Dr Melinda Miller joins G8 Early Learning team as education strategy takes shape
G8 Education has confirmed that Dr Melinda Miller has joined the newly formed Early Learning and Education team as Pedagogy and Practice manager and will join Julie Madgwick, Head of the Early Learning and Education, and Jane Dunstan, as Practice Development Manager.
Dr Miller, an early childhood teacher, researcher and consultant, was a lecturer and researcher at Queensland University of Technology for 10 years prior to joining G8, and is a recognised authority in the areas of child development, cultural inclusion and sustainability education as well as having her research published in multiple national and international journals.
Dr Miller joins Ms Madgwick, who commenced her role as Head of Early Learning and Education in January, and Ms Dunstan, a long term G8 team member, at the Group’s support office in Varsity Lakes, Queensland.
Research phase now complete and team in place
In the months leading up to Dr Miller’s appointment, Ms Madgwick made it a priority to spend as much time as possible in the field, meeting educators, teachers and leaders, so as to ensure that she had a complete picture of the strengths and weaknesses of early learning and education practices across the organisation.
This research period lasted approximately six weeks and consisted of countless hours travelling from centre to centre with the Group’s Regional Managers. A series of regional “town hall” like sessions were conducted with as many as sixty team members from a diverse range of centres gathering together to share their first-hand experience as G8 team members with a view to identifying trends and in turn solutions to address any issues identified.
“Running sessions in the World Café style enabled us to create a safe space for team members to share ideas and innovations as well as interact with each other, in this case educators, teachers and leaders, who all work in the sector for the same organisation” Ms Madgwick noted.
The “World Café Method” is a format for hosting large group dialogue, and Ms Madgwick noted it has proved invaluable as a means of understanding the big picture opportunities and challenges embedded within the organisation and what actions will need to be taken to ensure that early learning and education outcomes are optimised going forward.
Peer to peer learning identified as key component of harnessing the Group’s potential
With over 11,000 team members and 500 centres across the Group, the key to successful implementation of the Early Learning and Education team’s initiatives will be dependent on their ability to empower team members from across the organisation to champion their best practice solutions to each other.
“We have a lot of amazing people out in our teams” Ms Madgwick said “and we want to provide opportunities for people to learn from each other by creating processes to actively encourage the sharing of practices to enhance children’s learning and promote engagement.”
The foundations for this are already in place with Ms Madgwick’s championing of the Prezi presentation software application which will enable team members with strong practice capabilities to share their knowledge across the organisation in an easy to produce, dynamic and engaging format.
“When educators bounce off each other to continuously improve their practice, real innovation occurs. We are working in a time of great change in our sector and embedding critical reflection within our change processes allows us to make sustainable improvements in outcomes.”
This process will also be facilitated by the peer to peer sharing functionality that is embedded in their childcare management system’s educator app that enables team members to distribute programming and documentation across the organisation in a quick and easy way.
With foundations in place, Education strategy creation can commence
Armed with a firm understanding of the Group’s early learning and education landscape, its current strengths and any opportunities to improve, the underlying mechanisms that will drive change across the organisation and a new team, the foundations are in place to start formulating the Group’s first Early Learning and Education Strategy.
“The data gathered over the course of the last several months from engaging with our educators, teachers and leaders will inform our education strategy because the strategy belongs to all of our people” Ms Madgwick said.
The Strategy itself will be formulated with specific reference to G8’s particular characteristics and will be designed to complement and reinforce the National Quality Framework and Early Years Learning Framework in every way.
“Our education strategy sets the direction for G8 Education and is underpinned by the National Quality Framework, our sector’s Code of Ethics and the UN Convention for the Rights of the Child. The key priorities will be designed to promote best practice in our education and care centres across the organisation.”
Work on the G8 Education Early Learning and Education strategy is currently underway with an expectation that it will be published in August 2019.