From the Principal

Why Early Learning is a part of St Columba’s core business

Columba Cottage Early Learning Centre sits comfortably at the front of the St Columba campus.

The specially designed centre hosts children from six weeks to Kindergarten age and is testament to our School’s support for educational excellence.

For fifteen years the Centre has been a significant part in our School’s focus on creating a great school. We know that quality early education makes a significant positive difference in the lives of those children fortunate enough to participate in it. The research is clear:

  • “High quality early childhood education gives children the best start in life. It provides important opportunities to learn and develop. Early childhood education can help your child make friends, develop independence and learn new routines. It also supports their transition to school.” NSW Education.
  • Children who are exposed to at least one year of early childhood education are more likely to perform well in primary school. By boosting their cognitive development early, they are likely to reach higher levels of literacy and numeracy later in their education. Australian Early Development Census.
  • “Early childhood care and education (ECCE) is more than preparation for primary school. It aims at the holistic development of a child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs in order to build a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing. ECCE has the possibility to nurture caring, capable and responsible future citizens.” UNESCO
  • Quality early childhood education and care assists with healthy early childhood development, while supporting workforce participation of parents/caregivers. There is growing evidence that quality early childhood education and care gives children developmental opportunities and improves school readiness.  Children who arrive at school ‘ready’ are more likely to do well in future years. OECD 2017

At St Columba, education is about more than graduating with good exam marks.

It is about being a part of the evolution of a person from their earliest years until they graduate, prepared to not only be successful, but helping them to enrich the world in which they live.

We know children who participate in effective early learning programs (as opposed to child-care) tend to develop the skills such as socialisation, cooperation, enthusiasm for learning, respect for others, teamwork, resilience, concentration and patience.

And they do all this by having fun!

The play-based learning offered by the Cottage plays a significant role in not only preparing children for “big school,” but preparing them to lead “big” lives.

Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength.

Play is important to healthy brain development. It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them.

Through play-based education Cottage staff provide our youngest citizens with important social and emotional skills, such as the ability to develop positive relationships with peers. As children play together, they learn to get along with one another, cooperate, communicate effectively, problem solve and resolve conflicts.

Early education is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and as St Columba seeks to offer our children and young people a World of Opportunities, we could not resist the chance to create a Centre that offers such a great beginning for our lifelong learners.

Want to share your thoughts on this story, or do you have something you’d like to add? Email me at

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