KU celebrates strong showing in HESTA Awards finalists list
A number of educators and services operating under KU Children’s Services have been named as finalists in the 2021 HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards.
The team from KU Isobel Pulsford Memorial Preschool were recognised for embracing a culture of inquiry and creating a space for the community to thrive.
The preschool has taken on a revitalised view of pedagogical practice, which sees young children as capable, resourceful thinkers and producers of knowledge. This new way of thinking has also enabled parents to re-examine their assumptions and engage with their children in new and exciting ways.
As a result, many families are now embracing a more inquisitive approach to early learning. The child is celebrated as co-researcher, co-constructor and a key companion in the learning and teaching experience.
Should the KU Isobel Pulsford Memorial Preschool team achieve success in winning the Award they will support professional learning and create a framework to support colleagues reimagining their work practices.
Colleagues from KU West Pymble Preschool were recognised for their efforts in incorporating sustainability into their pedagogy and practice, contributing to their vision for a better, healthier world.
Their approach has inspired children to think about living responsibly and caring for the environment. In consultation with families, the children have initiated actions regarding recycling, waste, water and power management, as well as identifying practices to be adopted in the home.
This work has also highlighted the children’s capacity for civic participation. After the preschool implemented a program to develop understanding of the local bush, the children noticed the local creek had turned orange. They took water samples and worked with the local council to help monitor the water quality.
This culture of learning has inspired the entire community. It has positioned KU West Pymble Preschool and the children as leaders in sustainable practices and has helped the children develop empathy, resilience, and respect.
Jackie Staudinger was also recognised as a finalist for her astute and dedicated leadership of the team at KU Macquarie Fields Preschool, supporting educators to create a thriving learning community.
As Director of the preschool, Jackie guides the team in research and evidence-based practice, re-imagining new ways of teaching and delivering programs that are valued by the local community.
Within the preschool’s Healthy Eating Project, Jackie has established partnerships to help communicate information on nutrition and healthy eating. She has partnered with the NSW Government’s Munch and Move health initiative, community health services and ‘Chef Charlotte’, who has provided cooking experiences for children and parents.
Should Ms Staudinger be successful in the Awards she plans to attend a study tour in the Northern Territory, where she will work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to build a deeper knowledge of culture, connection to Country, and authentic pedagogy.
For further information about the HESTA Awards finalists, please see here.