THE new year has meant new beginnings for many of the youngsters who attend Leeton's Goodstart Early Learning Centre, but especially for those who are in the final year with the organisation.
As these young learners spend their final 12 months with the centre before heading off to "big school", their education continues to be a big focus.
Goodstart Early Learning Centre does this in many ways, including through consistent care of the youngsters in Leeton.
The centre closes only on public holidays, so that means the transition is easy for attendees during periods such as Christmas and New Years, as well as making life a little easier for parents.
"Our new year has started off as smoothly as any other as children transition into their new rooms, new children start, and we settle in for another fantastic year," centre director Sam Gray said.
"We are fortunate enough to have a trained and qualified early childhood teacher as the room leader of our preschool two room, who has been working in the early childhood sector for 15 years.
"Our early childhood teacher uses her skills and knowledge to implement the best practices and experiences that prepare children for school."
The centre has also a school readiness program that is developed to ensure each child has a strong sense of self, they are able to regulate their emotions and build on their social skills and independence while learning the foundations of literacy and numeracy skills needed for a successful start to their school education.
This begins in nursery (0 to two years), throughout their toddler education (two to three years) and then into the preschool years.
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All of the curriculums are delivered by qualified educators.
However, Mrs Gray said there likely still remained some misconceptions in the community about the role of a childcare centre in today's day and age, especially given it does much more than its name suggests.
"It's not just a 'babysitting service'," she said.
"Our school readiness program prepares children with the tools they need to embrace school life and the situations that come with 'big school' such as making and maintaining friendships, literacy and numeracy learning and problem-solving skills.
"Early childhood education and care is hardly about baby-sitting.
"It is a system of qualified and passionate educators who provide high-quality care and education for children, utilising the input from the community, families and children to create an enriching and meaningful learning program for each stage of development."