Collaborative partnerships a priority for Marayong Preschool Kindergarten

Collaborative partnerships a priority for Marayong Preschool Kindergarten

by Freya Lucas

May 23, 2022

Building meaningful, mutually respectful relationships with families well before the first day of preschool is central to the philosophy of Marayong Preschool Kindergarten, who have shared the story of their success with the New South Wales Department of Education

 

Marayong Preschool Kindergarten Director Julie Bawden has worked at the service for 36 years. Over this time, forming relationships with families prior to preschool starting has enabled Julie and other educators to be responsive and adaptive to children’s needs.

 

Families at Marayong are encouraged to join educators as active partners who work together to create a nurturing, dynamic and inclusive environment in which children can thrive.

 

The preschool offers education and care to over 80 children across a week, at least 16 of whom have additional needs, and the initial connection between educators and families begins when children visit the service in the year prior to commencement for orientation days or pre-planned visits. 

 

By sitting down with children and families at the start of their learning year, staff work together to foster a collaborative and inclusive culture which supports element 6.2.2.

 

“At the interview, I chat with parents about how they’d like us to help them with their child’s goals, aims or whatever they’d like them to learn throughout the year,” Ms Bawden explained.

 

“Through that conversation, we find out their interests, things they dislike and what they thrive at so we can aim to have play-based activities around those particular needs.”

 

These conversations then form the foundation for strong ongoing discussions where each side continually updates the other of children’s needs .

 

“We use communication books for parents and send home visuals so they can see what their child has done during the day or to prompt language from the child,” Ms Bawden added, noting that educators freely share resources with families to support children’s ongoing learning in the home.

 

“At enrolment time, all of our preschoolers get a visual timetable and a visual book about what happens from when they walk in the door right through to the end of the day.

 

“They also get visual resources on how to tell us something’s wrong if they can’t verbalise it, which parents can use at home. And at least the children are familiar with them before they come to the centre.”

 

Families also contribute to this transition and programming by sharing information and tools with educators at the preschool.

 

“A couple of our children use communication devices like Proloquo2Go, so we’ve had to learn how to use those,” Ms Bawden said.

 

“Parents and carers walk us through that journey of how to use these devices on a weekly basis as they add more features to them.”

 

Ms Bawden considers this two-way support essential in helping children reach learning outcomes.

 

Therapists are also central to these collaborative partnerships at Marayong Preschool Kindergarten as they share advice on what families and educators can do to support the children’s ongoing development in the areas they are working on.

 

Creating these connections is key to the inclusive practices on display in the kindergarten, and in achieving quality outcomes for children. 

 

“My staff are just so in tune with these children – even just little achievements are magnificent achievements,” she said.

 

“One particular boy a couple of years ago was non-verbal for the first, second and third term. Then suddenly in fourth term he just began to talk. And it was the most wonderful experience for all of us and with the family as well. It was just amazing.”

 

To learn more about Marayong Preschool Kindergarten, please see here

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