Oatley West ELC celebrates one year anniversary
Oatley West Early Learning Centre (ELC), the newest early childhood education and care (ECEC) offering for Georges River Council, is celebrating one year of operations this month, acknowledging the significant growth and achievements made by the team since opening.
From a start of 57 children to a “thriving centre filled with 111 happy faces” and another 250 future enrolments in waiting, the service is now one of the most popular early learning centres in the area, accepting enrolments from both local residents and workers, caring for children from birth to school age.
Having opened in September 2020, as Australia was still processing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the growth of the service is significant, Centre Coordinator Germaine Braun said, noting that the public art piece at the entrance is a visual demonstration of the service’s fresh, modern and creative approach to early learning.
With a sound service model and financial framework in place, the Centre was able to waive the first month of enrolment fees through Council’s COVID-19 Social and Economic Recovery Plan, so families could obtain free and essential childcare during the challenging times.
During this time, and in the days since, the service instead offered focused activities for children on topics like sustainability, inclusiveness, connection and wellbeing.
Resources within the centre were all individually selected for their ability to be multi-used, sustainable and where possible, were locally sourced, enabling children to learn through play and for educators to draw on various approaches to support children in achieving their learning outcomes.
“The centre formed an innovative partnership with Council’s Library Services to establish a pilot program known as LibraryGo, where families receive a fortnightly library delivery for reading times at home. The feedback was unanimously positive,” Ms Braun said.
Georges River has six early learning centres owned and operated by Council, caring for approximately 440 children and families.
A new Child Protection Action Plan was also implemented this month, guiding Council to be an inclusive organisation for children’s voices and ensure the safety and protection of its youngest citizens.
Georges River Mayor Kevin Greene congratulated the Oatley West Early Learning Centre’s remarkable year of achievements, especially during the unprecedented global pandemic.
“As a government agency committed to assisting local families and workers to balance work and family responsibilities, Council has for many years promoted a family-friendly community environment,” he said.
“The provision of six early learning centres is a practical demonstration of that commitment. Our Educators deserve praise for their hard work to establish a positive and nurturing environment for all children.”