Alison’s update

Alison Hill Chief Operating Officer

Chief Operating Officer

Welcome to our February 2024 Family Newsletter. Australia is known for its extreme weather conditions, and although autumn is nearly here, our weather forecasters are predicting the heat to stay for a few more weeks. At Petit Early Learning Journey, our Sun Protection, Weather and Heat Policy is in effect every day of the year. Severe heat can cause serious health concerns such as dehydration. Children are also susceptible to ultraviolet (UV) damage as their outer layer of skin is thinner than adults, and they have lower melanin levels. We recognise that children attend our centres during the hottest times of the day and when the UV rating is at its highest. The UV rating can remain high even in Melbourne on an overcast day between mid-August and the end of April.

The Cancer Council describes our beautiful sun-scorched country as the skin cancer capital of the world. Children spend a large part of their day outdoors, and we are responsible for minimising their exposure to heat and UV rays. Children must have sunscreen applied regularly, wear hats to protect their face and neck, wear shoes to protect their feet from burns and have access to cool drinking water. We encourage children to take additional sips of water throughout the day during hot weather and supervise water play. We also monitor UV radiation levels and outdoor temperatures and keep a close eye on signs of heat-related illnesses.

It is essential that we discuss the risks and benefits of sun exposure and extreme weather events such as heat waves with children so that they can practise and reinforce safety habits. As role models, participating in sun protection, such as wearing a hat or sunscreen, will encourage children to do the same.

Please talk to your Centre Director if you would like to read a copy of our Sun Protection, Weather and Heat Policy or any of your centre’s policies. We are always here to help.

Exceptional performer for February

Renee McKoy, February's exceptional team member laughs and builds relationships with children at Petit ELJ Burleigh. A child with their hand covered in pink goo reaches out to place it on her face.

Renee McKoy from Petit Early Learning Journey Burleigh

Congratulations to Lead Educator Renee McKoy from Petit ELJ Burleigh, this month’s Exceptional Performer. Renee has shown a high level of initiative through her proactive approach to taking on additional responsibilities.

Renee is always focused and brings energy and enthusiasm to support the team’s engagement, helping to foster a positive working environment. Renee has built strong relationships with her team, families and children since starting with Petit ELJ two years ago.

What do you like most about being a Lead Educator at Petit ELJ Burleigh?

Petit ELJ Burleigh is my first lead educator position, and I love it because I have been able to grow so much. I am constantly challenged to better myself. I think I used to be someone who just gave up when there wasn’t an easy answer, but working with Petit ELJ (especially with our Centre Director Briony, who says yes to everything), I have changed that mindset and learned to think outside the box. My favourite thing about being a lead educator is that I get to choose how I spend my day. If I am in the mood for crazy, messy play, then there’s nothing stopping me. In my class, we follow the children’s lead. Every day is a yes day.

How did you come to be in early education and care?

I have always known I would work with children. As soon as I found out there was a high school subject where I could get my Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, I knew I would do it. After finishing Grade 12, I became a casual relief staff member for another company in Brisbane. Because this was just before COVID, I lost a lot of work. After some persistence, I became a permanent float educator, where I stayed for half a year before becoming an assistant educator in the toddler room for the second half of the year. I was confident in my abilities. While moving to the Gold Coast, I applied for a lead educator position with only a month or so of experience supporting that role. Luckily, I found Petit ELJ Burleigh, who took me on as a new lead educator. I am so glad to have been a part of the Petit ELJ team. The last two years have given me an insane amount of leadership experience and personal growth.

What do you enjoy the most, educating or caring (or both)?

I love this question. In my opinion, I am such a great educator because I care so much. One of my biggest values in my role is family connection. I take handovers from parents very seriously and make a point of getting to know the families really well. I believe this is crucial in how well I can educate the children because I am just as excited about milestones as they are.

Over the past year, I have enjoyed challenging myself to teach the children in the Blossom Hill studio how to spell and write their names. I take lots of inspiration from other teachers online and experiences from my team members to teach. This worked really well.

Overall my answer is definitely both. I can’t choose.

What is the most memorable experience with Petit ELJ

One of my favourite weeks of the year is definitely Book Week. Last year, Sharlene and I came up with a fun theme every day and hyped up all the children in the weeks leading up to it. Every time I walked into Kindy that week, I was greeted by the children of my class who ALL got involved in the dress-up one way or another. It was such a memorable experience. We had families who handmade their costumes, families who went and bought brand-new costumes and families who put together random things they had in their closets. It was the best week ever!

Featured educational program

An educator sits in front of children showing them the different phases of the moon. The children sit on the floor, leaning forward eagerly to learn about moon.

Project Learning with Petit Early Learning Journey Kew

Report from Educational Leader Adele D’Cunha

Project learning is a concept typically explored by the bigger children at Petit ELJ, but this year, we have been so excited to see it shining through all our studios! The basis of project learning is that we follow the interests of the children, explore an idea and extend that learning as a project that is unrestricted by time and scope. The children can then investigate without limits, looking into concepts they are still exploring.

Last year, the children explored “space” in our Treasure Cove studio. It began as a term inquiry but continued to extend beyond the bounds of the term as the children expressed more and more interest in the sky, the weather, the moon, the stars and the sun. The children extended their learning by asking questions, researching at home, and bringing back their newfound knowledge to the studio to share it with pride. The children then incorporated their learning into their daily routine, exploring the changes in the weather each day, talking about the moon phases and making displays for the wall that reflect their ongoing learning.

It has been exciting to see how this type of learning has manifested in our younger studios too! Last year, in our Burrows Lane studio, the children started their project learning from an exploration of the outdoors. Their investigation led to a fond interest in birds. The term’s inquiry once again led them to this topic and then moved them forward to explore different types of birds, the sounds they make, their plumage, their nests and where they live. The children set up their own bird feeder, filling it with seed daily and watching how the different seasons and the weather affect the birds’ behaviour. Allowing the children to explore this concept freely without the restriction of a term block means they can explore this project until their interest fades or the learning leads them to explore learning elsewhere.

We are excited to see where the children lead us with this year’s project learning.

Community connections

A resident from Nanyima Care reads a book with a child as they sit together on a sofa at Petit ELJ Marian.

Nanyima Care residents visit Petit Early Learning Journey Marian

Report by Centre Director Kristie Torrisi

In November last year, the children at Petit Early Learning Journey Marian had a delightful visit from a group of Nanyima Aged Care Community residents. We contacted Nanyima Care, a local aged care facility in Mirani, to create vital social connections for our children within the Pioneer Valley community and the Nanyima residents who need relief from social isolation.

A group of residents from Nanyima Care travelled to the centre to participate in experiences with the children. The bus driver, the son of one of the older couples who visited us, volunteered his time to bring them to us. The residents joined in the arts and crafts experiences we had planned with the children. They helped the children make posters that said “Merry Christmas” and festive wreaths for the older people to hang on the doors at the aged care facility.

The incursion encourages an exchange of information between the two generations. We can learn so much from older people and the stories and life experiences they share. Intergenerational programs also support children’s sense of identity and community.

The children were super excited to have the residents visit. We wanted them to feel as if it was like having their grandparents at the centre. We are passionate about ensuring we don’t have a gap between our young and older generations.

With the first visit, we wanted to create a strong connection with the community, as it can get lonely around Christmas. We know a lot of parents who moved here for work and have left their extended family behind. On the other hand, some older people don’t have family that can visit either.

This year, we aim to create a consistent program where more residents can visit the centre. We’d love to give every Nanyima Care resident a chance to come and meet the children.

How to make a worm farm for children

Children hold up their hands to the camera to show the wriggly worms they have found.

Get ready for a fun and eco-friendly project! Create a worm farm at home with your family, and watch as your children learn about sustainability in a hands-on way. Wriggly worms are fascinating…

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Latest parent review

Petit Early Learning Journey Forest Hill

“My youngest child attended Petit Forest Hill for 2.5 years, and he was exceptionally well taken care of by the caring and dedicated educators. Choosing this center was the best decision for my boy. Every week, they offered extracurricular activities such as yoga, Hey Dee Ho, and sports. I am especially grateful to Betty for the well-planned Kinder program. My son always came home excitedly sharing what he had learned. Throughout the two years of the Kinder program, he enjoyed numerous enriching excursions to places like the local library, farm, Twisted Science, and engaging incursions, such as school readiness sessions with speech therapists. Witnessing my son’s transformation from a shy boy to a confident preppy has been heartening. Though bidding farewell is bittersweet, I hope my review provides valuable insight for those choosing a daycare.”

– Yue Qun Tan

Read more reviews

Our culture: New Perpetual Award “Centre of the Year”

A group of educators from Petit ELJ Coffs Harbour stand together and proudly show off the perpetual award for Centre of the Year.

Last year, Petit Early Learning Journey introduced a new national perpetual award. Centre of the Year recognises and celebrates overall team excellence in the delivery of early education and care…

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Experiences from around our services

Children sit together at a table, spooning yohurt into their bowls. The child nearest the camera holds up a big spoon filled with yoghurt.

✨I am capable. I am competent.✨ at Petit Early Learning Journey Richmond

When children actively participate in self-help skills they also develop their fine motor skills, build confidence by trying new things and show a sense of pride in their independence.

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