Nazareth Early Childhood Centre reflects on HESTA Award win
Nazareth Early Childhood Centre recently secured national recognition in the HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards in the category of Outstanding Service.
The HESTA Awards recognise excellence in early childhood education and honour the extraordinary contributions of the front-line educators and carers who play a vital role in Australia’s early childhood education system.
The nomination for the award stemmed from the centre’s dedication to diversity within its community and its innovative approach to children’s literacy development. This includes the ‘Birthday Book’ initiative, as Early Years Director Natasha Walc explains.
“After reviewing our Australian Early Development Census community profile and assessing the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on families and children, we questioned participation, inclusion and equity, and identified a need to provide extra support,” she said.
“As literacy development was a core focus for growth, we began to acknowledge children’s birthdays by gifting them a birthday book, which was grounded in the principle of inclusion.”
Another project of note at the service was a project which documented children’s engagement during story telling experiences, building on their reputation for its unwavering commitment to building community, nurturing family life, and making a positive impact on the world, drawing upon social justice teachings which value the importance of inclusion, and breaking down barriers.
In partnership with Flinders University, Nazareth also provides community Speech Pathologist and Occupational Therapy services, free of charge to families.
“Literacy is fundamental to the way we interact with society… We want our children and the young people we work with to have every opportunity to thrive. If we can provide them with the foundations, then the sky is the limit!” Ms Walc explained during her acceptance of the Award.
For staff at Nazareth, this acknowledgment is a tribute to their initiatives and tireless work.
“The Early Childhood Centre team is imperative to the support that we provide our children and families. But we are also part of a broader community at Nazareth Catholic Community, and we are grateful for the unwavering support from our College Principal and Nazareth Leadership Team,” Ms Walc added.
“We also can’t go without thanking the children and the families; they are the reason why we do what we do.”
The three winners, including Nazareth, each received a generous grant of $10,000 courtesy of ME Bank. This substantial financial support will be used for professional development to enhance the services and processes within the Centre, ensuring that Nazareth continues to evolve and provide the best possible environment for children and families.
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