The youngsters at Federation Children's Centre were a little bemused when groups of adults came to visit on Thursday, but most kept on playing and before long the grown-ups joined in.
At four years old, play is one of the most important aspects of their lives and setting them up for success in formal education when they get older.
Learning through play is one of the pillars of a new state government Kinder Tick program which will give parents reassurance they are choosing a quality kindergarten for their children.
To receive the tick, kindergarten services must be led by a qualified teacher, provide a play-based learning program, and be funded by the Victorian Government.
Among the adults visiting Federation Children's Centre was Victorian Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt, who launched the statewide initiative, accompanied by local MPs Julianna Addison and Michaela Settle.
"All the research shows that ... two years of play based learning before a child goes to school is really critical and sets children up for life," Ms Stitt said.
"What we want to see is, with the introduction of three-year-old kinder on top of a very strong four-year-old program means we get children entering the school system who are really well equipped to deal with the school setting and it gives them the skills they need for a life-long learning experience."
Federation Children's Centre is one of around 2600 early childhood education services across the state that will now display and use the Kinder Tick.
Ms Stitt said it was a huge decision for families in deciding where to send their children for the critical kindergarten years and the Kinder Tick would help make it easier.
"When parents make a decision where to send their children to kinder they can be sure if they see the Kinder Tick displayed that what it means is the child care centre or sessional kinder centre has a teacher-led, well-planned play-based learning approach and that the centre is funded by the Victorian Government to deliver four-year-old kinder and, come next year, every kinder service in the state will be providing funded three-year-old kinder as well," she said.
IN OTHER NEWS
Sally Matthews, coordinator of Federation Children's Services, said the tick would "improve parent's ability to choose what is right for their child and the setting that works best for their family".
"We are really proud of the kinder program we have ... there's a lot of background to it, our dedicated educators put in hours and hours and it's lovely to have this recognition (tick) for them to families can see what is going on, the work that goes in to training and what they do every day with our children."
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