Albury Preschool Director shares the importance of strategic planning in ECEC
The Sector > Quality > In The Field > Albury Preschool Director shares the importance of strategic planning in ECEC

Albury Preschool Director shares the importance of strategic planning in ECEC

by Freya Lucas

November 08, 2022

Albury Preschool Director Jo Barton has been at her service for 22 years, and recently shared her perspectives about the importance of strategic planning, and how this supports the staff of the service with the NSW Department of Education


“Your strategic plan is the overarching document on which you then base your daily tasks,” Ms Barton said.


“It’s basically what informs your vision, and where your service is going as a whole – it’s the overarching information you need when planning your operating model.”


When first creating a strategic plan, Ms Barton continued, it’s important to consider the context of the service, where it is based, and the future direction of the service. 


Key to effectively reflecting the context of the service is to have ongoing discussions with staff and families to ensure that all voices are heard and valued, she added. 


At Albury Preschool, this is achieved through a series of surveys. 


“We conduct an annual survey to get feedback from our staff, and we always get a 100 per cent response rate – they’re very interested in being a part of the decision-making process,” she explained.


“We also survey families both directly after the orientation process and towards the end of the year.”


This collaborative approach is one way in which the preschool demonstrates mutual respect between management, educators and staff, in line with Element 4.2.1


Team-based decision making is another priority for the service, which has been achieved in a number of ways, such as restructuring staff meetings to ensure that team-based collaboration is a priority, and that the time is used wisely.”


“We don’t get a lot of whole group staff meetings, so we keep them focused on professional development, reflection and growth, and keep the everyday housekeeping items to emails or team chats,” Ms Barton explained.


“Having the opportunity to share thoughts and reflect on our practices as a team definitely impacts the wellbeing of our staff.”


The staff-centred focus followed by Albury Preschool has created an environment in which there is exceptional continuity of staff.


“We have longevity of staff because our team feel very satisfied and valued by management personnel, which also helps us attract new staff,” Ms Barton believes.


“This satisfaction comes from us constantly seeking and being guided by their opinions, as well as ensuring that their professionalism and qualifications are recognised through pay and conditions.”


“This continuity of staff ties in with our philosophy which is all about relationships both with families and the children.”


“These relationships are what we value the most, as that’s how we believe children learn best: by developing and maintaining those relationships.”


Learn more about Albury Preschool here

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