Connecting with the Past
Today's blog is about community spirit and is written after our Reunion held on Saturday 12 September. This event was a powerful endorsement of the impact of community. It was so rewarding to re-connect with families from the past, hear their stories and simply come together once more. I have used the words from my address on the day to hopefully share with you why this is so important.
The idea of a reunion came together late last year when I celebrated my 20 years on staff here at Kindy. I started as a teacher in 1995 but in the 3 years preceding this I was here as a parent and a Board member when my 3 daughters attended. So my initial connection with this wonderful community dates back to 1992. As a result I have many, many years of memories and people to reflect on. My 20 years anniversary set Samm and I to talking about all the children and families that I have known over the years and pondering where life's journey might have taken these children and their families.
The once thing that resonated most strongly with us was that since the Kindy began (and there has been a Kindy in the community centre since the 1960s) the teachershere have touched and influenced many lives adn we realised how important it was for us to share with you how you have touched ours! I actually did a rough calculation and in broad terms in my 20 years I have taught 1,600 children. Wow - quite a statistic but more importantly so the idea of a reunion was born.
I also loved the idea because one of the greates joys of my life has been meeting Kindy people in all sorts of odd places all over the world and stopping to take a moment to share a story, have a chat or a "remember when". The most memorable of these meetings occurred on a goat track on the Cinque Terra in Italy - it was such a surprise I nearly fell off the cliff. But this story goes to show you how far our kindy community has spread!
What is important here is that the bonds formed at Kindy are often the ones that you sustain right through your life. It is so very rewarding to us to know how genuinely excited families are when it is their time to return with younger children.
To this end we are firmly committed to our community based not for profit preschool model and are resolved to stand fast in spite of efforts by the NSW Government to meddle with our funding and place strain on our viability. Their decision to no longer fund 3 year old children was a real slap in the face and we wonder where those children will go.
Unfortunately kindy's like ours are fast becoming a dying breed and neither the NSW nor the federal government appear to have any commitment to community preschools. They view early childhood education as a workforce participation incentive and are more concerned about getting womend back into the workforce rather than ensuring a quality education for our children and investing in the future of our nation. The NSW Government didn't even see fit to fully expend the budget allocation for early childhood last year and seem reluctant to share the reason why.
We however view early childhood education with a very different lens. Children and their families are at the centre of our practice. We value offering learning in a community context where the children are together in class groups, with the same peers and the same experienced teachers every day. As Educators this means we are in a much better place to grow their knowledge and deepen their understandings. Above all else we can grow the skill to form relationships in the children. Where else can a child get to learn how to form genuine, respectful relationships that have meaning and relevance and learn the social behaviours they need to be successful in life?
Please share this message with your friends, families, neighbours and everyone you know. We don't want to be like the dinosaurs and become extinct! If anyone asks you we do have vacancies for next year and you can either pick up some information today or direct them to our website.
But what do the children think? I asked the teachers to gather some of their thoughts and would like to share a few of those with you.
HARRY: I think our climbing tree is special and all our plants. I feel great when I come to Kindy.
CHARLIE: Playing with tents. I can play outside and inside. Kindy makes me feel good. I like to play with all my friends. I can make all sorts of things. I like it that we have tadpoles.
SYAN: Playing outside - we have a sandpit and a trampoline. I feel happy when I come to Kindy.
LUELLA: I like the climbing ree. I get to see all my friends and play with them. I feel happy coming to preschool. I will remember being with my friends.
MATILDA: The playground is so much fun. The tadpoles are nice. I will remember the tadpoles.
MATTHEW: It's special because there are lots of children. You can play with them and make new friends. I will remember my favourite thing is to play in the climbing tree.
MIA: We have a cool sandpit and swings. I will miss my friends when I go to school. I made lots of friends here. Kindy makes me feel happy.
JESSE: Because it's so fun. The swing goes so high that's why I love preschool. I love playing. Preschool makes me feel good and I'm just happy.
BEAU: I like the swings and the sandpit. I feel good at preschool.
TOM: Kindy is the best because I can play games and also I love Kindy coz I can climb on the climbing tree. I can meet friends. I like learning about stuff at preschool like life cycles.
CASPER: Its the best because it has lots of fun things to play with. We can play outside together with my friends. I will miss my best mates when I go to school.
ASHLEIGH: It's best coz it's got a big playground. I like coming to preschool because I have friends here. I love preschool.
These voices are the voices of some of the children that are currently enrolled. At the reunion we also heard the voices of some our "grown up" kids. Frank Danieli who was here in 1993 shared his memories of the Kindy and how that start has been important to him. Frank is now an Investment Banker so we must have got something right! The Danieli family still have connections with us. Frank's cousin, Simona, is one of our current children. Simona will be back next year and there is still her sister, Gemma, to come. You never know we might even get the children of Frank and his brothers one day!
We also heard from Nel Godfrey who was here in 2005 and 2006. Nel shared her memories of coming to Kindy and was thrilled to hear that many of the same things still happen! The Godfrey family were always very active.
The reunion cake was cut by Mrs Judy Rickard who was a teacher her from 1981-1989. She was helped by her daughter Suzie who attended as a child and now her grand-daughter, Audrey who is currently enrolled with us and her grandson Noah, who was with us in 2013 and 2014.
But that wasn't all! The cake was donated by Christine Pitt whose daughters attended in 2009 and 2012.
Entertainment was provided by Graham Kite who has been doing magic here since 1990 and what's more he donated his time.
Holly (who was our event photographer) summed it up as she was leaving. She said, "Hubby I didn't understand about the whole community thing before today but I get it now!" Please share this message with everyone you know.
Yours in educaiton,
14 September 2015