THE kids at the Italian Australian Child Care Centre are from countries as far flung as Norway, Canada, Japan, the US and of course…Italy.
And quite a few of the kids are second generation.
“Parents who were here as children are now bringing in their own children,” centre coordinator Assunta Martella says.
Child care is central, but a close second is learning Italian with fun “mat sessions” and language-based games and songs.
“It helps the English vocabulary because of its Latin roots…like fantastic and fantastico,” Martella says.
The child care centre was established in 1972 and offers a fully- accredited bilingual (Italian-English) service for children aged from eighteen months to six years old.
The kindergarten program is in line with the education department curriculum.
“We teach maths and science, about the environment, and handwriting,” Martella says.
A herb and vegetable garden makes lunch a learning experience too, with the affectionately-named cook Nonna Maria, gardening with the kids.
“I show them what we are going to eat today…which encourages more of them to eat,” she says.
Parents are stoked with the centre and the menu.
“Nonna Maria’s food is amazing and [my daughter] Lucia never stops talking about the pasta,” says mother of two students, Ms O’Toole.
“My family is Italian so the girls are learning Italian and this is an added bonus! Hearing them sing Ciao Buongiorno when they get home warms my heart!”
by JENNY D’ANGER