Wellard: new early learning centre embraces Montessori and Reggio Emilia methods

An artist's impression of the new early learning centre.
An artist's impression of the new early learning centre.

MARAGON Early Learning Centres will open a state-of-the-art childcare and discovery centre in The Village at Wellard to children on Monday, November 21.

Centre director Erin Laing said Maragon Wellard would base its learning regime on Montessori and Reggio Emilia methods, which encourage children to develop independently at their own pace.

“It’s all child focussed,” she said.

“Montessori method sees the child mastering a skill before moving on to the next level or task; Reggio Emilia encourages children to teach themselves and each other.”

Ms Laing said the new centre was licensed for a maximum of 104 children.

The design allows for two nursery rooms (babies to two years old) two toddler rooms (two to three years old) and two separate junior kindergarten areas (three to five years old).

Each area is soundproofed.

“The kindergarten areas are in the circular part of the complex,” Ms Laing said.

“They have cubby-hole window boxes, so the children can climb in and sit and watch the world outside.

“The toddler areas both overlook the train station and railway line, so the kids can watch the trains come and go.”

Ms Laing says great care has been taken to provide the best opportunities to help developing children progress.

“The babies’ area has heated flooring, for example, so when the tots are learning to crawl, they won’t feel the cold through the floor,” she said.

There is also a communal space and discovery centre, with a fish tank in the wall and facilities for showing documentaries or holding cooking activities.

Each group has its own individual playgrounds.

“We’ll have rabbits and chickens, rainwater tanks, compost bins, vegie gardens for the children to plant and grow things,” Ms Laing said. “The space allocation is excellent.

“I can’t wait for it to open and I can show it to people.”

There are 25 enrolments and a further 180 expressions of interest from parents with one or more children.

“We’re very excited to be taking our first children,” Ms Laing said.

An official opening is planned a month or two after opening.

“This childcare centre is unique in Perth,” Ms Laing said.

Ms Laing said Maragon centres were based on a successful South African model, which the owners brought to Perth two-and-a-half years ago.

The centre will operate year round, including school holidays and Christmas, but will be closed on public holidays.

The centre will have a staff of 25, many of them qualified educators.