Ashgrove Queensland 4060
Name: Jessica Mckenzie
Tell us about your career in Early Childhood. How long have you been working in the industry?
I started my journey here at The Woods in 2006 as a Lead Educator before transferring over to our Chermside Centre to be the the Director for the past 10 years. Now life has done a full circle and I am back here at The Woods as Director, leading a team of inspiring educators to success for our children, families and community.
Tell us about the relevant qualifications you hold that assists you in your position?
I currently hold my Advanced Diploma of Children’s Services, Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, Senior First Aid, I’m Alert Food Safety, CPR, Asthma and Anaphylaxis Certificates as well as Child Protection and Fire Training.
When did you first join the QCCS team?
In 2006, here at The Woods.
What do you find most rewarding about your career in Early Childhood?
I am very passionate about my job role and love watching children learn and grow throughout their early years. I strongly believe that early education is an important foundation for each child’s future. Every child has the right and should be given the opportunity to learn, especially through play. I strongly believe that risk and resilience is an essential part of early learning and I pride myself in ensuring children have opportunities to explore risk in a safe environment whilst with us for the day.
Why should families choose The Woods Early Education Centre?
Families should choose The Woods for its warm and friendly environment. Our Centre provides endless opportunities for children to not only learn but have fun while receiving high quality care. We have an array of friendly, passionate, and culturally diverse educators who support deep relationships with all children and families. Each child’s interest is extended by our educators so that each child can reach their own individual goals and milestones. We have an open-door policy at all times so families are always welcome within our Centre. We are passionate about our outdoor gardens and its wonderful teaching benefits allowing us to use this environment as a third teacher. We are proudly a Nature Play QLD recognised service and regularly take all our children on excursions to Bush Kindy.
Why do you choose to work for QCCS?
From my first interview with QCCS back in 2006 until now, I have always felt appreciated and respected. I choose to work for QCCS as they have always provided great opportunities for all educators to grow, including myself throughout my childcare career. I have always felt supported and valued in my decision making and the company has a family-like feel. QCCS prides itself on being at the forefront of the childcare industry and I always feel privileged to be a part of a company leading the way for the children and families in our care.
Welcome to The Woods Early Education Centre. The Centre is located in Ashgrove, a suburb in the City of Brisbane approximately, 250 metres from Ashgrove State School.
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 6:30am to 6:00pm. We are open Monday through to Friday, 52 weeks a year (excluding public holidays). Our Centre opened in January 1998 and caters for 90 children aged from birth to 5 years.
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. Our Centre also has an undercover car park which is only accessible to our parents/guardians.
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 (Chinese). 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.
Hey Dee Ho Music Program
Our professional Music Program is facilitated by ‘Hey Dee Ho Educational Services’. Hey Dee Ho visits our centre fortnightly. The program is an educational music experience where children learn the concepts of beat, rhythm, tempo, pitch and dynamics in a play-based environment. https://heydeeho.com.au/ourprograms/#music
Exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words and is known to accelerate brain development, particularly in the areas of language acquisition. Dancing to music helps children build motor skills while allowing them to practice self-expression.
Hey Dee Ho understands that each child has their own unique set of needs and interests. They have developed a range of activities to address the varied developmental needs of all children from birth. From relaxation and mindfulness to playing musical instruments to high energy dances, Hey Dee Ho programs engage and enhance children’s learning and fine motor development while giving them plenty of opportunity for fun.
We are delighted that the service is a qualified ‘Bush Kindergarten’ Education provider! We are recognised as a Nature Play QLD Education Provider.
Bush Kindy Program
Our children eagerly anticipate their fortnightly Bush Kindy Sessions. Each session runs for approximately for two hours and begins with a short walk to St. Johns Wood bush land, adjacent to the Centre.
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 Turrbal 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 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.
The Intergenerational Program helps to bridge generational gaps by fostering understanding and building respect between generations. The Woods Early Education Centre is proudly partnered with one of our local Nursing Homes. Once a month the children visit residents at the nursing home, where they participate in a range of activities including singing, arts and crafts and gardening.
Vegie Fun Program
Vegie 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.
Our Centre runs a ‘Barefoot Nursery’. Upon entry to the Nursery all Educators, guardians and visitors are required to remove their shoes or place a covering over them. Our babies are sensory explorers; therefore, it is important to us to keep our nursery room floors and environment clean and hygienic. The exceptional cleanliness of the ‘Barefoot Nursery’ concept allows our infants to freely investigate their surroundings without being exposed to unnecessary germs and bacteria.
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