ekindy is a Queensland government funded Distance Ed kindy program run through BrisbaneSDE (Brisbane school of Distance Education). It is an ‘at home’ program that helps your child the year before Prep. It’s designed to help remote, sick or travelling children that cannot access a kindy program.
The first time I had heard about ekindy was off a Facebook travelling families group. The process to register is really simple and you must meet the eligibility criteria. There is a small fee for a resource kit and if you participate in online lessons then you need to pay for your data use.
Although the ekindy program is run through BrisbaneSDE and we chose a sub school, Longreach School of the Air. All the resources come from Brisbane but we have a teacher from Longreach. We choose Longreach as we had done their tour the year before and really liked that they had experience with travelling families.
At the start of the year, I received a USB stick with all the resources for the term, music CD, art pack and a book pack that is sent back each term. Not only do you get a USB of all the resources, you also receive a paper copy as well to refer back too.
How does the program work?
The program is set out for a 3 day week and approximately 5 hours a day. Like all new things, there were a couple of teething issues. The first term we were trying to find a travelling/school balance and where to store all the resources.
Each term there are two subjects to complete that is either about your child, your family, their home, investigating new things and creating works of art. This program is designed to get your child thinking about things close to home that they love. We also had the opportunity to complete online classes with our teacher in Longreach once a week. We love our on-air opportunity with the teacher. The girls love seeing the teacher, engaging with them, seeing different things on the screen and creating something with them. Whether it be creating something on the screen or listening to their instructions to create something with me. It was fantastic to see the girls light up with their teacher.
We received an “About our day” planner that just didn’t work for us. It’s designed to get your child to help plan the day of school. But being a travelling family we just couldn’t allocate a morning tea time, book time etc. We needed to fit the program into our lives as best as possible. So we used the “About our day planner” as a guide. We would discuss the plan for the day and inform both girls what we were going to do and see for that day. Book time is sometimes completed just before bed, music time was done in the car or before we started our drive for the day. Our play activities we try to incorporate through the day when we do bush walks or when we visit a park or beach etc.
At first finding the 5 hours, 3 days a week was a little difficult to do. But the great thing about this type of learning is that it can be done anywhere, anytime and you can use anything around you. As long as you understand the learning concept that is being taught, you can incorporate it into your everyday life.
The one negative we had with the ekindy program is that the girls couldn’t relate to some of the resources. From time to time they may refer to different things about a travelling child’s life but when you read the books with them the girls only see other children in the books on farms feeding cows, big backyards and things that aren’t their world at all. It would be really good if they could make things relatable for all children completing the program because if you are going to offer it to travelling kids then it would be great for them to see something in a book that could make them special as well.
Would I recommend the program?
The girls and I have enjoyed the ekindy program. It’s relaxed, supportive, fun learning for your child. It has set great learning foundations for our girls because of its play based learning. Completing the ekindy program has definitely helped my daughter with prepping her for the first big year of school. It helped with getting her familiar with a computer, more confident with counting/writing and getting her to sit down and concentrate on completing tasks. Not only has it helped my children it helped me as a parent/teacher learn to be more flexible with our lifestyle. It taught me to think outside the box that our children can learn more from our surroundings than from sitting at a table. I would definitely recommend the program to any family that is travelling and wanting to help prep their child for their first year of school.
Note: This post is about a personal experience we had with the ekindy program. If you would like more information about the program then feel free to contact BrisbaneSDE