About
Sunnyside

Nurturing the Malvern East community for over 70 years.

Sunnyside Kindergarten has a long and proud history of nurturing local children.  Established in Malvern East since 1950, our kindergarten offers an immersive environment providing children with opportunities to explore, take risks, play and grow.

Our dedicated, nurturing educators are all highly qualified, collectively holding over four university degrees in Early Childhood Education, and ten diplomas and certificates in Early Childhood Education and Care. Between them, they have over 194 years of amazing teaching experience! 

Our philosophy
and beliefs

At Sunnyside Kindergarten,  we acknowledge the Boonwurrung people as the Traditional Owners of the land where we learn and play together. We respect and celebrate our Indigenous heritage. We are committed to providing a child safe environment, where children are safe and feel safe. We provide and promote the cultural safety of Aboriginal children, and children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, as well as the safety of children with a disability.

We are inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach that encourages us to see children as capable, confident and co-constructive learners.  We are committed to helping each child develop valuable life skills and a passion for learning.  We pride ourselves on building strong and trusting relationships with all families and the wider community. 

Our philosophy is grounded in the following set of beliefs:

Connection
  • We believe in connecting children with their ability to create and express themselves.
  • We believe in developing a community of critical thinkers with children making connections with their natural environment.
  • We believe our rhythms and interactions with the children empower them with the skills to solve problems, resolve social conflicts and build the foundations for lasting relationships.
Individual and Self-Guided learning
  • We believe that learning comes most naturally when driven by the children’s interests.
  • We believe in careful observation and assessment of each child’s individual interests, needs and learning styles and use this information to guide our teaching.
Sustainability
  • We believe in promoting sustainability as part of our everyday practice.
Respect
  • We believe that families are respected as their child’s first teachers. We value collaborative learning practice that encompasses shared decision making and active participation and welcome family involvement.
  • We believe that all children, families, educators and the Committee have the right to be respected. We promote acceptance and respect for each other’s’ different skills, abilities and cultures
Accessibility
  • We believe that all children deserve to access and participate in all parts of the kindergarten program with other children.
A girl stirring tomatoes in a bowlA smiling child jumping in a muddy puddleA child hammering a nail in to a piece of woodA girl facing the camera throwing leaves in to the airA teacher handing child some sushiTwo young girls digging in the mud

Our History

Sunnyside enjoys a long history and we are fortunate that over the years the kinder has had many generous and dedicated staff document a lot of the journey.

In his preface to Sunnyside’s History from 1945-1968, President LG Stubbings (55-57) writes “A kinder is a transient stage but nevertheless, it is a most important one. At kinder most children learn for the first time that the world is a bigger place than just Mum, Dad and their own backyard. They learn for the first time some of the values of life – the art of sharing, the art of self-discipline and the art of self-reliance. The modern kindergarten is a valuable adjunct to our community life. The childhood shows the adult, as morning shows the day.”

1945
1953
1954
1958
1958
1959
1968
1969
1974
1980
1989
2006
2014
2021
The Early Years
The Opening
Mr and Mrs James Reid, residents of Thornbury Crescent open a Sunnyside Preschool at their own home, enrolling 15 children.
An old photo of the first Sunnyside Class
Sunnyside Newsletter
Making News
Fundraising at Sunnyside begins, and the first ‘Sunnyside Scene’ newsletter is distributed.
Sunnyside Scene Paper Newsletters
Finding Home
New Beginnings
Sunnyside’s new and final address off Belgrade Rd in Malvern East is confirmed.
An exterior view of Sunnyside Kindergarten showing the garden and large trees in front of the building
A New Building
Our New Home
The new Sunnyside building is officially opened. Pioneering President Mr L.G Stubbings welcomes a large crowd from the Sunnyside community and Mayor of Malvern Cr A.B Morgan, unveiled a plaque still in the entrance hall of the building.
A black and white photo of the the outside of the first Sunnyside Building
Changing Times
New Leadership
After beginning her teaching years at Sunnyside in 1953, Margaret Anderson is appointed Director, where she remained for over 30 years. One of her great legacies being the outstanding outdoor area that was cultivated over many years with many children and largely guided by her nature study interest.
The Sunnyside Yard in the morning sun
Learning Evolution
New Ways to Learn
Organisation of the kinder program continues to evolve based on research showing the value of children’s play. Now the emphasis is on long, uninterrupted periods of play that can span both indoors and outdoors.
A newspaper article and old photo of a vintage car with children playing in it
Acknowledging Country
A Happy Place
The lane to Sunnyside is named Cooinda Place, an Aboriginal derivative meaning “a happy place”.
A class of students posing in 3 rows in the garden
Our Identity
A New Look for Sunnyside
Jan Baird designs Sunnyside’s current “sun” logo.
Drawing of the Sunnyside Sun logo
Loved Legacy
Service Honoured
Betty Gale retires from her role of Assistant Director, after 29 years of service.
Pencils in a clear glass jar, sitting on a shelf. Plants are seen in the background.
Change for Good
Recognising Children's Rights
The United Nations Convention on the rights of the child (UNCRC) was signed and immediately implemented at Sunnyside.
A girl facing the camera throwing leaves in to the air
A New Philosophy
Reggio Emilia Inspired
After a Sunnyside teacher encounters the practice and the benefits first-hand in Italy, Reggio Emilia is embedded as Sunnyside’s guiding philosophy.
Old newspaper clippings of children eating and cooking
Renovations
A New Space to Thrive
Official opening of extensive renovations of the building. Our new facilities excite and inspire our children.
Children playing in the sandpit
New Program
Learning Japanese Culture
Early language learning Australia Pilot programme for  “Japanese “introduced into 4 year old curriculum.
A teacher handing child some sushi
New Program
Embracing Our Heritage
Development of Indigenous Garden commenced in 2021, and the Sunnyside yarning circle was created.
A girl in a pink jumper clapping

A Reggio Emilia inspired approach

Inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to childhood development, our programs and interactions are focused around the belief that children are capable, confident and co-constructive learners.

Learn More

Meet our wonderful educators

Our educators come from a diverse range of backgrounds, but share a passion and dedication to bringing the best out of children. Working in small groups, our educators bring different personalities and skills together to provide your children with a fun and enjoyable experience.

Meet the Team
A teacher reading a book on the floor surrounded by three children