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As we move into the year's final weeks, it is always satisfying to reflect on the achievements, challenges and successes it has brought us. I feel that 2023 has been a return to 'normal' post-Covid school life. It has been most gratifying to see the return of our regular ELC events - such as excursions to the Knob Reserve (St Anne's) and Raymond Island (Bairnsdale) - a full Buddies program, parent helpers, Stay-and-Play evenings, Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day events and, of course, our fabulous Transition Group Christmas Concerts.

On Friday November 17 a huge number of excited St Anne's students and families of our 40 Transition students packed Lorna Sparrow Hall for the highlight of the children's time at the ELC … our annual concert. The families were entertained by the childrens’ performance of the 'Reindeer Christmas' story, followed by dances and a rendition of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, sung with their Year 5 buddies. A week later, it was the Bairnsdale Transition class’s turn and those students also wowed the appreciative audience with their super-cute interpretation of the Nativity. Staging any performance with kindergarten-aged children is definitely not for the faint-hearted and I thank the team who contributed to creating these beautiful memories for the children and their families. I hope families all got many memorable photos of your child in their gorgeous costumes.

Our Reception children have also been busy preparing many special gifts and activities for their end-of-year events. On Friday November 24 they also participated in their orientation sessions when they spent time with their 2024 educators and classmates. At the ELC, our team is well aware of the importance of children making good, safe and secure transitions as students move between activities, specialist lessons or into another room or class. Our team actively plans to support each child's well-being during these occasions. This year, the children moving from Reception to Transition have been engaged in making their library bag to use when they visit the Junior library next year. They will also receive a storybook during the holidays with details of their daily routines and photographs to look at with their families during the holidays. This helps them become familiar with new lessons, teachers, playspaces, and routines. Please take the time to read this with your child several times when they receive it in January.

Parents and carers can also sometimes be anxious about changes for their children. Seeing so many new and continuing families at our recent information evenings was pleasing. At this event, comprehensive 2024 handbooks were given to new families. You will also find a copy on the VOS class pages. Again, I would urge you to take the time to read these thoroughly as you will find lots of helpful information about our procedures, educational program and what to expect in the coming year. At this meeting, I spoke to families about key factors for 'setting preschoolers up for success'.

These included:

  • Ensuring children get enough sleep (10-11 hours a night)
  • Healthy eating and routines for meals, including eating together and a solid bath/bed routine
  • Speaking and listening as essential early skills to promote later success in reading and writing
  • Consistent boundaries with 'parents as parents', not friends
  • Not solving all of your child's problems is essential to build resistance. Scaffolding your child to work through their emotions builds lifelong skills.
  • Screen time: no more than one hour per day
  • Please work with your educators. They are there to help and support you and your child.

I would like to finish the year by wishing every one of our wonderful ELC community a safe and happy Christmas and New Year. It has been a delight to work with you and your children.

Lisa Burgess

ELC Director