Centred on children’s innate curiosity, St Catherine’s School’s Early Learning Centre has a strong educational program that fosters life-long learners, exceeds the national quality standard and is recognised as one of Melbourne’s leading ELCs.

Play Learn Grow

Committed to excellence in early childhood education and care, St Catherine’s Early Learning Centre provides an outstanding environment for your child to play, learn and grow and develop the comprehensive fundamentals to commence school.

Our highly qualified and professional educators create a vibrant learning environment that offers every child the best possible start to their schooling years.

Every student’s education is tailored with individual planning and created in strong partnership between educators and parents. Using inquiry and nature-based pedagogy, inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, the educational programs embrace children’s natural curiosity. Excursions and incursions expose children to educational experts and experiences supporting the in-class learnings.

In addition to the strong educational classroom program, our ELC program is enriched with a range of specialist programs including:

  • Perceptual Motor Skills Program (PMP)
  • Music
  • Library, offered within the Junior School Library and Resource Centre
  • French (4 Year–Old)
  • Four Leaf Clover Program (friendship program with Year 4 and 4 Year-Old students building trust, confidence and friendships)
    *specialist programs depend upon your child’s days of attendance.

The educational environment at St Catherine’s encourages children to wonder, to imagine, to explore, to investigate, to create and to belong. Enjoying the play-based experiences interwoven through each day enables your child to flourish and to develop a love of learning.

Attend an Open Morning or Personal Tour

To learn more about our ELC we welcome you to attend our ELC Discovery Morning or book a personal tour. Discovery mornings are the perfect opportunity to find out more about our ELC program. Our beautifully designed indoor and outdoor learning spaces inspire children to wonder, question, discover and create.

We are transforming our School Tours during the current COVID-19 situation to ensure you have the opportunity to continue to explore our ELC safely. The wellbeing of our community is our highest priority and we will continue to exercise an abundance of caution, taking proactive measures to ensure the health of our community and visitors.

Our whole of School Open Mornings are also delivered throughout the year and offer an opportunity to tour of our ELC guided by our Head of ELC, as well as an opportunity to meet the Principal and other key staff members.

Take a Tour

Alternatively, we also offer personal tours at times convenient for you. Book a personalised tour online or contact our Registrar who can answer your questions.

Our ELC Facilities

Our ELC is operated in Campbell House: The llhan Family Centre, which is a historic yet state-of-the-art learning environment for three to five year-old boys and girls. Our beautifully designed learning spaces inspire children to wonder, question, discover, imagine and create.

Our newly refurbished indoor and outdoor learning spaces inspire children to wonder, question, discover and create. The educational environment at St Catherine’s encourages children enjoy a program designed around play-based experiences that are interwoven to enable your child to flourish and to develop a love of learning.

Our young learners have access to an outstanding learning environment and are only a short walk away from our exceptional Junior School and Senior School facilities. The ELC takes advantage of the Senior School campus Gymnasium for the Perceptual Motor Program and the Junior School Library and Resources Centre for the classes’ weekly Library visits.

The St Catherine’s ELC is a place for every child to belong, grow and build life-long learning habits.

Our ELC Educators

Our educators recognise and respond to the unique qualities of every child. Collectively they become co-learners with the children, families and the community. Educators are also responsive to children’s questions and ideas and develop ongoing projects based on their interests, stimulate their thinking and enrich their learning. Learn more about our educators here.

Exceeding National Quality Standards

St Catherine’s ELC was one of the first early learning centres to be assessed and rated by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) as ‘Exceeding National Quality Standard’ in 2013.

Our ELC has continued to receive an outstanding report in regards to all seven areas of the National Quality Standards in 2016, which apply to all early learning centres, kindergartens and childcare pre-schools within Australia.

Our Philosophy

Every child at St Catherine’s Early Learning Centre has the right to exceptional education and care. We value and respect all children and foster a love of learning. We believe that each child is capable and competent. A sense of wonder and curiosity is fostered in each child through creating opportunities to play, explore, investigate, discover and be active participants in their learning.

Relationships are integral to creating a sense of belonging within the Campbell House community. Relationships with others build a child’s sense of belonging and identity. We acknowledge that children firstly belong to their families and bring with them their own history and culture to share with other children, families and educators. Respect for diversity is promoted within our community.

Much care and consideration is given to the learning environments, both indoor and outdoor, to provoke and inspire everyday encounters. Importance is placed on the beauty and aesthetic of the learning spaces, materials and experiences. There is a commitment to the natural environment whereby children form an appreciation of and connection with the world around them. Children are encouraged to develop sustainable practices and become informed citizens of the world.

We consider parents to be our partners in their child’s learning and development and are welcomed participants in the early learning programs. Together, children, families and educators form our community and work together to provide the best possible learning opportunities for the children. 

Educators recognise and respond to the unique qualities of every child. Together we become co-learners with the children, families and the community. Educators are also responsive to children’s ideas and play to develop ongoing projects, stimulate their thinking and enrich their learning.

The Reggio Emilia Approach

Underpinning our philosophy is an image of the child as being competent, full of possibilities and a protagonist in his/her own learning. In educational terms the northern Italian town of Reggio Emilia has firmly established a worldwide reputation for forward thinking and excellence in its approach to early childhood education. It is distinguished by a deeply embedded commitment to the role of research in learning and teaching. It is an approach where the expressive arts play a central role in learning and where a unique reciprocal learning relationship exists between teacher and child. Beautiful environments and materials welcome the children to learn. Children create their own knowledge through exploration, using the many ‘languages’ of childhood: painting, drawing, music, sculpture, construction, words and many more. Creativity and learning are considered parts of the same process.

Belonging, Being & Becoming – The Early Years Learning Framework

The aim of The Early Years Learning Framework is to extend and enrich children’s learning from birth to five years and through the transition to school. The Framework draws on conclusive international evidence that early childhood is a vital period in children’s learning and development. The Framework forms the foundation for ensuring that children in all early childhood education and care settings experience quality teaching and learning. It has a specific emphasis on play-based learning and recognises the importance of communication and language (including early literacy and numeracy) and social and emotional development. The Framework has been designed for use by early childhood educators working in partnership with families, children’s first and most influential educators.

Fundamental to the Framework is a view of children’s lives as characterised by belonging, being and becoming. From before birth children are connected to family, community, culture and place. Their earliest development and learning takes place through these relationships, particularly within families, who are children’s first and most influential educators. As children participate in everyday life, they develop interests and construct their own identities and understandings of the world.

Hours of Operation

St Catherine’s ELC operates five days per week, Monday to Friday, between the hours of 8.45am and 3.00pm.

ELC Room


Days of operation

Banksia Room 4yo Monday to Friday
Wattle Room 4yo Monday to Friday
Blue Gum Room  3yo Monday, Tuesday Thursday
(Children attend three days per week)
Waratah Room 3yo

Children attend either five days or three days:

Monday to Friday; OR
Monday, Wednesday, Friday; OR
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday; OR
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday


Out of School Hours Care

Out of School Hours Care is provided by After the Bell  and is available from 7.00am until the commencement of the ELC program at 8.45am. This service is also available in the afternoons from 3.00pm until 6.00pm. The Out of School Hours Care Program operates within the ELC building.



Our ELC is licensed to provide education and care to children from three years of age. Children commencing in the 3 Year Old program at St Catherine’s ELC must have turned three years of age by January 31 in their year of attendance. Our ELC Enrolment Policy outlines the criteria for enrolment, the process to be followed when enrolling a child, and the basis on which places within the program will be allocated.

All children will attend an interview with the Head of ELC prior to their commencement. Children attending the 3 Year Old programs can attend either three days per week or five days per week. Children attending the 4 Year Old programs all attend five days per week.

To enrol your child in our ELC please complete the Application for Enrolment or contact our Admissions Office on (03) 9828 3917 or email admissions@stcatherines.net.au