A casual chat in the staff room about the different cultures and experiences the educators and staff bring to this service has led us to reflect on our understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture. On reflection, we all felt like we should be more knowledgeable about our indigenous cultures, and specifically those of our local land. To kick start a larger piece of improvement work around cultures, difference and inclusion we have started a Reconciliation Action Plan. As we navigate this process we will share updates with you, and ask for feedback from families and educators. If you are part of our community and either identify as Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander, or you have some knowledge you could share with us, please get in touch.

What Next: Develop a comprehensive RAP and share with families/community

Quality Area: 6.2.2

…Kind of…

Chloe has contributed a chapter to a book titled “Working Mums – Stories by real women on how they manage children, work and life”. Chloe was approached to contribute to this book after she experienced her ’15 minutes of fame’ after her Open Letter to Senator Leyonhjelm in response to his comments on ECEC went viral. In the chapter, Chloe talks about her experience as both a provider (owner/Director) and consumer (Mummy!) of Early Childhood Education and Care. The book is available for parents to borrow and flip through if they would like to. Hopefully some of the stories resonate or even inspire the families of our community.

Quality Areas: 6.1, 6.2.3

Our service is growing, and so Anna and Chloe have reflected on our staffing and rostering arrangements. We wanted to free up one of our permanent educators to float between rooms, offering a helping had during routine times during the day and allowing educators to program for their children. To facilitate that we have hired the wonderful Jade full-time to teach a group of older toddlers. We (children, families and staff!) are very lucky to have her join the My Story Community.

What Next: Roster mindfully to ensure children and families always have a familiar face at drop off and pick up.

Quality Areas: 7.1.5, 4.1.1

Anna and Chloe, together with Room Leaders and the Educational Leader have spent some time in meetings reflecting on our ability to support children with special needs. We believe that observation and documentation of children’s learning and development isn’t simply a regulatory obligation, it should be an opportunity to proactively assess the physical environment and educational program with a view to improving engagement for ALL children. To this end, we have begun liaising with the Inclusion Support Officers within the Inclusion Support program. Over the coming months we intend to consult and then embed changes in all quality areas so that ALL of the children in our community can thrive equitably.

What Next:Provide parents with Parent/Teacher evenings to discuss their child’s individual needs.

Quality Areas:6.1.3, 6.2.2

Since taking over the service Chloe and Anna have been wanting to ‘warm up’ the front foyer. We think it’s important for a child’s first impression of our centre to be one of wonder and warmth, rather that sterility or formality. Chloe was VERY excited about the prospect of donating her husband’s tree root to the centre. Although it is definitely a beautiful piece, it does take up quite a lot of living space in a 3 bedroom house! Van (Our cook) has assisted the children in propagating succulents to decorate the tree root. We hope that many children to come can experience a little bit of the magic of the natural world when they come into our space.

What Next: Involve the children in some herb and vegetable growing.

Quality Areas: 1.2.2, 3.3.2

 

As part of our continuing effort to improve the centre and meet the needs of our family, we sent out a new survey to families. In this survey we focussed on the expeditions families have of our educational practice documentation, and the improvements they would most like to see in the physical environment for the upcoming quarter. Anna, Chloe, Rick and Will have met to analyse the results and form a business plan for the months ahead. As always, we appreciate the feedback from families and feel excited to be collaborating in a meaningful way.

What Next: Inform families of the planned improvements. Provide consistent documentation of educational program and practice centre-wide.

Quality Areas: 1.1.4, 6.1.2

We wold like to improve the sustainability efforts at the My Story centre, and use our efforts as a teachable opportunity for the children. To start this process, we have introduced trolleys for each room that can accommodate the fresh food, a scrape bowl (so the children can scrape their scraps and take to a composting area), and face washers (to help the children to wipe their faces, instead of using disposable wet wipes).

The educators have really embraced this change and it is prompting a lot of conversations with the children about our environment, and the responsibilities we share.

What Next: Look into setting up a rainwater tank to effectively manage water run off and provide a sustainable water play area.

Quality Areas: 1.2.2, 3.3.1, 3.3.2

It is important to us that a child has a ‘best friend’ from day one of their experience at My Story. We want to improve the sense of security for our new children, and in fact, all children at the service. For this reason we have implemented a ‘primary caregiver’ philosophy.

Basically, each room will be divided into smaller groups depending on friendships, skills, interests and developmental age. The children will then have a ‘best friend’ educator who is responsible for learning all about that child, assisting them with sleeping/mealtimes/changing/observations etc. That educator will also be the first point of contact for families when they want to have a chat about their child’s day.

We are expecting that this system will foster a sincere sense of belonging in our community, and encourage children’s independence and initiative in their day-to-day lives.

What Next: Converse and Collaborate with families to strengthen their understanding of the Primary Educator system.

Quality Areas: 2.3.1, 4.1.1, 5.1.3

It is important to us at My Story that we are accessing established and new child development theory while planning our programs each week. In an effort to make this consultation visible to families and at the forefront of educators’ minds we worked together to create a summary of the Developmental Theorists that influence our Pedagogy. We then used this document to introduced new tags into StoryPark that correspond to these theories. We are looking forward to working alongside families to enrich our educational program.

What Next? Research cultural influences in child-raising practices.

Quality Areas: 1.2.3, 5.2.2

Stories and literacy is a part of childhood that holds a special place in the heart of Chloe and Anna. We would like to improve the children’s exposure to different types of books, including fiction, non-fiction, interactive, newspapers, manuals etc…
To this end, we purchased some new shelving and spend a few too many hours trying to put it together! Once together, Chloe was like a pig in mud sorting the books into their various categories, including those related to inclusion, other cultures, emotional development and science.
We have talked to our families about this project and asked for donations of second hand books that their children might have outgrown.

What Next: We will continue to find objects of cultural and scientific interest to place on the display sections.

Quality Areas: 1.2.2