9 tips for a more environmentally sustainable centre

These great tips are really easy to implement around your centre. The children will learn so much from being involved in these experiences. 

🚰 Recycle water the children have left over after they have a drink. Get them to help empty their water bottles or cups on to indoor plants or in the garden and watch the greenery grow!

🥕 Start a small veggie garden, you can even grow something in small ice cream containers, old gum boots or milk bottles. The kids will love eating what they’ve nurtured.

🍳Ask families to donate clothes, kitchen utensils, and other household items for the children to play with in the home corner or sand pit.

🐛 Start a compost bin.

🗑Transform the home corner into a recycling depot, complete with items to sort into recycling bins

🌱Organise an excursion to buy seedlings from the local nursery, let the children choose their own and then watch them grow together.

♻️ Recycle paper in a box for children to use in their art experiences.

🖼Encourage the use of natural art experiences.  Drawing in the sand or using fallen leaves to create a mosaic for example .  Take photos and digitally display these art works.

💻Strive as a centre to be a paperless as possible. Email newsletters and notes rather than having paper versions. Like this email (Don’t print it!)

Let’s work towards introducing more sustainable practices into our centres where we can. It’s an amazing way to introduce the concept of sustainability to the kids, and it also helps our planet. 


Creating a Space Children Will LOVE

How inspirational is your room? 

The way a room is set up can have a huge impact on how children learn. This week we take a look at how to assess your room, and provide tips on how best to make it an incredible learning environment.  We interviewed Megan who has 20 years of experience in the industry and is a Director (as well as a trainer) here at ECT:  

What’s the best time to asses the room?

It’s great to walk into the room when it’s empty. Does it feel cluttered? Is there enough room for the children to move freely? Are there spaces where they can play quietly? 

We also need to be mindful of not providing too many options and over stimulate the room as this can cause problems for some children. 


What questions should you ask yourself and your team when preparing the room?

Ask yourself: 

  • How does it look?

  • How does it feel?

  • Is it a place you’d like to play in?

  • Have you taken the children’s individual needs and interests into account?

  • Does it feel cluttered or is it open?


How often would you suggest mixing things up? 

Evidence suggests that leaving the same room setup for long periods of time is a great way for children to build their sense of agency. They become confident in how the day is going to look and start to teach each other about how the day will unfold


However children can get bored, but that could be because they haven’t discovered everything available in the room. If  you find areas that aren’t being used, go and sit with the children and see if you can create some new excitement. 

How do you give the children a voice in the room layout? 

Children’s ideas should be brought to life in these rooms. They should feel like they really contributed. Have a planning meeting to talk about where they would like things to be. 



Room setup is so important. It creates an environment that is ready for some enthusiastic play. Include children in the process, they will love playing in a world that they helped create.


How to keep your centre safe and your staff happy

Creating a safe workplace is the responsibility of everyone working there. It’s important that all hazards are reported to employers so they can ensure a safe working environment. 

This week we take a look at the list of common risks and hazards in Early childhood education and care and the positive impact prioritizing safety can have on the workplace.


Common Risks & Hazards

Worksafe Victoria has identified the following common hazards & risks in their ‘Early childhood education and care: Safety Basics’ factsheet

* Lifting, carrying and moving children and objects

* Working at low levels (on the floor or children’s furniture)

* Slips, trips and falls, for example on the floor or children’s furniture

* Standing on chairs and tables to put artwork up

* Communicable diseases

* Work-related stress

* Bullying and harassment


Positive Impacts of a safe workplace.

Prioritising safety will have a positive impact on the workplace and not just in regards to the main goal of less injuries, it can also;

  • Strengthen the employee / employer relationships 

  • Increase motivation

  • Foster a caring environment &  open communication 

  • Make the workplace a happy place to work 

  • Encourage discussion around OH&S issues

  • Minimises injury & claims 


The Detailed Facts

This fact sheet from Worksafe Victoria* provides further information on risk assessment, and the roles and responsibilities of the employee and the employer in maintaining a safe workplace.

*this information covers Victorian workplaces, make sure you seek information relevant to your state.


Cracking the code on hiring and interviewing

Hiring for centres or even looking for a new role can be a really challenging task. 

That’s why we reached out to Gina Rosenberg who, along with her husband Sam has owned and operated childcare centres for over 20 years. Check out the tips below.

First a little background:

Working with children has been a lifelong passion for Gina. 

She believes the key is to really “see“ the child and what it is that the child needs to learn, grow and feel good about themselves. 

We want them to become incredible contributors to themselves, their family, their community and the wider world, and It’s the people that surround them that guide their future

The Resume

It’s your very first introduction so be sure to provide a great resume. Include details on the following specific topics to really help supercharge that first impression. 

  • Qualifications 

  • Work experience 

  • Extra curricular / hobbies

  • Career Goals.  

  • Learning philosophies 

  • References 

 

Pre Interview

Brush up on your theories of child pedagogy, the EYLF, outcomes for children, belonging, becoming and being, as well as the regulations. 

Do research on the centre, learn what’s important to them. It’s very important to show the interviewer that you share the same visions and goals. 

At the Interview

Ensure you are a little early so you’re ready to go at your appointed time.

Key areas of interest:

  • A great attitude to teamwork 

  • A sense of happiness 

  • A willingness to work hard 

  • A drive to continue to learn 

Bring with you :

  • Certificates for any courses completed

  • Police check

  • First aid certificates 

  • Examples of planning or documentation if you have these

The key areas that are always touched on: 

  • Early Childhood Knowledge 

  • Working as a team 

  • Organisational and interpersonal skills 

  • Experience 

  • Flexibility and creativity

Examples of questions that might be asked: 

  • How would you set up a room?

  • How would you supervise a room?

  • When running group time what do you like to do?

  • How do you approach indoor /outdoor play? 

  • How do you deal with a challenging child? 

  • Tell me about relationships with families and what you see as important?

  • What are your philosophies about children and how they learn?

One moment that has truly stuck with Gina:

“When we opened our first Early Learning Centre in 1996 on our final inspection by the health department, the Inspectors final words to me were,

Remember your service is only going to be as good as your staff members’”


Behaviour Guidance - The three simple steps

When a child’s behaviour requires addressing it can be difficult for even the most experienced educators. For many of us, Behaviour Guidance may not come naturally or we may need to seek advice and support from management or co-workers and this is ALWAYS ok.  

In fact we encourage it.  

Getting other perspectives on a situation is a great way to formulate a plan of action.

Here are 3 simple steps you can follow when approaching Behaviour Guidance


1. Work as a team.

Supporting the team is the main priority when you have challenging behaviors in a room. Get your room staff together and listen to their concerns. Clarify what concerns they feel are most important.


2. Build Your Plan.

Be clear about a plan and how to support the child and other children in the room. This needs to be implemented as soon as possible. This plan of action needs to be revised and assessed often. 


3. Observe and Evaluate.

After implementing a plan of action, take note of what happens before during and after the event.  Continue these observations for a few days. Bring the team back together for an open conversation about it. 


These 3 steps will ensure your team is on the same page, and the child is getting the support they need. 


Megan Sharman

How does the new Educator Minimum Wage effect you?

The recent announcement by the Fair Work Commission to increase award wages and the national minimum wage by 3% was much needed. ECT welcome this increase as an attempt to show appreciation to this valued sector.

The increase will apply only to those educators receiving their pay rates from the national minimum wage, a modern award or in some cases a registered agreement. Educators who currently receive above minimum wage pay will not officially qualify for the increase unless there is an arrangement with the employer to pass on these increases even for above award wages.

The increase, which came into effect on the 1 July 2019, is definitely one that Educators should take as a small victory that should be celebrated. At ECT we understand how important Educators are and are delighted that their important work remains acknowledged.

The increase was effective from the 1 July 2019 which means Educators should see the increase from the first full pay period that starts on or after 1 July 2019.

To understand more about the increase, please review this document.

Best,

Sam Rosenberg
Director
Early Childhood Training