, technology, grounds and facilities, our ELC students develop lively and enquiring minds in a happy, stimulating, caring and secure environment.

The Westminster ELC is accredited as an approved child care provider which allows eligible families to access the Child Care Benefit (CCB) and Child Care Rebate (CCR). This means that our ELC offers its own early morning and late afternoon care either side of the structured Early Learning program, as well as vacation care. In line with the School’s excellent staff/student ratio and appreciating individual progress, the program also caters for grouping students who share a similar level of maturity and readiness for a particular task, each with their own qualified teacher and support staff. Food is provided during the day, which includes morning tea, lunch and afternoon snack. 

Specialist staff take our youngest students in key learning areas such as physical education, music and library to provide a brilliant start to their education. Our comprehensive Orientation process ensures a smooth transition between Early Learning and Preparatory School in either our mid-year intake into the Transition class or start of year intake into Reception. Orientation allows students to meet with Junior Primary teachers to become familiar with both the classroom environment and the many staff members who will be expertly guiding them through the next stage of their education.

It has been revealed in the media that nearly half of the nation's childcare centres have failed to meet strict new government quality standards. Westminster families will not be surprised to learn that according to independent assessors, our ELC surpasses the expectations placed on it by the National Quality Standard Assessment and Rating performed by the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority. Congratulations to ELC Coordinator Doctor Sue Farrent, and ELC staff Louise Brooks, Fiona Sprengel, Dana Campbell, Libby Page & Kathy Doe for running such a fantastic centre. Our overall rating was ‘Exceeding National Standards’.

Ages of Students

We cater for children aged three years and over who are ready from a social and independent toilet training perspective to spend time at pre-school.

Hours of Operation

The Early Learning Centre operates from 7.30 am to 6.00 pm. The ELC children may attend the program between these hours from Monday to Friday for 48 weeks of the year. The ELC closes for four weeks over the Christmas and New Year period.

Child Care Benefit and Family Tax Rebate

Westminster School ELC is an approved child care provider which means that Westminster families may be eligible for both the Child Care Benefit (CCB) and the Child Care Rebate (CCR) in relation to their costs for using our ELC. It is important to note that while the Child Care Benefit is based on family income, the Child Care Rebate is not income tested.

The Child Care Benefit is income tested and would be paid directly to the School to reduce the ELC fees charged to eligible families.

The Child Care Rebate is structured to help with covering the out-of-pocket costs of child care. The Rebate is not income tested and would cover up to 50 per cent of out-of-pocket ELC Long Day Care costs, up to $7,500 per child, per year.

It is the responsibility of the parent to register for the Child Care Rebate and the Child Care Benefit. information and forms can be accessed from the Family Assistance Office (through Centrelink) or families can call direct on 136 150. It is imperative that all families with children attending the ELC provide their Parent Reference Number, Birth Dates, and Child CRN to receive the rebate on fees.

Absences

The minimum booked attendance in the ELC is one full day per week. Students are allowed 42 absent days per financial year while still receiving their Government Benefit payments. Families exceeding the 42 absent days within any financial year will not receive their payments, once the 42 days have been used. Any absences due to sickness, where a doctor's certificate is supplied, will not be counted in the 42 'allowable absence' days provided per annual year. If your child is away due to sickness and you visit a doctor, please ask for a certificate and provide it to one of the ELC staff so that a record of medically approved days of leave is maintained.

Facilities

As the ELC is an important part of Westminster School, students have access to a wide range of appropriate facilities. These include the Haslam Library, the Forder Centre for sport, and visits to the School farm.

Meals

Students attending the Westminster ELC are provided with a nutritious snack, morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea as a part of their daily routine.

Staff

Westminster ELC works on a ratio of 1:10, meaning that for every 10 children there is a qualified staff member. Other Westminster specialist staff, such as our Music, Library and PE teachers, also support the learning program in various ways. This integration assists in making a smooth transition for children leaving the ELC and entering their first year of schooling.

Location

The Westminster Early Learning Centre is located securely within the grounds of Westminster School at Alison Avenue, Marion. It is a part of the Junior Primary area of our School, and parking within the School grounds is available for parents.

Uniform

The ELC uniform is the same as the Westminster Preparatory School sports uniform - a combination of shorts, shirt, tracksuit and rugby jacket all designed for children to be active, warm and comfortable. Children can continue to wear this uniform for sport once they start their schooling.

When to start school

Westminster appreciates the importance of starting school. The first year of full time school is called Reception.  Children who turn 5 years of age before the end of June are able to start in Reception at the beginning of Term One (late January).  Children who turn 5 years of age in the second half of the year are also catered for with our Transition class which runs for Terms 3 and 4.  This is a class for children of this age to help them get established in the routines of full time school before entering Reception the following year.  Our ELC and Junior Primary staff are more than happy to work with parents to determine the most appropriate time for their child to start school.