Please find below the transcript of the speech given by Anne Beddoe for the 2016 AGM. I don't know about you, but it certainly struck a chord with me. Read on, it's worth it!
Centre Manager’s AGM Report-2016
As the new kid on the block I was as curious as you probably are about this well-established kindergarten which has served the community since 1977; where some of you are leaving from as your children grow to school age and others enter through the kindergarten gate.
Over the last 8 weeks I have felt the pulse of Armadale ELC and it beats strong and steady. The staff are committed and show a true affection and dedication towards children striving to facilitate in the learning journey. Many have worked here a long time and others like myself have joined recently.
The families are genuinely interested not only in their children but in the growth and development of others in the group. They participate in curriculum events and fundraising activities.
The children are the ones that illustrate the success of the programs run here. They bounce through the door full of stories and are eager to engage in the day’s activities.
The program is full of learning initiated by children’s interests, directed by the teacher or opportunities taken through simple questions or observations that turn into teachable moments.
Some of these experiences include nature based activities using our amazing playground with our vegetable garden, 2 sand pits and a wide generous verandah protecting children from harsh sun or rain and allowing them to experience indoor and outdoor education regardless of the weather. Sustainable education has been supported through various incursions such as wildlife exposures, living eggs, silkworms, responsible pet ownership program, the mobile farm and Melbourne museum.
Cultural community experiences are enriched through our much treasured dance and music programs and I would like to take this opportunity to thank both Karen the Dance teacher and Kylie the music teacher for their dedication and energy in presenting their programs this year. David the music man brought instruments from around the world and explained how these instruments worked in a meaningful way to the children. Our own families have been very active in sharing their traditions and cultural celebrations including a special Divali day, and other parents helping children learn well known songs in different languages.
Not only do the children feel connected, they bring this knowledge of culture into an accepting kindergarten environment where, when mixed helps strengthen our kindergarten community.
Self-expression through dance and song, but also through art and craft and problem solving, help with the development of children. These opportunities help children gain meaning of things around them and to communicate their understanding through different mediums such as collage, art and construction.
Set ups in the learning environments are a very powerful tool and in fact in the reggio inspired curriculum, the environment is referred to as the third teacher. Environments and setups provoke and inspire children’s minds setting them on an enquiry journey of learning and understanding. When observed and worked in collaboration with early childhood educators this can lead to intense, developmentally appropriate learning for children.
Staff professional development supports the needs in our kindergarten. This year committee have funded First Aid, Anaphylaxis and Asthma updates and have also encouraged staff to attend teacher meetings. Many teachers in our community both early childhood and primary meet to discuss the needs of children in our care. Naturally the transition statements are a topic of discussion and there is a growing understanding of what information is valuable to communicate between services.
At this point I would like to acknowledge Margot Ewert our much loved teacher of the 4YO program. After 12.5 years and many other years of service teaching generations of children, Margot is retiring. Margot has spread her magic and passion in educating children. We will miss you Margot but now we must let your grandchildren have a little more time with you.
Finally I would like to thank the committee for giving me this opportunity to work in such a nurturing environment. I would like to thank the staff for empowering me to my role and for helping me learn the ropes and finally the children. In the first couple of weeks it was quite lonely in the office, less noise, less interaction than in the classroom. Now not a session goes by without children passing my door with a cheery hello or goodbye. This certainly illustrates a good pulse for Armadale Early Learning Centre."