Creating An ELC Experience With a Difference

Walk into an ELC classroom at Haileybury’s Berwick campus on any weekday morning and you never quite know what the young hands and curious minds will be discovering next.


Some of the school’s youngest students will be tapping their feet to music or learning their first basic notes and sounds during their specialist Music class.

Others will be putting on their art smocks and creating mini masterpieces using coloured paints, modelling clay and a range of other interesting materials. Some children will be in the Sports Hall or making the most of Haileybury’s open spaces and sports grounds to run, jump and race as part of their Physical Education lesson.

The ELC is a time to develop core skills and Haileybury’s ELC teachers draw on the national Early Years Learning Framework to shape the curriculum. The Framework’s vision is to help children develop a sense of identity, to feel connected and to contribute to their world, to have a strong sense of wellbeing, to be confident and involved learners, and to be effective communicators.

The ELC classes at Haileybury Early Learning Centres are the beginning of an exciting and rewarding journey where children are given new opportunities to explore, discover and grow together while developing their unique capabilities and a love for learning.

Learning experiences develop Language and Literacy skills, Numeracy, Science, Social Thinking and an understanding of Inclusion and Diversity. Child safety and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultural Perspectives are also core to the ELC.

Haileybury also intentionally makes space in the ELC years for five Specialist classes: Music, Library, Creative Arts, Physical Education and Movement. These classes are delivered in diverse and creative ways to engage young minds and inspire curiosity.

“Specialist classes enable children to move outside the walls of the ELC and enhance their connection to the wider school community, while] also providing tailored educational opportunities,” says Sara Hall, Head of Berwick ELC.


“Through specialist classes, children build relationships with Junior School teachers and students and explore the campus grounds such as the library, music room and sports hall.”

During this year’s Book Week, students dressed as their favourite book characters and took part in the ELC and Junior School Book Week Parade – a highly-anticipated event in the Haileybury community.

Recently, children explored the festival of Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Light, by taking part in a Bollywood dance workshop where they danced and discovered a new form of music. Children also extended their knowledge of Indian culture through Rangoli art and Diya painting.

In movement classes, children develop fundamental motor skills, enhancing coordination and balance. They learn spatial awareness, fostering a sense of their own bodies in relation to others and their surroundings. Additionally, these classes promote social skills through group activities, encouraging teamwork and cooperation.

“This term in PE and Movement the children have engaged in more complex group games that help strengthen their social and emotional understanding and resilience,” says Ms Hall.

“Library has seen the children engage in a sustainability focus. They have been discussing a variety of sustainable practices they are practising in the ELC and they’ve also been sharing information about things they do at home to support sustainability, too.

“Meanwhile, in Creative Arts our Reception and Pre-Prep children are exploring, sharing and strengthening their understanding of insects through different art and drama experiences.”

Recognising the depth and breadth of the curriculum and experiences available to the school’s youngest students, Haileybury’s ELCs have been recognised by the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority as exceeding National Quality Standards.

The National Quality Standard sets a high national benchmark for early childhood education and care and outside school hours care services

in Australia. It includes seven quality areas — educational program and practice, children’s health and safety, physical environment, staffing arrangements, relationships with children, collaborative partnerships with families and communities and governance and leadership.

Haileybury’s ELCs are consistently rated as exceeding National Quality Standards in each of these areas.

Providing young hands and minds with the kind of stimulation and curiosity inspired by specialist classes is an important part of the ELC journey at Haileybury’s Berwick campus.

“Specialist classes encourage children to have a targeted and tailored program that enables them to develop specific educational skills. It supports their positive transition into the Haileybury community and, more specifically, the Junior School,” says Ms Hall.

“The variety of specialist programs are specifically implemented to support each child’s overall health and wellbeing and to support children to develop a positive attitude about self, school and their engagement in their community.”

To discover more about Haileybury visit