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Hello ELC families and welcome to the final newsletter for the term. What a busy time it’s been as we move through the early days of settling children into a new school year, building new relationships, having new experiences and exploring new environments.

Some of you may be aware that, in Australia, planning for learning in the years before school determined by the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (EYLF) also called Belonging, Being and Becoming. These three words really encapsulate the important life forming development that happens between birth and age five. It is a beautiful document that guides our principles, practices and curriculum within the Early Learning Centres.

‘From birth, children are connected to family, communities, culture and place. Educators engage children in learning that promotes confidence, creativity and enables active citizenship’

As I move between both ELCs I see daily evidence of thoughtful planning to ensure that children and families in our care are building a sense of belonging. Building trusting and respectful relationships is especially important ‘work’ for us. Learning about your child and unique family culture enriches the curriculum and held build the sense of wellbeing and acceptance that is fundamental for children to feel safe and ready to learn. It was pleasing to see such a high turnout for our recent ‘Stay and Play’ Evenings. The children love the opportunity to invite you into their special place and it was great to see new friendships being formed between the ‘big people’ too.

In Term 2 the Transition groups will begin their in class helper roster. This is another way that you can get involved with your child’s education. We encourage every family to participate in this opportunity. As it is most likely that the Reception children will need time to re settle after the holidays we won’t begin this roster until Term 3.

The ‘Buddies’ program has commenced and this allows the children begin to experience belonging to a new community – that of Gippsland Grammar. Mentoring by an older student helps build confidence, and an understanding of what being a Gippsland Grammar student is. The older mentors take time to encourage their younger ‘buddy’ whilst developing their own empathy and leadership skills.

In Reception our children are excited to shortly be starting the ‘Book in a Bag’ program. Families are encouraged to participate in this early literacy activity. For the children, taking home a class mascot again strengthens the home and school connection. It also supports patience and turn taking.

Over the past few weeks, the teachers and educators at both St Anne’s and Bairnsdale campuses have been busy formulating our Quality Improvement Plan for 2024/25. This is a process that allows us to come together as a team to think deeply about the EYLF and National Quality Standards and to identify our priorities for the year ahead. We embrace this opportunity for continuous improvement and innovation to ensure that your children receive high quality programs.

At the time of writing the children are busily preparing for Easter and our traditional hat parades. Don’t forget to check VOS for lots of photos and updates.

I hope all of our families enjoy a wonderful holiday. Please note that we have an early 2pm finish on Thursday March 28. Term 2 begins on Monday April 15.

Lisa Burgess

ELC Director