Posted September 2014

KU Staff recognised at national Early Childhood Education Awards

Staff from KU Windale and KU James Cahill Preschools, along with KU John J Carroll Educator, Amy Barthet, were recently named as finalists in this year's national HESTA Early Childhood Education and Care Awards.

The awards recognise the skills and commitment of early childhood professionals from across Australia, in the following three categories - Advancing Pedagogy and Practice (KU James Cahill Preschool staff); Excellence in Building Inclusion (KU Windale Preschool staff); and Outstanding Young Graduate (Amy Barthet, KU John J Carroll Preschool).

Each of the KU finalists were flown to the Gala Awards Dinner in Melbourne as part of the recent ECA Conference, where they were recognised for their outstanding commitment to early childhood practice.

KU James Cahill wins Award

The staff team from KU James Cahill Preschool were named as the winners of the Advancing Pedagogy and Practice Award, recognising their work in developing a model of service that promotes the importance of building secure relationships, particularly with vulnerable children and those with challenging behaviours.

"We are extremely proud of this achievement for ourselves and also for KU Children's Services, as we are the first KU service to have received this award," said KU James Cahill Director, Gianna Black.

"It has been wonderful for us to be recognised for our commitment, dedication and innovation in applying relationship-based practice at our centre over the last 13 years."

KU Windale children celebrate

The children at KU Windale Preschool were delighted to be able to see the trophy their centre received in recognition of being named as one of five finalists in the ‘Excellence in Building Inclusion' category.

"I was able to share the HESTA Early Childhood Education and Care trophy that the centre received with the children at preschool and we had a discussion about what the award was for," said KU Windale Preschool, Kate Kinsella.

"The children were very excited to see the special trophy each having a closer look at it and they commented, ‘It's like glass, it could break' and ‘look that's our name on the award because we are the best preschool'," said Ms. Kinsella.

Young Graduate hopes to inspire others

Drawing on the bush experience she led with the children from KU John J Carroll Preschool, Amy Barthet is now looking to inspire other early childhood services.

"My dream is to become a Bush Kinder teacher. I am moving to Canberra later this year and I feel that this would be a perfect opportunity to work with a centre or number of centres to incorporate weekly periods spent with groups of children in a bush setting," said Ms Barthet.

"This would allow children not only to engage with the risk-taking, physical challenges and exploration of nature offered in a one-off bushwalk, but to build on their experiences over a period of time."

"I have been sharing my paperwork with other teachers to encourage them to go for bushwalks with their groups of children. Perhaps a resource could be set up for particular areas - with bushwalking tracks, sample risk assessments and notes for teachers. This could inspire and support teachers who are interested but are not sure where to start."