Excerpt from ACECQA Newsletter Issue 10 2020:
Singleton Heights Pre School, New South Wales, has recently been awarded the Excellent rating. The service leaders, teachers and educators have established shared values that reflect the unique service context in a mining and defence town. These values and the professionalism of the service team have helped to steer the service’s continuous improvement journey.
A key service practice is resourcefulness. Developed over time, the service has been able to respond to challenges faced within their community, including drought and teen suicide. The service practice reflects the cultural and community context, and meaningful and committed relationships with children, families and the community have been established. In their application, the service demonstrated how these relationships help them to respond to community challenges and develop practices, long term programs and targeted training to support educators, children, families and the wider Singleton Heights community.
In response to the increasing demand from local families to enrol their children, the service successfully applied for funding to build an additional room. Children and families were involved in the design, and extensive consultation occurred with community members, local Aboriginal Elders and support services to ensure inclusive design features were included. After 12 months of planning, the service has welcomed access to an additional 20 children per day, many of whom were soon to start school and had not previously been able to access a preschool program.
The service has established a rehabilitation partnership with a local mining company. The partnership has a focus on promoting sustainable practices within the community. The service has established a greenhouse and every year is given planting materials and seedlings. Children care for seedlings which are then sold back to the company for regeneration planting, with profits from the sale of the seedlings going back to the service. Children have also assisted the company to plant the trees they initially grew. Children are provided regular updates about the planting rehabilitation program.
The resourcefulness of the service has also allowed them to improve their play and outdoor facilities by building a partnership with a local master craftsman. A local woodworker spent time with children to design and build outdoor furniture with local materials for their play space. The children’s interest in woodwork grew and the service further developed this partnership. Sourcing more funding, the children and craftsman designed and installed a woodworking shed equipped with woodworking tools and materials for children to create their own pieces.
We acknowledge the innovative and inspiring approach of Singleton Heights Pre School’s continuous improvement journey, resulting in the delivery of improved outcomes for the children, families, service and local community.
This article was originally published in the ACECQA Newsletter Issue 10 2020, available online on the ACECQUA website.