Here you will find information including:
Benwerrin Preschool Environmental Helping Hand Plan
Our aim is to bring our Kindergarten premises into the 21st century and be more proactive in responding to emerging environmental issues. We believe that by teaching our children through modelling good examples of sustainable living they will have a stronger appreciation for and knowledge of just how simple it is to help the environment by not wasting the non-renewable resources it currently provides us.
There are several areas in which, if we made changes to our current operations, our Kindergarten could make significant environmental savings. These include:
- The installation of solar power panels to the Kindergarten roof will help reduce our usage of non-renewable energy resources. This is imperative to the reduction our carbon emissions and the education of our children regarding this world wide concern. By giving the children a visual aid we are showing them that our Kindergarten is being proactive in the battle against pollution and waste.
- The installation of additional water storage tanks allocated for the flushing of toilets will save large quantities of precious drinking water each day as young children are frequent users of toilet amenities. We can not only teach our children the water savings associated with full and half flush buttons but instil into them the need to be water conscious and an appreciation for the multiple demands for water in our daily lives.
- The installation of environmentally friendly insulation products within the Kindergarten’s roof space would help maintain a constant room temperature while the decreased reliance on heating and cooling would significantly reduce our power usage and carbon footprint. The constant room temperature would, especially over the winter period, combat the amount and frequency of children’s common colds, and as such mean that children take less sick days and obtain an uninterrupted educational experience. We would also hope that by choosing the most environmentally friendly insulation products available that we are supporting the kind of industries that are beneficial for our collective future.
What we are trying to achieve is not a short-term project but an ongoing concern that will have an impact for generations to come. It is through the environmental education of our younger generation that real long term environmental changes can be made to the way we live our lives. This plan is only the beginning for our Kindergarten community as we look further into the future with projects where education and the environment are our top priority.
Exceeding the NQS 2018
Hi Kinder Community,
Last term our service had undertaken a rigorous assessment by The Department (DET) for the quality of the kinder taking into account all of the information, staff conversations, observations and evidence that was available.
The Assessment and Rating Report has been finalised and rated Benwerrin Kindergarten ‘exceeding’ for each of the seven quality areas with an overall rating for our kinder ‘exceeding’ the National Quality Standard (NQS) 2018. An outstanding result! This demonstrates the kinder has an established quality environment for the children’s learning, skilled and engaged staff and an effective leadership and governance resulting in a high quality service.
The commitment shown by all staff during this assessment and rating recognises that we are aiming for: ‘In partnership with families, strives to develop every child's learning potential through the provision of exemplary early childhood education in a safe, equitable, inclusive and stimulating environment. The program will support and empower our children to grow strong as both individuals and as members of their community and culture’ (Mission Statement 2018).
A special thank you to Mel Rosso, Educational Leader who led the implementation of the Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) and supported staff in their learning.
I have included a summary for your reading and the full report is available to download HERE.
Quality Area 1 Program practice EXCEEDING
1.1 Embedded meaningful engagements with families, embedded inclusion of Indigenous Australian elements, meeting individual needs, exposing children to cultures that were relevant to the service.
1.2 Embedded practices to build on children’s knowledge and understanding, children were supported to make choices, critically reflecting on programs to maximize participation.
1.3 Interactive approach to programming and ongoing input of families to guide realistic and relevant goals through online program, families can view daily and group reflections, newsletter included highlights of the educational programs for each group.
Quality Area 2 – Children’s health and safety EXCEEDING
2.1 Calm and relaxed areas such as the Balinese hut, mealtime and physical embedded by child-centered approach, healthy eating consistently promoted, direct input of families in cooking experiences.
2.2 Fine-tuned approaches to managing children’s safety demonstrated an embedded approach involving the kinder community, child safe environment and empowering families to extend this outside the kinder.
Quality Area 3 -Physical environment EXCEEDING
3.1 Children played hands on role in caring for the kinder and this reflected the embedded shared- responsibility, engage families in everyday programs whilst on duty.
3.2 Embedded recycling practices, acknowledging the traditional owners of the land.
Quality Area 4 – Staffing arrangements EXCEEDING
4.1 The philosophy and the vision for an innovative program, educators held families in high regard, respected and valued their role, meaningful engagement to maintain effective communication with families, shared philosophy aligned with the goals of families.
4.2 Embedded sense of concern and wellbeing demonstrated in the interactions between educators, high quality practice was embedded and reflected the shared commitment, meaningful collaborations with families.
Quality Area 5 – Relationships with children EXCEEDING
5.1 Embedded quality relationships with each child, individualized interactions to support each child, child safe environment.
5.2 Educational programs cleverly designed to offer multiple choices for small and large group collaborations, self-regulation practices were consistently applies, and intentional teaching strategies guided the split of indoor and outdoor groups.
Quality Area 6 – Collaborative partnerships with families and communities EXCEEDING
6.1 Embedded commitment to maintaining meaningful partnerships with families, strong connections with families for individualised support offered to guide everyday challenges that parenting presented.
6.2 Embedded community engagements created healthy and ongoing information exchange to guide the transition to school. Embedded quality relationships with staff and all the children, embedded professional programming conversations.
Quality Area 7 Governance and leadership EXCEEDING
7.1 The director and educational leader were clear on responsibilities from their collaborative critical reflection and their roles complimented each other and provided a balanced management of the kinder, the philosophy was easily identifiable in the embedded quality of the kinder.
7.2 Professional learning was embedded in the service culture, dedication to critical reflection discussions, staff was inspired to learn from each other and goals documented.
Well done Team!
Director/ Nominated Supervisor/ Echidna Group Teacher
Toni Lepore: State Winner, 2016 Australian Family EEC Awards
Toni Lepore, Benwerrin's Director and 4YO Echnida teacher, was named state winner in the director category of the 2016 Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards. These Awards celebrate outstanding contributions in early childhood education. They aim to encourage Australians working in all sectors of early childhood education and care to aspire to excellence.
Toni was the Victorian State winner of the Director of the year Award, going up against many worthy Directors in the provision of early childhood education. As State Winner Toni flew up to Sydney to attend the award celebrations and receive her award.
Toni has been the Director of Benwerrin Kinder for over 17 years. When Toni first took over the kinder’s numbers were low and its future looked bleak. Toni has been a key ingredient in growing Benwerrin into the amazing kinder that it is today. She feels very honoured to be acknowledged for her dedication and vision in making Benwerrin a thriving early education hub.
Here you will find the latest newsletters from Benwerrin Kindergarten:
- Benwerrin Bulletin - Term 1, March 2018
- Benwerrin Bulletin - Term 2, June 2018
Building a Better Benwerrin
In 2010 our biggest hurdle was the DEECD Blue Print Agenda item, Universal Access stated that by 2013 every child in Australia will have access to 15 hours of quality early childhood education in the year before they attend school. The State and Federal government had finally focused on the importance of the early years, but had they understood the impact of this current policy will have on existing community based kindergartens. Toni said they now face the loss of the 3YO programs and 4YO sessional groups. Their key challenge was to think outside the box and to avoid any ‘one size fits all’ template.
In 2010 their first grant application was successful and the kindergarten received over $40,000 from the Federal Government to replace our old leaking cement tile roof with improved drainage from the guttering into water tanks; The installation of solar power panels to help reduce our usage of non-renewable energy resources; The installation of additional water storage tanks allocated for the flushing of toilets to save large quantities of precious drinking water each day as young children are frequent users of toilet amenities; the installation of environmentally friendly insulation products within the Kindergarten’s roof space to significantly reduce our power usage and carbon footprint.
Late 2010 Toni wanted to build a new proposed room to accommodate the new 15 hour program for the 4YO groups as well as to extend 3yo programs. Toni Lepore and Chantelle O’Hara spent countless hour in preparing documentation and information for the new proposed room. Once again they were successful in their application and they received Federal Government funding for $220,000.
In 2011 the build began it was mammoth, long and lengthy delays and finally with much perseverance and commitment they had finally commenced construction and over a period of 7 months they completed the new room in term 2 of 2012. They had commenced the 15 hours of kindergarten program for the two 4yo groups nearly 9 months earlier than the deadline.
Benwerrin has a beautifully planned teaching environment that is an essential ingredient of learning. Toni had carefully planned the environment so the physical layout promotes learning, exploration and the inclusion for all children and families to feel welcome. The commitment to 15 hours of kindergarten per week prior to the first year of school by 2013 had now become a reality for the kinder.
The room has disabled access for special needs children throughout the indoor and outdoor environments, offer extended long day programs for working families, provide a room to be utilised for community purposes such as Professional Development days for schools and kindergartens.