Standards Beyond Expectations

Our ELC continues to exceed Australian Standards for delivery of Early Learning.

Early Learning Centre

In recent months, the St Catherine’s School Early Learning Centre has completed the Department of Education and Training Assessment and Rating in accordance with regulations of the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority. This is a compulsory process for all Early Learning Centres in Victoria that occurs once every three years. This is a very rigorous assessment of the quality of our service against the National Quality Standard and the Education and Care Service National Regulations 2011 (National Regulations).

The Assessment involved a visit by a DEECD staff member to our ELC in Term 2 to enable observation of practice in every room and discussion with key staff, as well as sighting all relevant policy and documentation as evidence of practice. The School was delighted to again receive an outstanding result of this Assessment and Rating process.

On behalf of the School community, I acknowledge the exceptional leadership of our Head of Junior School and ELC, Mrs Alana Moor and the ELC Coordinators, Ms Sarah Bethune and Ms Fiona Barker. Together with our teaching staff and Learning Assistants in the ELC, their diligence in preparation and continued delivery of inspiring and creative educational programs is to be applauded. The seven key ‘Quality Areas’ of assessment and rating were recognised with the highest rating of Exceeding National Quality Standards.

Quality Area 1. Educational program and practice
St Catherine’s ELC Rating: Exceeding National Quality Standards
Quality Area 2. Children’s health and safety
St Catherine’s ELC Rating: Exceeding National Quality Standards
Quality Area 3. Physical environment
St Catherine’s ELC Rating: Exceeding National Quality Standards
Quality Area 4. Staffing arrangements
St Catherine’s ELC Rating: Exceeding National Quality Standards
Quality Area 5. Relationships with children
Rating: Exceeding National Quality Standards
Quality Area 6. Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
St Catherine’s ELC Rating: Exceeding National Quality Standards
Quality Area 7. Leadership and service management
St Catherine’s ELC Rating: Exceeding National Quality Standards

New Learning Space for our ELC Children

In 2007 St Catherine’s School embarked on a significant redevelopment of the historic Campbell House to enable the renewal of our Early Learning Centre. The completion of this building project was achieved through the kind donations of our School community, most notably a generous gift from Mrs Patricia Ilhan and her late husband John. Since this time hundreds of children have been the beneficiaries of this generosity, commencing their educational journey at St Catherine’s. Many current and past parents also hold fond memories of their children’s time at our Early Learning Centre.

This year, we will complete the final phase of the ELC development by redesigning and landscaping our outdoor play spaces. Underpinning the design is our commitment to the Reggio Emilia approach to Early Learning. This is distinguished by incorporating learning opportunities within the natural environment enabling children to form an appreciation of, and connection with, the world around them. The landscaping redevelopment will be completed over two phases, and despite some delays caused by inclement weather over the holidays, the first phase will be completed in August. The development of the outdoor space of the Early Learning Centre continues to provide a wonderful teaching opportunity for our ELC teachers, with young learners highly interested in the numerous bobcats moving mounds of soil, pavers and bark. There is great interest as they watch their new learning and play spaces starting to take shape. I look forward to welcoming our St Catherine’s School ELC families in Spring for the official opening.

Less is More

American philosopher and historian, Henry David Thoreau, believed that acquiring more things in life did not necessarily equate to more joy. Today, sophisticated studies confirm what Thoreau and many other wise souls discovered on their own – instead of putting things first, people enjoy a richer life when they put experiences first.

If you only have so much life to invest, how do you really want to spend it? Do you want to spend it driving to the shopping mall to buy more stuff? Or would you rather invest it in experiencing the Great Barrier Reef with your best friend? Or biking the Hiawatha trail with your kids? Or maybe getting out and giving back to the community? More and more people are discovering the art of travelling light in life.

I am sure, as our Year 9 students prepare to return to Australia this weekend from the Fijian Highlands, this sentiment of people before things, rings true for them all. The 12 days has undoubtedly been an enriching experience and I look forward to talking to the girls and staff when they return on Saturday. The Year 9 English program hopes to also encapsulate the girls’ experiences through a series of journal entries and a final written reflection on their Highlands experience.

The program in the Highlands has been a unique ‘two way’ experience where our students have demonstrated their knowledge and skills to assist in a Fijian educational setting within a small village. The generous donation of over 700 books provided by our students quickly filled the empty book shelves in the schools of our three partner villages. In turn, the Fijian people have demonstrated their skills and knowledge of their world, as well as gain an insight in to the world of an Australian girl. This interaction allows for diverse conversations and ongoing collaboration between the communities. An interaction that is ‘priceless’ and not available to tourists visiting the Fijian resorts – it is an ‘off the beaten track’ experience. This is undoubtedly, a truly life changing experience that will bring friendships, fond memories and happiness along the way.

Mrs Michelle Carroll


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