Catherine Yeulet

Three decades of change

WHEN Anne Morris started teaching kindy 30 years ago, music time was sitting around the piano or guitar singing nursery rhymes and learning-based songs like Alice the Camel.

While the songs have remained the same, the method of playing them has changed dramatically.

"The piano gave way to a record player and we just played songs off those big records, then cassette tapes came in and then CDs," Anne said.

"The other day we couldn't find our Alice the Camel CD so one of the younger girls looked it up on YouTube. We played an animated version to the kids and I just couldn't believe how different things are now."

But music time isn't the only thing that has changed in kindys over the past 30 years.

While kindy has always been an important step in getting your kids ready for school, it is now an integral part of their education.

Kindergartens across the state are offering government approved, teacher delivered, play-based learning programs that are designed to encourage your child's physical, social, intellectual, language and emotional abilities.

The program is delivered by a qualified early childhood teacher for at least 15 hours a week, 40 weeks per year.

One such teacher is Sue Clark who has also been teaching kindy for almost 30 years.

Over that time Sue has seen many changes in the schooling system, its governing and society but one thing has remained the same.

"The kids haven't changed," Sue said. "They still love going on a teddy bear's picnic, the only difference these days is that we (the teachers) need to prove an educational link to having a teddy bear's picnic."

In fact, teachers need to have an educational purpose behind all the fun and games that happen at kindy.

"While I think it still is a place for fun and friends, expectations on children to learn are much higher these days than 30 years ago," Sue said.

"When kids get to Prep they are expected to already know numbers and letters and we have had kids come back to kindy who just aren't prepared for the formality and structure of primary school."

But no matter what changes the kindy system goes through or what the teachers need to do, it will always be a magical environment for kids to create, imagine, play, grow, sing and dance.

"Last year all the kids would come in singing and rapping the Party Rock Anthem and I thought to myself, 'what happened to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'," Sue said.

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