The Piper Centre is a Preparatory programme for children aged 3 - 5 years located on The Illawarra Grammar School campus in Mangerton. Conveniently situated within 10 minutes of the Wollongong CBD, Hospital and University of Wollongong, The Piper Centre is a popular option for families.
The Piper Centre consists of five flexible learning spaces. Each age-grouped classroom has a full-time early childhood educator and a full-time early childhood qualified assistant. The Centre operates year-round from 7.30am - 5.30pm with a two week break over Christmas.
Each day is structured around a core learning time from 9.30am - 3.00pm during which all specialist lessons and intentional teaching occurs. This is supplemented by learning and discovery time outside these core hours. On arrival, children can engage in various learning experiences set-up by educators in our indoor or outdoor learning environments. This learning and discovery time allows parents to settle their children and engage with educators.
All children are expected to attend during the core learning hours of 9.30am - 3.00pm. Families can decide on arrival and departure times which best suit their needs within the operating hours of 7.30am - 5.30pm.
Approach to learning
Approach to Learning
TIGS has successfully implemented the world’s leading academic programme, the International Baccalaureate (IB), across all programmes from Preparatory to Year 12. This is an exciting approach to learning which allows students to understand the world around them with great depth, cultural understanding and an ability to think independently.
The Reggio Emilia Approach
In collaboration with the International Baccalaureate our learning environment is influenced strongly by the Reggio Emilia approach to education. This philosophy is inspired by the system of early years education in Reggio Emilia, a town in Northern Italy.
Reggio Emilia has become renowned for offering a system of education which respects children and their rights to be citizens. This system is recognised by many as the ‘world’s best practice’ in early childhood education.
Music and Movement
Music at the Piper Centre is considered a language of expressive capacity and potential. The specialist program aims to provide the foundation for children’s musicality through movement, music and storytelling. The use of voice, beat, melody and rhythm are the defining features of the program. The development of students’ musical literacy and their confidence to participate is of primary importance.
The Dance Play Grow program is more than just a dance class. Through engaging andprogressive dance skill and dance play activities the program recognises the importance of movement and play in growing healthy, happy children. The program introduces children to the magic of dance while supporting their physical, social, affective, creative and cognitive development.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM)
From their earliest years, children engage with the world in ways that can promote learning related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). They balance blocks to build a wall; bat at a mobile to make it spin; and push and pull magnets together and apart. Research shows that the earlier we guide and support children's wonder about the world - and there by identify opportunities for children to acquire foundational STEM skills - the more successful they are in all areas of learning lateron. Our STEM specialist will plan experiences and learning opportunities with a STEM focus.
At The Piper Centre, we believe that immersion and participation in the Arts connects people to culture, history and ideas. Through experience and practice in the Arts, our children are able to further articulate and express their understanding of their place within theworld
The aim of our Art specialist lessons is to provide all children with a broad-based Art program that supports them as they steadily and sequentially develop diverse skills in Art-making. Each term we build on children’s previous learning and introduce more advanced activities to develop their skills and knowledge. Art learning is centred around the understanding of the formal qualities of Art including the exploration of line, shape, colour and form. The program incorporates exploration of materials over a range of disciplines including drawing, painting, print making and sculpture.
Technology supports the curriculum and opport unities are provided for students to explore, create and reflect on their learning using a variety oftools.
Learning a Language Other Than English (LOTE) at the Piper Centre lays the foundation for further study of languages, fosters an appreciation of the role of language and a growing awareness and appreciation of different cultures. To maximise engagement with the target language and participation in the learning process, the children’s input and ideas are encouraged and valued. It is through play that the children learn the foundations of communicating in French – through greetings, games and the interactions of general classroom language, family, colours, numbers, days of the week, favourite pastimes, songs and stories, the seasons, nature, food and places.
The Piper Centre is located on the Illawarra Grammar School campus, within the Junior School. The Centre consists of three learning classrooms and an art studio. The children belong to one of the three classrooms, named using the Dharawal indigenous community language.
The Piper Centre offers endless possibilities for each child to play, explore, develop relationships and engage with life’s joys and complexities.
The Piper Centre employs five Early Childhood Educators and five Early Childhood Qualified Assistants each day. Each classroom group has a full time Early Childhood Educator and a full time Early Childhood Qualified Assistant. All our Early Childhood Educators are registered with NSW Educational Standards Authority (NESA).
Our philosophy is intent on embracing a range of experiences and various ways of constructing knowledge. Our specialists programs are run through term time and offer inspiration and opportunities for students and staff to learn and collaborate together as they express themselves through their 100 languages.
Our rooms, studios, outdoor spaces and resources are designed to support and promote each child’s love of learning. We understand the importance of being connected and feeling a strong sense of belonging to family, our setting and our School.
Cooinda – ‘The happy place’ 3 year old pre-prep classroom
Marana – ‘The stars’ 4 year old prep classroom
Elanora – ‘Home by the sea’ 4 year old prep classroom
Our staff recognise the importance of effective transition from the Piper Centre to the Junior School. The Early Years Educators and Junior School Teachers collaborate closely to ensure information about students is well understood, shared and valued. A transition to school statement on each child is developed and a hand over meeting is held at the end of each year. The focus is on respectful, reciprocal relationships between students, families and educators and the Transition Program is well planned and effectively evaluated. Knowing our students, understanding their strengths and their challenges enables us to provide optimum opportunities for individual children and ensures a successful and cohesive transition to Kindergarten.
Play and Intentional Teaching
Play and Intentional Teaching
At the Piper Centre we believe that the best possible program for our children to engage in is one that recognises the importance of play and intentional teaching.
Through play children can explore and reflect on interests and issues relevant to and meaningful in their lives. Play encourages exploration, risk taking, socialisation and engagement in learning.
Play provides opportunities for children to learn, as they discover, create, improvise and imagine.
Environments that are rich, varied and engaging enable our children to initiate their own learning through play. Through choice and opportunity children can express a sense of agency. Such inviting learning environments have been established through intentional planning to extend student learning. Students are encouraged to work both individually and collaboratively.
Intentional teaching involves educators using strategies that promote students’ thinking, builds on language through social contexts and extends knowledge and skills through challenging experiences.
Intentional teaching is deliberate, purposeful and thoughtful. (EYLF, p.15)
Meaningful curriculum is developed through a process of reflective practice. Reflective practice is responsive to the interests of the children and their families, builds on quality data and informs future planning. The thoughtful and well planned environments at the Piper Centre demonstrate the value of play in constructing knowledge independently and through guided experience and collaboration.