Getting great feedback from parents is so heartwarming for a child care centre, and quotes like this tell us a lot about what a centre is like.
‘When I walk into the centre I’m happy. It’s family-friendly, my children are welcomed, the staff are lovely, everyone communicates. It’s a really inviting centre.’ - Danielle, parent.
Feeling welcomed and part of the child care centre ‘family’ is so important for parents and children at a centre.
Toddle spoke with Amy Alldis, the Centre Manager at Eynesbury Early Education in Victoria, to find out what makes their connection to families and the wider community so special.
How do you explain the concept of community to children?
‘At Eynesbury, we are very lucky to live in the community that we are in,’ explains Amy.
‘There is a strong emphasis on community within the Eynesbury area and our centre strives to embed that here as well.
We feel that the best way to explain community to children is to be as active members as we can be and having the children out in the community.
We are especially proud to have such a lovely environment, with the historic Grey Box Forest right at our doorstep.
In teaching community to our children, we utilise the Grey Box Forest in our curriculum as the fixture for our Bush Kinder program which runs weekly in our centre.’
‘The sense of community is what the parents love the most about our centre.’ - Rhiannon, Assistant Manager
What are the benefits of teaching children about their connection to their community?
‘Being part of a community allows the children to feel a sense of belonging,’ shares Amy.
‘By involving the community into our curriculum, we are allowing the children in our centre to experience real-world learning opportunities, which in turn will also encourage the children to feel a sense of becoming and belonging.’
Could you tell us about the ways that you bring about a connection with the community?
Amy explains the seven main ways the centre connects with its wider community:
- Bush Kinder in the forest
- Local excursions around the community
- Weekly storytime at the local discovery centre
- Weekly visits to the local nursing home
- Visiting local primary schools with the kinder children
- Holding community markets at the centre
- Having a connection with the local men’s shed and utilising their services.
‘The children thrive on these community-based activities and look forward to them throughout their week,’ says Amy.
‘Our centre hopes to build these relationships even further with the community and become an even more prominent figure within Eynesbury,’ she explains.
How has COVID and the upheaval of the economy affected the children?
‘COVID has had a big impact on our community ties, such as our need to cancel the weekly trips to the aged care facility,’ explains Amy.
‘Our families have been really trusting and understanding during this time though as we have built such strong relationships within our centre community.’
What do the parents think of the community connections you have made?
‘The parents are fully on board with our participation in the community,’ explains Amy.
‘They are always ready to volunteer information about our local environment, especially finding secret spots in the Grey Box Forest - like the secret waterfall,’ she said.
You can read more about Eynesbury Early Education here, or find child care in your area by typing your postcode in the Toddle search bar at the top of the page.
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