Alison’s update

Alison Hill, COO

Chief Operating Officer

Welcome to our April family newsletter for 2023. In recent years there has been a growing recognition of the importance of community connectedness in supporting health and wellbeing. Our belief, “Connection with community supports health and wellbeing”, acknowledges that helping families build strong relationships within our local and broader communities can positively impact the growth and development of our children. We also improve our families’ and educators’ overall quality of life by nurturing community connections.

Community support services are crucial in providing families with the necessary resources to support their children’s needs, from local charities and food banks to health and wellness programs. As such, our centres coordinate with dentists, optometrists, and speech pathologists and connect with local libraries to provide children with access to various books and learning resources.

Excursions into our community to attend local events, places and people help to broaden our children’s horizons and allow them to observe and interact with individuals from diverse backgrounds, promoting social connections and a shared sense of belonging.

Through partnerships with our families and conversations with their children, our educators organise fundraising events for charities and experiences that raise awareness of local issues. We also connect culturally to events that are meaningful to our centre communities providing children with rich and authentic learning opportunities.

Child safety is essential to community health and wellbeing and we are dedicated to being a child-safe organisation that facilitates a secure environment for all children, including those vulnerable or at risk of abuse and neglect. Our community plays a vital role in providing access to resources available for families, such as the online program Nourish Baby, in partnership with our Sleep Smart sector experts. We also manage our physical and online environments to ensure children are heard, valued and protected. Our children are our future, and ensuring their health and safety is of the utmost importance.

Please speak to your Centre Director if you have any concerns about your child’s health and wellbeing and to take advantage of our community services and programs. We are always here to help.

Notice to families: ACCC ECEC Survey

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is seeking input from parents and guardians to better understand their decision-making process when it comes to using ECEC services. Families with children aged 0 to 14 years, or those with a disabled child aged 0 to 18 years, are invited to complete the online survey.

Parents and Guardians Survey – Childcare Inquiry

The ACCC is particularly interested in hearing from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander families, families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and parents and guardians of children with disabilities or complex needs.

The feedback received will help the ACCC gain a complete understanding of the factors impacting the price and availability of ECEC services in Australia. The survey is open until 31 May 2023, and participants can remain anonymous.

For more information about the ACCC price inquiry, visit their website.

Exceptional team member for April

Educator Maree reads a picture book with a child in her care.

Maree Skellern from Petit Early Learning Journey Murwillumbah

Congratulations to Maree Skellern at Petit ELJ Murwillumbah who is our exceptional team member for April. Maree is the Baby Boulevard studio room leader where she is devoted to the children and their families. Maree’s support for the new babies and the bonds she creates with them is outstanding.

Maree goes above and beyond collaborating closely with other educators to ensure the babies are well cared for and that the room runs smoothly. We are incredibly fortunate to have Maree as part of the Petit ELJ family.

What do you like most about being an educator with Petit ELJ Murwillumbah?

The best parts for me are working alongside my colleagues and the relationships I have with the children and families. Watching the children grow from babies to getting ready for school has been a privilege. Our families support us and what we do for their children, making our job feel valued and appreciated.

How did you come to work in early childhood education and care?

I have always wanted to work in childcare. After finishing school, I worked at Woolworths, and I left after I had my two girls. When my youngest started school, I studied for my Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care. I first worked in other childcare centres before coming to Petit ELJ Murwillumbah.

What is the most valuable thing you have learned from the children you work with?

Every child has their own personality and learns differently. Children love to tell you stories, and we also learn new and different things from the children.

What are some surprising things about working in the early childhood sector that people may not know?

Every day is always different. What might work one day won’t work the next day. So you must be very flexible and patient. I don’t think some people know how much work we do behind the scenes.

Featured educational program

Petit Philosophy wall at Petit Early learning Journey showing their embrace statements.

Reflecting on our centre’s philosophy at Petit Early Learning Journey Clifton Hill

Report from our leadership team

“Learning and teaching should not stand on opposite banks and just watch the river flow by; instead, they should embark together on a journey down the water. Through an active, reciprocal exchange, teaching can strengthen learning and how to learn.”

– Loris Malaguzzi, Reggio Emilia Italy, Scholar

Along with the Early Years Learning Framework, our service’s philosophy statement guides our approach to learning, development, and well-being. Under the National Quality Framework, Quality Area 7*, every service is required to review its philosophy statement annually to create new “Embrace Statements” which reflect their centre’s identity and community.

We are excited to share Petit ELJ Clifton Hill’s updated philosophy for 2023. Within each of Petit ELJ’s six core beliefs, our team has created “Embrace Statements”, which reflect our community. For example, our embrace statement for the belief “Every child is capable, resourceful and a constructor of their own knowledge” is:

We listen to children’s voices and consult with them when making decisions at the centre. We recognise that young children communicate in many “languages” and offer children a range of options for self-expression. Children’s ideas, theories and creations are respectfully displayed in the centre.

We see children as individuals, and we hold high, yet differentiated expectations for each child. Educators scaffold each child’s learning and facilitate meaningful experiences to support each child’s unique greatness.

Our educators engaged in critical reflection and consultation with children and families to create the statements. Thank you to our families who contributed to our survey, pen and paper QIP feedback or responded to our questions in our studio Storypark communities.

Petit ELJ Clifton Hill families can review the updated philosophy wall anytime. Your feedback is always welcome.

*National Quality Framework | Quality Area 7: Governance and Leadership Element 7.1.1 Service

Philosophy and Purpose

Community connections

Three children from Petit Early Learning Journey hand a happy Ozcare resident a handmade gift. In the background is a piano and window.\ through which sunlight is shining through.

Petit Early Learning Journey Burleigh’s excursion engages Ozcare residents

Report from Assistant Centre Director Shannon Stacey

The children from our Treasure Cove and Blossom Hill studios at Petit ELJ Burleigh have embedded fortnightly excursions into their program with visits to our local Ozcare nursing home and Ozcare respite facility.

A connection with a family member who is a coordinator sparked the idea to visit the nursing home. The nursing home’s permanent residents immensely enjoy the children’s visits. Shortly after the nursing home’s visits began, the respite facility contacted us to also include them in the program.

As the children engage in these regular excursions, they explore and practise road safety and awareness concepts, making our journey to the nursing home perfect! The children have also successfully learnt directional language as they navigate towards their intended destination and return route.

We can sense excitement and warmth engulfing the room during this intergenerational engagement. The children provide joyous, comical, and innocent entertainment, while the residents offer storytelling opportunities, wisdom, and communication skills.

With each visit, more residents show interest, and the children’s relationships are blossoming. They have also received invitations to attend a range of additional experiences, such as participating as audience members for a local band and an Easter hat parade.

The presence of the children provides relief from social isolation for the residents. In addition, we have received positive feedback about the residents’ increased engagement level promoting their sense of purpose and connection to their community.

The children thoroughly enjoy their experiences with the residents, such as bubble blowing, balloon throwing, ring tossing, puzzles, and reading books. This excursion is a win, win experience for all.

How imaginative play helps children explore complex themes

Child in a pink show that reads "Life is like a rainbow" wears a mask as she role plays.

Have you ever watched a child engage in imaginative play and wondered what they were thinking? As it turns out, children use their imagination to explore complex themes and ideas…

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Latest parent review

Petit Early Learning Journey Burdell 2

“Where do I start? 😍 Our journey with Petit has been incredible! My son struggled with separation from me. From the get-go his educators made him feel loved and safe which made the transition so easy. They have so much hands-on sensory play and an incredible outside area & you can genuinely see the educators care and enjoy being with the kids. My little one has allergies which they accommodated so well and explained what they had in place for him. All of the team including office staff are so lovely and happy to help whenever needed. You won’t regret sending your little ones there. ❤️”

– Bridgette Waterson

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Our culture: Petit Early Learning Journey investing in professional development

An educator sits in a shaded outdoor setting, dipping her hand in a table lined with fake green grass, over which water flows around pebbles for a sensory water experience. A child stands in the educator's arms watching and waiting to enjoy the experience.

Employee engagement is a hot topic. Everywhere employees are reviewing their careers, and the value of professional development planning remains a key influencer in retaining and attracting employees.

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Experiences from around our services

Volcanologist mum sits at the front of the studio holding up a drawing. In front of her preschool children listen as they engage her discussion.

Petit Early Learning Journey Murwillumbah hears from volcanologist mum

Our Treasure Cove studio at Petit ELJ Murwillumbah had an exciting visit from Cody’s mum, Tracey. Tracey is a volcanologist. The children learnt how a volcano works and the different rocks it creates. They even had a turn at making a model volcano erupt! We encourage families to share what they do with our children as it creates deep connections with the learning and their community.

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