Life skills key to school readiness for Acacia Hill
The Sector > Provider > General News > Acacia Hill Childcare focuses on life skills in school readiness refresh

Acacia Hill Childcare focuses on life skills in school readiness refresh

by Freya Lucas

May 21, 2024

Perceptions of what it means to be ‘school ready’ have evolved rapidly over the years, with early childhood educators increasingly advocating for school readiness to focus not on academic skills, but rather on having the social and emotional tools they need for success, like the capacity to be a resilient learner, or having the capacity to regulate their own emotions. 


Fiona Lowell, Company Director and Early Childhood Teacher at Acacia Hill Childcare has prepared the following reflection, sharing the journey her service undertook to re-examine school readiness in light of community concerns about children’s preparedness for the next stage of their academic journey. 


Lacking life skills


This process began approximately five years ago, in response to concerns from parents, families and the broader Acacia Hill community – children were starting school without the fundamental life skills they needed to be successful. 


This deficit not only affected the children’s confidence but also placed a significant burden on teachers in the early schooling years. 


In response, Acacia Hill, led by Ms Lowell’s passionate vision, embarked on a transformative journey to redefine school readiness, and prioritise the cultivation of crucial life skills.


Grounded in framework and theory 


The foundation of the transformation was a thorough review of both the Early Years Learning Framework and the National Quality Standard. 


Through that process, educators were quickly able to identify specific life skills which were then integrated into the service curriculum, complementing existing school readiness initiatives centred on literacy and numeracy. 


The emphasis shifted towards fostering age-appropriate skills that gave children a robust foundation, nurturing their knowledge base, resilience, and self-assurance.


Embedded in practice 


Linking in with Acacia Hill’s philosophy is celebrating and acknowledging achievements – and this is a space where the team saw a natural alignment with its new focus on developing children’s ‘soft skills’ in order to be ready for school. 


Regular room ceremonies were introduced, celebrating children’s individual milestones, while also fostering a sense of resilience, with children quickly realising that not every child would be recognised on every occasion. 


Life skills are now part of the ongoing curriculum in all rooms of the service, facilitating intentional progression from nursery through to kindergarten, with each achievement serving as a stepping stone toward mastering subsequent skills. 


Families have noticed the difference they can see in their children through the dedicated life skills curriculum, and have praised the service not only for the work done with the children directly, but also for the work the Acacia Hill team put into helping parents develop resilience in their children. 


Parents are empowered through targeted conversation, resources, in centre events and other avenues to cultivate resilience in their children, fostering independence and self-reliance, promoting familial unity and cooperation, and addressing generational issues to sow the seeds of transformation for future generations.


Making a difference 


Through its tailored approach to fostering resilience and confidence, Acacia Hill has witnessed remarkable transformations in its young learners, who are now known more broadly in their community for embodying integrity, compassion, and a thirst for continuous learning. 


With the 2025 AEDC data collection now underway, the team looks forward to the results for their region, which they will use to further refine their program, continuing with its close ties with schools in the area to ensure the best outcomes for the children in their care. 


Learn more about Acacia Hill Childcare using the link provided. For additional perspectives on school readiness, please see here.

Download The Sector's new App!

ECEC news, jobs, events and more anytime, anywhere.

Download App on Apple App Store Button Download App on Google Play Store Button