St Margaret’s Pre-Prep has been rated Exceeding National Quality Standard under the National Quality Framework (NQF).
The National Quality Standard sets a high national benchmark for early childhood education and care services in Australia and services are assessed and rated by their regulatory authority against the NQS and given a rating in seven quality areas and an overall rating based on these results.
St Margaret’s Head of Primary Angela Drysdale said: “We are very proud to receive this rating across all seven quality areas that are important outcomes for children.
“When it comes to the early years of learning, parents want to ensure their children are in the best environment with optimal opportunities for learning. For parents, this rating provides complete confidence that their child really is getting the best start to their education at St Margaret’s through an experience that not only meets but exceeds all national benchmarks,” Mrs Drysdale said.
St Margaret’s Pre-Prep program was recognised for strengths including educational practice that enhances children’s learning and growth, its social and emotional wellbeing program and the respectful relationships between children and educators.
Pre-Prep teacher Belinda Knowles said: “At St Margaret’s, we recognise the importance of a strong foundation in literacy and numeracy in the early years. In Pre-Prep, our literacy and numeracy learning is delivered through a balance of hands-on learning experiences, cultivated from the children’s interests, and intentional teaching. Families support this delivery, and it contributes to each child’s success in their foundation year of schooling.
“Nurturing a safe culture of care and support is of great importance at St Margaret’s and it is testament to this tenant that the Pre-Prep wellbeing program was identified as a key strength”.
To support the emotional and social development of the school’s youngest learners, Belinda introduced the use of Kimochis, learning tools that assist children in managing difficult feelings and challenging behaviours.
“Four- and five-year-olds find it very difficult to be able to express their big feelings and the Kimochi learning tools help them learn how to identify and articulate their feelings which in turn helps them to develop positive social and communication skills.
“We introduced the students to the eight Kimochi characters, each of whom comes with its own name and personality traits, and the mixed bag of feelings including happy, mad, sad, brave, disappointed, embarrassed, scared, etc. While the program is primarily focused on social emotional development, it does have the added benefit of expanding students’ vocabulary which in turn supports their literacy development,” Belinda said.
A dedicated Kimochi room provides the children with a safe, quiet, dimly lit retreat where they can sit, draw, engage with the listening station and interact with the Kimochi characters and feelings.
Belinda says the program was also introduced to families who were seeking tips on supporting their child with their emotions in the context of home.
“We are committed to working in partnership with our families and so we introduced the Kimochis to Pre-Prep parents as a tool they can use at home to support their child, helping to make it more consistent for the children as well,” Belinda said.
St Margaret’s Pre-Prep program was also recognised for the depth of the context and concepts within the curriculum and its personalised approach to teaching and learning as well as the children’s access to the big school’s facilities and specialist teachers, offerings quite unique to St Margaret’s Pre-Prep program.
The Prep transition program was also highlighted as a key strength with all 19 girls of the 2022 cohort moving up to St Margaret’s Prep.
St Margaret’s Pre-Prep is a co-educational, five-day program that engages and extends students through problem solving, exploration, creativity and hypothesising.