Chief Operating Officer
Welcome to our October 2023 Family Newsletter. This month, we revisit our belief “Learning is an active process, a keystone to play based pedagogy,” and how this looks within our services.
Our approach involves co-constructing learning with children and creating opportunities for their exploratory play and skill development. Learning is an active process, important in play-based approaches. Active learning involves hands-on experiences that allow children to connect old and new information, reconsider and learn from misconceptions. It encourages children to create meaning through interactions with others and their surroundings. Active learning is integrated into our curriculum and essential in play-based learning as it helps children understand their social experiences. Playbased learning is a key aspect of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and our programs. It benefits children’s communication skills, vocabulary growth, pre-literacy skills, social skill development, and inspires an innate curiosity to explore and learn.
Our educators go beyond observing children’s interactions with others and the objects they discover. Play based experiences for children should include child-led, child-initiated, and educator supported learning. Our teaching teams work with families to support children’s agency and interests during play, while also planning behind the scenes. We actively partner with families to understand their priorities, so our educators can provide play invitations and give children options for activities.
We listen to children’s ideas and interests and ask questions to involve them in the discovery process. This helps develop their agency and decision-making skills. Scaffolding is used to support each child individually as they gain skills, confidence, and knowledge. We believe in the collaboration between children and adults through investigations, which promotes problem-solving, creativity, collaboration, and risk-taking.
On Friday, we will be inviting our families to participate in our 2023 Family Engagement Survey. Please check your email on the 3rd November for your invitation. While the survey is voluntary, we at Petit ELJ look forward to your feedback, good or bad. Centres especially look forward to seeing how they are doing. This year each centre has a participation goal of 50% of families responding. Please help them achieve this and see your centre team rewarded. Your answers will help shape initiatives for our future.
If you have any questions about the survey, our beliefs or your child’s learning program, please speak to your Centre Director. We are always here to help.
Kylie Thomson from Petit Early Learning Journey Coffs Harbour
Congratulations to Kylie Thomson, Educational Leader at Petit ELJ Coffs Harbour, for her selection as October’s exceptional performer. Kylie works closely with the team to support the centre and challenges each person to be their best self.
Kylie’s dedication to delivering a rich professional development program and tenacious guidance produces impressive results, such as the beautiful garden in the foyer. Kylie actively participates in all studios at the centre, regularly visiting and creating meaningful connections with the children, their families and the educators.
What do you like most about your role?
In my educational leadership role, I adore being involved in the educational aspect of the program and learning throughout the centre. The best part is having the opportunity to be a part of all the studios’ practices and supporting staff where they need me most. I thoroughly enjoy being a part of all age groups’ inquiries, practices and strategy development while building new relationships and strengthening others.
What’s your early childhood career story?
I have always been around children since I was young, caring for them and sharing amazing experiences together. I used this as an opportunity to study and make a career out of it. My first work placement offered me employment and this provided invaluable experience. I then moved on to different types of early childhood services such as long day care, early intervention support and bush schools.
How does Petit ELJ support you in your personal and professional development?
Petit ELJ has supported me throughout my role through an amazing support system from my centre director and assistant director, extending to operations managers, educational and practice advisors and fellow educational leaders from various centres. My professional development has also grown through many exciting opportunities, such as conferences and centre visits, enhancing and reshaping my practice and inspiring the practices of our educators.
What is the most valuable thing you have learned from your fellow team members?
The most valuable thing I have learnt from my team members is that each person has unique relationships and interests and shares this with the children. I adore watching how our team involves their personal interests and embeds this through play with the children, sparking their curiosity and investigative skills. This observation has taught me to be myself with the children and share some of my stronger interests, such as messy play and dancing!
The Queensland Government is introducing free kindergarten starting in 2024.
This is exciting news for families with eligible-aged children attending 40 weeks of government-approved free kindy per year led by a qualified early childhood teacher. The program provides 15 hours of instruction per week or a total of 600 hours per year.
The introduction of free kindergarten in Queensland acknowledges the value of early childhood education and its benefits for children. This opportunity offers you the chance to invest in your child’s future and give them a strong educational foundation.
We recognise the significance of selecting the appropriate kindergarten provider for your child. With the start of free kindy, we encourage you to talk to your Centre Director about how it will affect your child’s needs and interests. We encourage all Queensland families to make the most of this learning opportunity.
We will keep sharing more updates and information as we approach 2024.
Petit Early Learning Journey Richmond promotes children’s mental health and wellbeing
Report from Centre Director Mel Theodorakopoulos and our Education & Practice Advisor
The early years of a child’s life are a crucial period for the development of social and emotional skills, which provides the foundation for lifelong mental health. With support from families, communities and professionals, children can build strong skills and achieve their full potential.
Children’s social and emotional learning during their first five years involves gaining critical skills to navigate emotions, relationships, and decision-making. These skills play an important role in building and nurturing young healthy minds, as children navigate both positive and challenging experiences.
All children encounter ups and downs. Poor mental health, though, is more than an occasional bad day. Some children face multiple negative experiences contributing to a higher risk. No matter how young a child is, their emotional experiences can affect their wellbeing.
The Centre for Community Child Health suggests three steps to promote children’s mental wellbeing:
- Maintain routines. These can help babies and young children to feel secure.
- Listen to children’s concerns. Having a trusted adult to talk to when they’re worried, one who won’t judge and who will listen carefully, is an important factor in children’s mental health.
- Build a network with other adults. Your relationships with the other adults in each child’s life – relevant health professionals, other teachers and early childhood educators, and the child’s family are an important factor in their mental health.
[ –Grow and Thrive (2016), The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne Centre for Community Child Health]
Learning communities, such as Petit ELJ Richmond, play a central role in promoting and supporting good mental health and wellbeing. Learning communities are a place of socialisation, where social and emotional needs, including the need for belonging and connectedness, can be met.
We encourage wellbeing in our kindergarten studios’ weekly yoga sessions, and all our studios:
- Use meditation as a calm down technique.
- Have a quiet rest area set up to allow children to recognise when they need rest and to take it on their own terms.
- Contain reading books about feelings to help the children with recognition and regulation.
- Encourage open communication with families about how their child is feeling at handover. Knowing when they have had a bad nights sleep or a change in routine allows us to support them better.
During R U OK Day, we talked with the children about how everyone feels sad at times and raised the question about who we can go to when we feel that way. This helps the children to recognise the trusted people in their lives as every family is different.
At Petit ELJ Richmond, we are passionate about developing strong attachments and supportive relationships, as we know positive relationships help children to learn the skills to handle challenges, build resilience, and develop their emotional regulation.
Petit Early Learning Journey Coffs Harbour’s passion for environmental sustainability shines
Report by Educational Leader Kylie Thomson
Our community project focuses on our passion to further environmental sustainability within our service. We are excited to be led by our children’s interest, to role model and explore their inquiry.
Our families at Petit ELJ Coffs Harbour have always supported how our centre can be environmentally sustainable. They recognise how this benefits children’s learning and experiences. As such, we have implemented a community garden with a worm café in our entry foyer, reached out to families about repurposing clothing items for ‘real life’ play, reused recyclables for craft and creative pieces and learnt about recycling before and after our local waste management service visit.
Our sustainability project supports our local community and the world we live in. As we all learn to care for the environment, it encourages children to preserve and respect the natural environment, maintain nature and people’s wellbeing and reminds us that our choices today affect future generations. It is the simple things we do, such as utilising recyclable sources for creative arts, reducing our waste, using food scraps for the worm café to break down and create liquid fertiliser, repurposing our old clothes and accessories for dress-ups and more, that all add up. We let our families and local community know what we require and how this benefits children’s play and learning within our centre.
To extend our inquiry, we will be connecting with our local ‘OzHarvest’ to give ready-made meals of cooked meals that have been uneaten by our children. Our centre community is passionate about giving to those in need across the Coffs Coast.
Our environmentally sustainable program continues year-round! As we reach the end of the year, we look forward to seeing how we can assist others in creating a sustainable future. There has been a growing interest in this topic where curiosities and inquiries are being explored, especially in our older studios. We can’t wait to reflect on this next year and see how it progresses in 2024.
Children’s emotions: Helping your child to recognise and name their feelings
Children’s emotions are a big part of their life. They learn to process and express emotions from adults. Children experience a wide range of feelings…
Latest parent review
Petit Early Learning Journey Clifton Hill
“We are so happy with Petit Learning for our child (M 3.5 y//o). Our little one was incredibly shy and reserved and we were terrified of how he would take to kindy. The staff at PEL were just so wonderful with him and really gave him the time and space (and made him feel so comfortable) that within a few weeks out little one now loves going there and is doing well 🙂 It is also a great facility from an activity and learning environment perspective. The teachers are all exceptional, caring, kind. Their app is great to help manage schedules and provide information. Their play areas are fun and there is always a lot of activity. Logistically, it is really well located and easy to drive into their carpark, do drop off and then easily drive out without getting stuck in traffic. Really happy with PEL.”
– Piero Poli
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Experiences from around our services
Scooping playtime fun at Petit Early Learning Journey Wooloowin
The children in Petit ELJ Wooloowin’s Haven Place studio played with ladles to scoop large colourful balls from the trough. While they played, they discussed colours, counted the balls and practised hand-eye coordination.
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