Why these North Burnett kindies are the best in the region
TWO community-based C & K Kindergartens in the towns of Gayndah and Monto have exceeded national standards, according to data released by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority.
The assessment includes the seven elements of education, health and safety, physical environment, staffing, relationships with children, partnerships with families and communities, along with governance and leadership.
Both Gayndah and Monto have been ranked as exceeding each criterion, making these centres the highest achieving in the region.
Gayndah C & K Teaching Director Suzie McGregor said the class of 22 are very excited and enthusiastic about coming to kindy each day.
“The centre has a really homely feel and the relationship between the students and teachers is very positive, professional, caring and compassionate,” Ms McGregor said.
“It all works really well, the children are very happy and are involved in everything.”
Ms McGregor said C & K’s philosophy is based around the concept of children learning through play, so their program reinforces and welcomes children’s input in their own education.
“They come here, they have their own ideas and things they’re interested in and so we follow along with those ideas,” she said.
“We try to link in with the home as well, if they do something on the weekend, we try to follow up those interests.”
One of the children told Ms McGregor they had recently been to the zoo, so they made use of a staff member’s zookeeper uniform from their previous job to direct a discussion around animals.
“We utilise the environment as a classroom so they can explore nature and have a new shed where they can choose what they want to play with that day,” the director said.
Constructing obstacle courses, tending to the veggie garden and making healthy smoothies are just a few of the many developmental activities the centre prioritises.
The only activities they haven’t been able to do this year are excursions, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
As a community-based organisation, Ms McGregor said it’s been “challenging” to interact with the community as they normally would.
“It been a difficult year for that, we sent seeds home when the children couldn’t come here so they could grow their own gardens,” she said.
“We’re looking at now possibly trying to get someone from the community to come in.”
C & K Gayndah value the parent’s input, sending home feedback forms and having regular staff meetings to discuss how the centre is going.
“If there‘s any areas of concern, well, then we address that.”
In striving to meet the national standards, Ms McGregor said, “We look at what areas can we improve on and therefore we just continually update each area.”
Workplace Health and Safety measures, along with ensuring teachers are continually developing professionally are particular points of focus.
“It’s about leadership, working as a team and acknowledging all our skills,” said Ms McGregor.
“We make sure we utilise those skills in running our program.”
The C & K at Monto is the only other kindergarten within the North Burnett that exceeded the national quality standards.
Providing childhood education since the 60s, Monto Kindergarten’s program is guided by qualified teachers and supports children’s creativity, curiosity, problem solving, resilience and real-word knowledge.
Monto C & K Director Ann Dillon said the children are offered both indoor and outdoor areas where they can actively engage through play-based experiences.
“Our service provides a warm, friendly atmosphere where children and families can trust in the quality of the care and in the physical environment,” Ms Dillon said.
“[The] children feel happy and secure whilst having the freedom to express themselves.”
Their program runs for 15 hours a week and is for children turning four before June 30 in the year prior to attending primary school.
The Gayndah C & K are currently taking enrolments for next year, contact Suzie McGregor on 4161 1244 for more information.