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about us | Ada Mary Abeckett Children's Centre

about us

Centre History

Ada Mary A’Beckett was born in Norwood, Adelaide on 18 May 1872. She was educated at the Advanced School for Girls in Adelaide.

Between 1893 and 1900 Ada worked as a teacher at several different girls schools in the Melbourne and Geelong area as well as at the Working Men’s College. During part of this time she was also a student at the University of Melbourne, where she was awarded the Wyselaskie scholarship in natural science (biology) and the final honours scholarship in biology. She was Annie Grice Scholar in 1892-1893 and a founder of the Victorian Women Graduates’ Association. She graduated with a BSc (1895) and a MSc (1897).

Ada’s involvement in the kindergarten movement began in 1908 when she was elected a foundation president of the Free Kindergarten Union of Victoria. In 1916 Ada helped establish the Kindergarten Training College in Kew. Between 1920 and 1923 she helped develop the training course there for kindergarten teachers and lectured in physiology and hygiene. Ada was also the president of the Free Kindergarten Union of Victoria from 1919 to 1939; and the president of the Kindergarten Training Council from 1926 to 1939. In 1936 she founded the Australian Association for Pre-School Child Development.

The Ada Mary A’Beckett Children’s Centre has a long history and association with the City of Port Melbourne. Mrs. A’Beckett launched a huge fundraising effort, in order to start the kinder in its first site in Batman road, in 1949, the kinder moved to its present site in Cumberland Road, Garden City.

Sadly the kinder was completely destroyed by fire in March 1975 and for two years the kinder operated from the Chapel of the Seaman’s Mission in Beach Road.  It would not be long however until the new (and present) kinder was built and the children could return to their real home.

The 1990’s have seen more changes to the centre with the first change from Kindergarten to long day care occurring in February 1996. The centre closed again for a short period in 1998 only to reopen again to meet the community’s needs in August 1998.

In 2005 the under three yard was redeveloped  and upgraded with over $120,000 being spent in new surfacing, shade, planting and equipment being installed.

2007 saw a major, $1.6 million dollar redevelopment of the entire site which lasted over 18months. The building was doubled in size, so that the centre now offers 6 rooms for care of  118 children per day.

2009 the kinder yard, was also re developed, with the yard now offering a large grassed space, separate quiet time area and re designed sandpit.

2012 has seen the final stage of the preschool yard redevelopment with the installation of the creek bed.

Centre Structure
Ada Mary A’Beckett Children’s Centre is an incorporated body managed by the Management Committee, consisting of parent users, the Director, and a council representative.

The City of Port Phillip owns the building and grounds and the committee has an agreement with the council in order to manage the grounds of the centre

Parents receive information regarding the Constitution of the centre, and are obliged to be a financial member, paying dues annually, and attending the Annual General Meeting.

The centre being an incorporated body requires an association membership from every parent. Upon enrolment at the centre parents are given an association membership form, which they are required to complete and return.  All families are then asked to pay an annual subscription which fee is payable upon enrolment and then by the 28th of February each year. Families must be current association members to be eligible to use the centres childcare facilities. Families can also choose to maintain membership of the association after their children finish in care, as a connection to the community.



To be the early childhood service of choice amongst families within the City of Port Phillip, where all children experience holistic learning that is engaging and builds the foundation for success in life.


  • • At Ada Mary A’Beckett Children’s Centre Inc. we are committed to providing an environment that supports all members of the service to experience physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing
  • We are committed to providing the children and the families of our community with an environment in which they feel a sense of belonging.
  • • We work collaboratively with our community and offer effective teaching and learning strategies that reflect best practice.
  • • Our Service is committed to taking an active role in caring for its environment and contributing to a sustainable future. We will actively strive to embed sustainable practices through our service operations and programming; ensure all staff, educators and children are supported to become environmentally responsible and respectful carer’s of both our natural and physical environment.


The Community

  • We acknowledge the Yalukit William clan, the traditional land owners on which our centre stands.
  • We encourage educators, staff and families to be positive role models for healthy choices and lifestyles.
  • We offer a high quality educational service which engages in secure, respectful, professional and reciprocal relationships, promoting honesty, respect, care, and responsibility.
  • We value and acknowledge the diverse lifestyles of the families within the community.
  • We provide early childhood education that is universal in approach connecting mind, body and spirit. We offer an inclusive approach in guiding children towards self-discipline and cooperation so they can take their place in and contribute to the community.
  • We believe in developing strong partnerships and meaningful relationships with our communities. These are based on open mindedness, honest communication, and willingness to exchange ideas.
  • We are committed to collaborating with health, education and child development professionals within the wider community to ensure best outcomes for children and families.
  • We value and utilize our space, facilities and natural outdoor learning environments.
  • We take pride in our long standing place in the community (established 1942) and are proud of our founder, Ada Mary A’ Beckett 1872-1948 (teacher, kindergarten activist and philanthropist).

The Children

  • We acknowledge that children learn at their own pace and that learning is not always predictable and linear.
  • We have high expectations for every child and ensure that they experience success in their learning.
  • We endeavor to maximise opportunities for every child.
  • We provide learning opportunities and experiences within the educational program to enable children to gain knowledge and skills to take action to enhance health and wellbeing.
  • Our learning programs are guided by and reflect the Early Years Learning Framework and Victorian Early Years Learning and Developmental Framework.

The Family

  • We acknowledge that families may be related by birth, adoption or invitation and we actively seek to develop a relationship between all families and educators.
  • We respect every child’s first language and strive to incorporate home and cultural experiences acknowledging that cultural history shapes learning and development.
  • Families are given opportunities to share their culture, language and home experiences.
  • We work with families to support their child’s learning and development at home and in the community.
  • We encourage families to become involved with the Centre and welcome participation in daily activities, decisions, events, fundraising and committee of management.

The Educators

  • We employ professional educators who respect each other and work cooperatively as a team to provide a high quality curriculum for all children.
  • As educators we engage in reflective practice and critical reflection, continually seeking new ways to build our professional knowledge
  • We encourage positive, open and friendly interaction between educators, children the families and the wider community.
  • We see change as positive, an opportunity to grow and learn and we are committed to trying new things and encouraging alternative ideas and practices.
  • We build partnerships with local health professionals, services and the wider community to enhance health promotion capacity.
  • We actively listen to and encourage the children’s voices.
  • As educators we will be guided by the Australian Early Childhood Association code of ethics.
  • As educators we will support children to take on roles that use literacy and numeracy in their play. We will provide experiences that actively promote or initiate the investigation of ideas, complex concepts, thinking and reasoning to extend children’s learning.
  • As educators we will actively facilitate collaborative partnerships with local community groups, government agencies and private companies to enhance and support children’s learning about sustainable practices. We will promote a holistic, open ended curriculum which explores ideas and practices for environmental sustainability and helps children understand the interdependence between people and the environment.
  • As educators we are committed to the rights of all children to safety, health, education and play. We believe that as Early Childhood professionals, we have the responsibility to defend children’s rights.
  • We believe that educators make a large contribution to the culture of our Centre; we will work together to observe, reflect, plan, assess and learn. We will support each other in word and in action as we educate and care for the children of Ada Mary.
  • We believe that Early Childhood is a skilled profession and will encourage all staff to seek continuing education/qualifications.

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