About Carinya

Blue Mountains Welcome by Karen Maber
Carinya Neighbourhood Children’s Centre Inc. aims to provide a homelike atmosphere within a caring and stimulating environment, focusing on each child’s individual needs, with particular consideration for the interest and aptitudes of each child, one that supports families to achieve their expectations of high quality care and education.  In 2019 the National Quality Standard rated the centre with an overall Rating of Meeting which shows how we are meeting the high expectations in all Quality Areas. We were also proud to receive Exceeding in Quality Area 6 – Partnerships with Communities and Families.

Carinya provides an environment that is safe, where children are valued and cared for, one that encourages them to have fun by exploring, discovering and experiencing their world and recognizing each child as a unique individual, with a right to grow with a positive self image.

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Food at Carinya

Meals and snacks are an important part of the Carinya day. The children eat healthy and tasty food and drinks to fuel their play, learning and physical growth.

All meals are prepared onsite by our qualified Cook and follow the current Australian Dietary Guidelines published by the National Health and Medical Research Council. This means we

  • eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruit;
  • keep sugar and salt to minimal levels;
  • choose mostly wholegrain breads and cereals;
  • enjoy low fat cheese and yogurt and drink whole fresh milk (calcium fortified soy for those who cannot tolerate dairy);
  • eat lean meats, poultry, fish and legumes.

In addition to these guidelines we choose to avoid all artificial colours and flavours as well as MSG.

We serve filtered water with lunch. On vegetarian meal days we serve other iron rich foods (eg milo, dried fruit or wholemeal breads/cereals). We drink milk at snack times.

We cater for food allergies and intolerances and work together with families to produce an Allergy Management Plan that includes foods to be avoided/included. In order to protect those children in our care with anaphylactic food allergies we ask that families send no food with their children to Carinya and that only water be sent in their drink bottles.

We respect all religious, cultural and family traditions, including those that influence how or what we eat.


Mealtimes at Carinya

IMG_8880When the children sit together at tables with friends and educators there are opportunities for fabulous conversations and for learning age appropriate table manners. Children are encouraged to try new foods, and are often more adventurous at Carinya than at home. Children are never pressured into eating something they dislike and alternatives are always offered in cases of food refusal.

All ages of children participate in cooking and food related activities. These activities may include making play dough, preparing mini pizzas, making breads, cakes and muffins, blending smoothies, making salads, using fruits and veges in artwork and the old favourite, setting up shops! We save boxes and jars so the children can set up realistic shops and let them use the green shopping bags.

As part of our whole centre commitment to sustainable practices we save kitchen scraps for both our compost and worm farm. We use recyclable shopping bags, choose products with minimal packaging where possible and opt for earth friendly detergents and cleaners.

We choose products that support Australian farmers and manufacturers wherever possible. We use only free range eggs.


Birthdays at Carinya

birthdayTo celebrate each child’s birthday our Cook makes a cupcake for the birthday person which is decorated with candles to blow while everyone sings. We use party hats/birthday crowns and the older children share a bag of natural lollies with their friends. This usually happens at afternoon tea time and staff photograph and document the special event for your child’s portfolio.

Please remember to tell us about your family’s special birthday traditions or let us know if you would prefer that we celebrate in a different way.


Centre Philosophy

The Educators, Parent Management Committee and all other members of Carinya, respectfully acknowledge the past and present traditional custodians of this land, the Durag and Gundungurra people and pay our respects as the traditional custodians of this land.

We at Carinya Neighbourhood Children’s Centre Inc. value early childhood education as a crucial foundation towards lifelong learning. Through partnerships with our families and input from our children, we strive to provide education and care with a broad scope of learning opportunities and extend upon valuable skills that will support them throughout their lives. Carinya means ‘happy place’ and we pride ourselves on providing just that, a homelike environment that nurtures young learners to become their best.


We believe that each child in our care is a unique individual. Therefore, through our communal programs, we aim to enhance children’s current skills and development as well as extend upon new skills. Each room observes, reflects, plans/programs and implements provisions which aim to scaffold learning and growth. Our programs focus on strengthening children’s interests, ideas, culture and abilities as well as challenge their thinking by allowing them to take part in the decision making process about their day and the things that influence their world. Program information is also readily available to our families.

Our educational planning reflects a ‘play based learning’ curriculum and adheres to the guidelines set out by ACECQA, National Quality Standards and the Early Years Learning Framework, taking into account the developmental level of each child. Alongside our daily programs, we aim to embed child-directed learning, whereby each child’s sense of agency is promoted and welcomed.

Together with families we respectfully value the children as confident and capable learners. Therefore, we continually develop positive partnerships with our families where we collaborate and share in the decision making that best supports learning and well-being for their children. Our effective partnerships with families allow us to offer support with relevant community services to assist families, which in turn enhances children’s inclusion, education and well-being.
Furthermore, our strong link to our community allows us to provide our children with invaluable opportunities, experiences and learning, all within a communal context. Visits to local amenities allow for the children to develop a sense of belonging to place, as well as being able to grow via social interactions, engagements of self-discovery as well as extending on their sense of identity and how they influence the world in which they live.

Children’s health and emotional well-being are supported in a variety of ways within our service. Our Menu is designed by our cook who passionately creates healthy cuisines that strongly resemble and celebrate the authentic flavours of diverse cultures as well as being respectful of preferences, allergies and intolerances. Alongside healthy and diverse meals, our children engage in a balance of intense gross­ motor activities and deep relaxation which stem from educator’s values in physical and emotional well-being. Our physical environment and large outdoor spaces promote an inclusive aspect by engaging children to competently explore in quality explorations of both built environments and naturally challenging ones. In our day to day practices, we foster opportunities for children to practice being environmentally responsible and to extend these important practices into their homes and into the wider community, allowing for learning to be holistic and meaningful, embedding a sustainable mindset for life.

At Springwood Foundation Day, marching as the Very Hungry Caterpillar!

At Foundation Day 2014, marching as the Very Hungry Caterpill


We the staff pride ourselves on our positive, trusting and respectful relationships with our children. Our ability to build a rapport with the children allows us to confidently scaffold on children’s collaborative learning and socialisation, which we believe is an important lifelong skill to attain. Children at Carinya experience the continuity of educators as it is our belief that when children feel safe and secure, they feel supported and confident within

themselves and will strive to be their best and explore their environment without hindrance. Staff continually attend professional development courses to build upon their own knowledge and skills which in the past has assisted our ability to successfully support children to regulate their behaviours and to respond to their peers in a manner which practices effective conflict resolution.

Our service has an allocated WHS Officer to ensure children are always protected from harm or any hazards. A sustainability officer ensures children are supported to become environmentally responsible. Educators plan experiences and activities that recognise environmental concepts such as recycling, tree planting, gardening, water conservation, up-cycling and re-purposing.

Carinya is committed to enhancing the knowledge and understanding of all of the children in our care the history, heritage and culture of Aboriginal Australia. We also take into consideration the cultural, socioeconomic situations, disabilities or any other differences of individuals that come into contact with the centre. Each child at Carinya has the right to be given the same opportunities as every other child, regardless of gender, race, religion, physical ability or aptitude.

Management supports Educators and families by providing opportunities to add input to the ongoing reflective Quality Improvement Plan located at the heart of our centre, which empowers families and Educators as valued investors of children’s learning.