What a busy start our Centre has had to 2020. It was fantastic to see families and staff return from their well-earned festive season break. Our team came together at the end of 2019 to plan for a very intentional direction for 2020. We welcomed the feedback from parents who wanted to see an intentional pathway for a pre-kindy program. In response, the Centre created a pre-kindy room and engaged the services of Ms Holly King as the pre-kindy educator. Holy has worked for the Centre in different capacities over many years. As she continues her educational journey to become an Early Childhood Teacher, her knowledge and experience are well suited for the role. We are so pleased to see the environmental changes and programs that Holly and her team have implemented to ensure that our children are developmentally ready for Kindy in 2021. Our Early Childhood Teacher Ms Jennifer Christenson will be with us until Mrs Natalie Ralph returns from maternity leave in June. With the excellent support that we receive from Mrs Joanne Gudgeon, Head of Early Learning, Jennifer continues to deliver high-quality Kindy programs that see our children engaged and thriving.
Creating engaging spaces is a focus for our Centre. Moving the fence line in Koorlongka (Kindy Room) allowed our children more space to explore nature and enjoy our beautiful summer weather. We also created a Sustainability role. Currently, Educator Gwen Laqere, who has a passion for the outdoors, creates programs for our children to understand the importance of looking after our environment. The gardening beds are full of fresh plants ready to harvest in spring. Tania Spiranovic had the unique opportunity to travel to Italy in January for an intensive study on “The Role of the Atelier” at Reggio Emilia. Her newly gained knowledge and life-changing experience was integral in the creation of the studio and re-invigorating our Reggio Emilia Approach. The Centre welcomed Mr Corey Marwick as our Atelierista. Corey has a degree in visual arts and is a qualified educator. Since the studio has been functioning, our children have experienced a whole new world of creation. The studio has provided hours of fun for all of our children. In this space, they have explored, light and shadows, abstract art, nature construction, weaving, project-based learning, sensory play and music. The experiences are endless.
Our families are kept up to date with what their children have been up to during the day through EDUCA. It is an excellent platform of exchange for Educators, Children and Parents. Learning journeys, photos, group stories are uploaded and can be viewed immediately by the families of our children. It is also a great way to see what our children have been up to over the weekend, or at home, as parents also have the options to post stories of their children.
In January 2020, our Leadership Team demonstrated an incredibly important commitment to creating a mentally healthy community. Our Centre registered to become a part of a BEYOU learning community. BEYOU is a national initiative for educators, aimed at promoting and protecting positive mental health in children and young people. The vision is for an education system in which every learning community is positive, inclusive and resilient, and where every child, young persons, staff member and family can achieve their best possible mental health. With the support of our BEYOU consultant Cristina Zollo, we now have formed an action team that is engaged and working together to build a mentally healthy learning community and create a mentally healthy generation in Australia. Based on the Pay it Forward concept that encompasses doing good deeds for everyone, we celebrated “Feel Good February” where each room performed random acts of kindness for our families. Lovely messages, coffee & tea bags (cups of kindness), bible verses, foot soaks and much more, were delivered out to our families. The feedback was heart-warming. We also held our First Morning Tea for Mental Health. We invited Laura Beacham from Close to my Heart, to facilitate a free card-making session. It was lovely to meet different members of our professional community who came together to have open conversations about the importance of Mental Health.
Our playgroup continues to thrive. We have officially recorded the highest number of playgroup members at this service. Term 1 attracted a regular attendance between 70 – 80 participants per week. Our spaces allow our playgroup to experience unique provocations and experiences. We are incredibly grateful for the support of our playgroup community and the importance of developing relationships with other families.
Due to the current social distancing laws, our Centre events have been postponed until further notice. However, once everything is back to normal, we look forward to our community celebrations.
Our leadership team would like to thank our Educators for their continued dedication to their profession. We are very blessed to come to work every day and work in this exceptional environment.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”