Gatton Queensland 4343
Name: Caitlin Stait
Tell us about your career in early childhood. How long have you been working in the industry?
My Passion was ignited for the Early Childhood industry in the year 2000 through high school work placement. Since then, I have worked in every position as I have completed study and training, moving through the various roles to now become Nominated Supervisor of Lockyer Valley Early Education Centre. I am excited to take on the new challenges this role will bring and the opportunities for the centre.
Tell us about the relevant qualifications you hold that assists you in your position?
I hold a Diploma of Children’s Services, Senior First Aid, Alert Food Safety, CPR, Asthma and Anaphylaxis, Food Safety Supervisor Certificates as well as Child Protection and Fire Training.
When did you first join the QCCS team?
I joined QCCS in 2011 and since then I have loved every opportunity to be a part of this wonderful team
What do you find most rewarding about your career in early childhood?
One of the many rewarding parts of my career is making special connections between children and families. Also having the privilege to watch them grow and support families during such an important time of life.
Why should families choose Lockyer Valley Early Education Centre?
Families should choose Lockyer Valley as we are a genuine warm, welcoming, stimulating and fun environment with a huge focus on children’s learning and development. We are all understanding of the various needs of families and pride ourselves on supporting them in addition creating a stable and positive environment for all.
Why do you choose to work for QCCS?
I really feel QCCS is an extension of a family environment who ensures their employees of every age feels valued and appreciated. QCCS is such a privilege for me to be a part of and I truly treasure my time and opportunities here at the centre. My 3 children since babies have grown through the Centre which means the centre holds a very dear place in my heart personally and professionally.
Welcome to the Lockyer Valley Early Education Centre and Preschool. We are located on the corner near the round-about, between Gatton State School and the Lockyer Bus depot.
Our aim is to provide the highest standard of care to you, the families, as well as to the children who are within our care. Our Centre celebrates diversity, welcoming families with different cultures and backgrounds.
Our hours of operation are from 6am to 6pm. We are open Monday through to Friday, 52 weeks a year (excluding public holidays). Our Centre opened in March 2004 and caters for 117 children aged from birth to school age. We provide before and after school care to school age children as well as vacation care in the school holidays.
We offer a free courtesy bus service which transports children to and from the local schools in the area. We also have the option to transport children to and from home for families who have no access to transport or in emergency situations (conditions apply). The schools we currently service are Gatton State School, Peace Lutheran Primary School, Our Lady of Good Counsel School and Tent Hill Lower State School.
As security is one of our priorities, our Centre has a security door access system which only allows authorised parents/guardians to drop off and collect their child/ren from the Centre via a personal pin code.
At QCCS we understand the importance of building relationships with the Aboriginal Communities by valuing their histories, cultures and their people to help build a more respecting and understanding future for all Australians. Acknowledging Country is a common practice in our services where we respect the continuing connection of Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander Traditional Owners and Custodians to the land on which our services stands.
Our team are qualified, friendly and caring staff who are committed to continually improving their skills and knowledge by frequently attending in-service training and seminars. All staff are required to have an up to date First Aid, CPR and Blue Card. All new employees of QCCS attend an Induction Session prior to commencing at any of our Child Care Centres; thus, ensuring they will be well equipped to step into their new role. In addition, we provide regular professional opportunities as well as monthly Centre Director and staff meetings to ensure that all our employees are up to date with industry developments.
Our Centre aims to be at the forefront of industry developments and trends. Therefore, at QCCS your child will benefit from an array of experiences:
- Interactive smart boards
- Dynamic Emergent Curriculum based on the Early Years Learning Framework and Kindergarten Guidelines
- Individual child portfolios. QCCS realises how important it is to be kept informed on your child’s progress and daily activities.
- Healthy nutritious meals including breakfast, morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea.
- Sun Safety is a priority with a large percentage of the playgrounds covered with artificial and natural shade. Each Centre aims to avoid sun exposure between 9am-3pm to give the children that added level of sun protection.
- Transition to school programs along with transition statements
Our Centres are passionate about teaching sustainable behaviours, instilling the knowledge and values that help support sustainable environments. Just some of the sustainable practices that you can expect to see in our services include:
- Educating our children in the use of compost systems within their rooms
- Child tended vegetable and herb gardens, sharing our harvest with families and children
- Appointment of our children to monitor the electricity and water use within our Centre
- Use of recycled materials in our art and craft activities
- Use of donated items by our local communities and businesses
- Use of equipment made from recycled materials
We are committed to the implementation of the National Early Years Learning Framework and operate an Emergent Curriculum. Our program is based on the individual needs of the children in our care. Our program is balanced and developmentally appropriate. It has variations, providing for a wide range of individual experiences. These experiences give the children the opportunity to make choices and take on new challenges. Our centre programs are based on the individual child, thus ensuring it does not exclude any one child. Our goal is to inspire delight, curiosity, and inquiry in the classroom. We are very proud to offer the below to all our families at no additional costs:
Our Centre is pleased to be operating a Queensland Government approved Kindergarten Program with a qualified Early Childhood Teacher. This program is aimed at preparing our pre-prep children for primary school. Our Centre implements the Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guideline and focuses on building upon children’s learning and development including literacy and numeracy skills as well as exploring the foundations of mathematics and science. We are committed to developing and building on community partnerships with local schools, Teachers and families to ensure children are being well prepared for their school years.
Families with eligible children attending an approved Kindergarten Program may be entitled to a QKFS Plus Kindy Support Subsidy to assist with the out of pocket expenses of attending the program. To be eligible, families must either:
- Hold a current Health Care Card, Veterans Affairs Card or Australian Government Pension Concession Card
- Identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
- Have three or more children enrolled in the same year (must be the same age)
Your Centre Director can provide you with further information regarding this subsidy.
Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA)
Our Centre also boasts a second language program (German), we are proud participants in the Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) initiative. ELLA is an Australian Government initiative aimed at reviving the teaching of foreign languages in Australian schools, with the aim of significantly increasing the number of Year 12 students studying a language other than English within a decade.
Our Centre is proud to be a Certified Little Scientists House. This program is run daily by demonstrating our commitment to hands-on, inquiry-based learning in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education. It is designed to recognise services and schools that promote an active learning environment, incorporating best practice elements such as inquiry-based learning, metacognition and co-construction.
Veggie Fun Program
Veggie Fun for Everyone is a 12-week food literacy program run in our Kindergarten Room, created by our very own Healthy Cooking Company designed to develop a positive attitude toward vegetables in children. The Kindergarten children will be encouraged to explore vegetables, leading to positive experiences and self-directed tasting.
Perceptual Motor Program
Perceptual Motor Program (PMP) activities form a part of our daily routine as your child’s Educators aim to help them become physically active and promote healthy growth as well as development of bones, muscles, flexibility, balance, posture and cardiovascular fitness. It can also help establish connections between different parts of the brain that develop memory and language.
Lockyer Valley Early Education Centre has partnered with a local swim centre to provide swimming lessons for children aged 3 to 5 years. The aim of swimming lessons is to teach children how to be safe in and around water. The program runs weekly, all year round, in 5-week blocks and taught by fully qualified swimming instructors.
Bush Kindy Program
Our children eagerly anticipate their weekly Bush Kindy sessions. Each session runs for approximately one hour and begins with a short walk to the Gatton State School nature trail.
As part of our Bush Kindy Program we learn all about the world around us and connect with nature whilst always acknowledging the traditional landowners – the Ugarapul and Jager-Daran people. Children are given the chance to explore and learn new things, climbing, running and inadvertently expanding upon their gross motor skills. Exploring the plants, trees, rocks and water creates spontaneous conversation, interactions and valuable risk-taking opportunities. The sessions are unstructured and initiated by the children, to inspire problem solving and promote self-confidence.
Observing insects/animals in their natural habitat is often a highlight for the children, their excitement and intrigue is always evident in their laughter and smiles. The Educators encourage their inquisitive instincts and questions.
There are many known physical and social benefits to exploring nature and evidence shows that exposure to nature can reduce stress and increase academic performance. This is especially important in the technology driven world we live in where screen time is ever increasing for adults and children alike.
Our service is so privileged to be located in the heart of the Lockyer Valley, also commonly known as “Australia’s Salad Bowl.” The flourishing crop country of the Lockyer Valley is one of the most fertile farming areas in the world and grows more than 95% of all winter crops in Australia.
The children in our community have the amazing opportunity of participating in our Farm Kindy Program, where we visit the farms and agricultural environments for the children to experience first hand living on the land. The children explore produce and its process from “farm to fork” and also replicate this process in our center gardens by growing our own thriving fruits and vegetables.
The Valley procedures a wide variety of crops all year round, which means there is always so much opportunity to learn and also extend on in the classroom setting.
The children are supported to engage in meaningful interactions with the land, animals and plants and the whole community is educated in the importance of sustainable ways of living.
Our service prides itself on its commitment to community engagement as a collaborative approach to improve outcomes for children and families. We work collaboratively with local schools with a “Get set for Prep” transition to school program which includes teachers, families and transition to school visits.
Our service is supported by the Lockyer Community Centre, the Lockyer Early Childhood Development Program (ECDP) and multiple Speach therapists and Occupational Therapists, as we promote
an inclusive and nurturing environment
We participate in the Gatton Show, Community Events and festivals, Under 8’s Day, Community networking meetings, Library sessions, Dental visits and many community projects such as the FOGO system.
We encourage all families to share their culture, beliefs and traditions and welcome Centre tours and many “Stay and plays” as part of the transition to our service, to ensure children and families feel supported and at home during their journey with us.
We are very excited to share that our service has connected with “Able Australia” to implement an “Intergenerational Connections Program”
The Intergenerational Program is all about seniors in our community spending a couple of hours on a Friday each week with the Kindergarten children, helping them learn and play and participate in their program.
Every Friday from 10am to 12pm seniors are invited to participate in our Kindergarten Program and join in the fun with the many benefits that come from interacting and building those special connections.
Benefits to seniors include reduced loneliness and isolation, increased wellbeing and simply something they can enjoy and look forward to each week.
Intergenerational connections can help both older and younger people feel cared for and valued. Research shows that intergenerational programs increase self-esteem and feelings of wellbeing and a feeling of genuine connection and in particular for children to experience that special bond.
The seniors are invited to participate in our Programs and are encouraged to share their passion and skills with us. Our seniors group are also involved in our community events, Vege Fun Program, Storytime sessions and even our Excursions in the community.
We believe food ingredients should come from the kitchen, not from a lab. From this belief came the inspiration to open our own production kitchen, the Healthy Cooking Company. We aim to create and promote natural and wholesome food with a number of health benefits:
- Organic baby food
- Preservative Free
- No artificial flavours
- Low in sodium & refined sugar
- Naturally sweetened with honey
We promise that our nutrition labels will be free of numbers, so there will be no need to decipher nasty food additives. We are dedicated to providing delicious food that your children will love. Parents can rest assured that their little ones are being provided with a good start with healthy, nutritious morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea meals provided.
As Educators, we believe in teaching children that physical activity can be fun as well as good for our bodies and minds. As a result we coordinate exciting exercise programs within our centres that have been developed by our Sports Dietitian in consultation with Primary School Physical Education Teachers. We want the children in our care to experience the numerous health benefits that regular physical activity can provide such as:
- Stronger muscles and bones
- Long term positive attitude towards exercise
- Reduction in the likelihood of becoming overweight
- Reduction in the likelihood of developing illnesses and diseases
Through this we aim to incorporate at least three hours of physical activity each day into our room routines and programs with:
- Morning physical activity routine
- General indoor physical activity
- Outdoor experiences