Nurturing the Malvern East community for over 70 years. Putting child safety first.

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! 
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 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 committed to:

  • actively supporting and facilitating participation and inclusion of Aboriginal children, young people and their families within our service
  • the safety, participation and empowerment of Aboriginal children
  • providing an educational program that strengthens Aboriginal children’s culture and identity
  • actively supporting and encouraging Aboriginal children to express their culture and enjoy their cultural rights
  • supporting Aboriginal children and their families to identify as Aboriginal without fear of retribution or questioning
  • supporting Aboriginal children to maintain connection to their kinship ties, land and country
  • supporting Aboriginal children to be taught their cultural heritage by Elders
  • facilitating regular training and education on Aboriginal cultural and cultural safety
  • establishing policies, procedures, systems and processes to create a culturally safe and inclusive environment and meet the needs of Aboriginal children, young people and their families

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:

  • 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.
  • We believe in promoting sustainability as part of our everyday practice.
  • 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

  • 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

Child Safety

Sunnyside kindergarten is committed to child safety. We support and respect all children, as well as our staff, families, volunteers and community. We are committed to the safety, participation and empowerment of all children. We have zero tolerance of child abuse, and all allegations and safety concerns will be treated very seriously and consistently with our policies and procedures. We have legal and moral obligations to contact authorities when we are worried about a child’s safety or wellbeing, which we follow thoroughly.

Our kindergarten has vigorous human resources and recruitment practices for all staff and volunteers to ensure all staff and volunteers participating in the programmes at Sunnyside Kindergarten share a strong commitment to child safety. Our kindergarten is committed to regularly training and educating our staff and volunteers on child abuse risks. We want children to be safe, happy and empowered.  

We strongly believe in empowering children in matters of body safety and regularly engage in conversations to educate the children. We are committed to the safety of all children, in particular the cultural safety of Aboriginal children; the cultural safety of children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds; and to providing a safe environment for children with a disability.  

We have specific policies, procedures and training in place that support our committee, staff and volunteers to achieve these commitments.  For a full copy of our Child Safety policy please visit the policies section of our website. If you are concerned about a child please call the local child protection unit on 1300 655 795, if after hours, call the After Hours Child Protection Emergency Service: 13 12 78. If you believe a child is at immediate risk of abuse phone 000.

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.”

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
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