The Moreland SCCCCoop
From our director
Welcome to the second issue of our E-Newsletter,
The Moreland SCCCCoop!
Welcome to the mid-year issue of The Moreland SCCCCoop.
And firstly—I have to ask—is it really July?? As you read this, I will be on European soil, enjoying an extended break with family and friends. I can’t say I will miss the Melbourne winter, but I will certainly miss our MCCCC families and the buzz of our centres. We have a big six months coming up, with some fun events for families to enjoy.
A few dates for you diaries:
10 Aug: MCCCC Children’s Art Exhibition
22 Oct: MCCCC Fun Run
6 Nov: Staff PD day – all centres closed
Deputy director Veanne Sanders will be stepping into my shoes while I am away, with Shelley, Adrienne and Allison continuing to hold the fort on the financial, operational and administration front. Dimi will be assisting the team and working on communications two days a week.
Since our last newsletter, we have introduced a three-year-old transitional kinder program, slept at the G for a good cause, revealed a stunning new mural in Tinning Street’s backyard, published a special memoir to honour long-serving member of staff, Maria Koumides—who retired in May after 39 years with MCCCC—and so much more!
A special thanks to all the staff who help makes these events and projects happen and to those families who participate in our various activities, sub-committees, working bee’s etc. It really is a team effort keeping our centres active and engaged!
Rug up, stay warm and I will see you all on Monday 28th August.
Fond farewell Maria Koumides!
What were you doing on 19th March 1978?
Were you even born?? Well, Maria Koumides knows exactly where she was: at Mitchell Street on the day it first opened its doors!
In March, 2017, 39 years after she first started and at the ripe old age of 77, Maria officially finished up with MCCCC. Maria’s warm nature, cheerful disposition and genuine love and affection for the children in her care will be greatly missed by MCCCC’s families, children and staff.
MCCCC has produced a special publication all about Maria; her childhood and young adult life in Cyprus, her expulsion from her homeland after the Turkish invasion in 1974, her earliest memories of Mitchell Street and what lies ahead in retirement. It’s well worth a perusal!
The publication can be downloaded here.
We would also like to thank the Moreland Council for hosting an event to honour Maria and her contribution to the early childhood learning sector at Council Chambers on 23rd May. Guest speakers included the Major of Moreland, Cr Helen Davidson, Shane Lucas, ex-MCCCC parent and current director of the Early Learning Association Australia, and Anne Jorgensen, Chair, MCCCC Committee of Management. MCCCC director Gillian Barclay was on hand to MC the night and the Brunswick Women’s Choir added a lovely, musical note to the evening’s proceedings.
Thank you Maria for your efforts and remarkable contribution over the past four decades!
Three-year-old transitional program
In Term 2 we introduced a specialised three-year-old transitional program delivered by a kinder teacher to cater to the specific needs of this age group as they move out of the toddler years and towards kindergarten.
A three-hour dedicated transition session now takes place each Friday at all three centres.
The program allows our three-year-olds to engage in a more structured program and begin to learn as part of a small group. Children who attend on a Friday are automatically included in these sessions and families who would like their children to attend are encouraged to get in touch with the Centre Manager to check availability.
Benefits of a specialised three-year-old program include:
*supporting language, literacy and numeracy skills
*exposure to new ideas and concepts
*learning to share: resources, spaces, ideas
*learning to become more independent
*learning to become a confident decision maker
*learning to self-regulate and control their own emotions and behaviour.
ELAA conference, 26-27 May
A number of MCCCC staff and sub-committee members presented at the ELAA’s (Early Learning Association Australia) 2017 Early Childhood Education Conference. With the theme ‘Together we grow – the child in focus’, the conference brought together more than 1000 early childhood professionals and a number of speakers across the spectrum of early childhood education from Australia and overseas.
Gill, Bianca and the sustainability sub-committee talked about MCCCC’s journey towards sustainable practice (see Bianca’s Sustainability wrap-up) while Ali Teece and Sarah Thornton presented on ‘Overcoming the challenges of Pedagogical change’.
The presentation explored the John Kottor change model, intertwined with how the MCCCC education leaders successfully facilitated a process of curriculum change.
Ali and Sarah shared their process of critical reflection and how implementing a pedagogical strategy created a focus of intent. At the completion of the presentation many participants commented that they had found the session inspirational and relevant to their needs.
Tinning Street's new mural!
The wall mural in Tinning Street’s backyard was looking a little tired so we engaged the services of a respected local artist/designer to create a new concept and revitalise the space.
A staff sub-committee bounced around several ideas, which germinated from the foundational concept of community and identity. We also wanted to incorporate local landmarks to give the piece a sense of place. Colour was also important, as was utilising shapes in an organic manner.
Matt Thompson from MT Design came up with a couple of concepts to fit our brief and I’m sure you’ll agree that the end product is quite a feast for the eyes! Matt used a modular approach to enable multiple images without creating a clash of visual elements.
The curved shapes (similar to pebbles or a rock wall) helped deliver a natural feeling, whilst also creating clear spaces for the imagery to fit.
It’s lovely that Matt could incorporate local landmarks such as the Brunswick Town Hall, Merri Creek and Ceres—and even a good old Melbourne tram!
We hope our Tinning St staff, families and children, enjoy this artwork for many years to come.
Community Engagement Working Party
Engaging with the local community is something we work at with intention and purpose. Fostering connections with other organisations, groups and individuals, teaches our children that they are part of a bigger picture and that their input and participation beyond home and school is highly valuable.
To this end, we have created a Community Engagement Working Party (CEWP). The CEWP will coordinate the various links we have to community groups such as the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Melbourne City Mission, CERES etc. as well as examine the scope for other connections as well. The working party is a mix of staff reps and parents and will run on similar lines to our Sustainability Sub-committee, which has achieved great things over the past couple of years.
We’ll continue to keep you abreast of the CEWP’s initiatives and ideas over the next few months.
Events & fun stuff
Welcome Event, Sun 19th Feb
In 2017 we combined two successful events from last year in the hope that this one event would be accessible to more families.
Each year we have kicked things off with a Welcome Evening that has always included a Welcome to Country from Colin Hunter, our local Wurundjeri Elder. Last year we spread that across the three centres.
This year, we linked the Welcome Event with the Community Fun Day that we ran for the very first time in October 2016.
Families from all centres attended and although the weather was not kind to us on the day, the mood was festive and cheerful. Thanks to the Wurundjeri Tribe for our Welcome to Country, Smoking Ceremony and Didgeridoo performance.
Again, thanks to the staff and families who assisted with the cake stall, sausage sizzle and face painting.
Money raised on the day went to The Smith Family, which supports the education of children in need.
Sleeping at the G, Thur 4th May
This year, MCCCC registered a team to ‘Sleep at the G’ as a small gesture to acknowledge the tragedy of youth homelessness.
Hosted by Melbourne City Mission, the annual mass sleepover raises awareness and vital funds for its support of more than 5,000 people a week.
The 'Moreland Magic' team comprised of Ben, Beth, Polona, Daniella, Jenny, Brooke, Anjelica, Daniel, Zoe, Adrienne, Allison and Gill.
Many thanks to our team and all those who donated—we managed to raise just over $2,000 for this very worthy cause.
Winter Solstice, Fri 16th June
We had a great turnout to our annual Winter Solstice event this year. The night was cool but clear and the various lanterns, torches and candles looked lovely against the winter sky.
We met at Tinning Street and proceeded to walk to Mitchell Street ‘en masse’. There were lots of giggles from the children as they shone their torches up high into the trees looking for bats and sleeping birds!
Thank you to the staff (especially at Mitchell Street) for turning the centre into such a cosy retreat at the end of the walk! Guests enjoyed sausages in bread, hot beverages, a delicious pumpkin soup, mulled wine, and a variety of yummy slices. There were even marshmallows on sticks for the children to roast over an open fire! Such good fun.
Families left in good spirits and with full tummies!
We look forward to hosting this very popular event again next year.
Art Exhibition, Thur 10th Aug
Staff have been collecting our children’s artwork and keeping it safe over the past few months in preparation for our very own MCCCC Art Exhibition on August 10th!
Resident art lover and educator Amanda Kimionakis (Mitchell St) is project-managing the exhibition and we are all very much looking forward to seeing the children’s creative talents on display.
There will also be a few special prizes for the ‘People’s Choice’ award on the night. Who knows—we might even discover the next Van Gogh or Frida Kahlo!
We are currently confirming the venue and will forward further details a little closer to the date.
Out & about
ArtVo is an ‘immersive’ art gallery that allows children and adults to literally become part of the art! Visitors are encouraged to touch, photograph and interact with the more than 100 hand-painted, three-dimensional artworks.
Children can explore the jungles of Africa, the canals of Venice, the deserts of Egypt and much more within the 11 themed zones.
The museum, situated at the Docklands (next to the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel) is great family fun and well worth a visit.
Sustainability at MCCCC is a core focus and an intrinsic part of our program. Sustainable practices have been put in place across all three of our centres and inform many of our activities both within and outside of the centres.
Bianca Piscitello is our highly enthusiastic Sustainability Officer and she works hard to ensure that MCCCC staff and children are wasting less and recycling more. Bianca also encourages us to be persistently mindful of sustainable habits—both at work, at home and within our local community.
You might have heard of an excellent Australian series screened by the ABC recently, ‘War on Waste’. We highly recommend you catch up with it on ABC
iView if you haven’t already seen the three part doco—it’s an absolute eye-opener and perfectly encapsulates why MCCCC is so committed to
reducing our carbon footprint wherever we can.
Click here to go to ABC iView.
Finally, a reminder that families can recycle printer cartridges/toners as well as mobile phones and their components at Officeworks stores; Coles has drop off bins in their stores for soft plastics; and batteries can be placed in special recycling bins at Aldi stores.
Below is Bianca’s sustainability wrap-up:
All things waste
We’ve put a strong focus on all things waste in the first half of 2017.From the introduction of a recycling point for soft plastics to the removal
of many of the landfill bins across the centres, we have begun our very own ‘war on waste’!
Children and staff have been encouraged to reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink. With the support of our cleaning contractor Jim, we have assessed the wastage across the three centres and have made significant reductions to the amount of waste that we are sending to landfill. Go team!!
Waste workshop at CERES
Following on from a sustainability and waste workshop facilitated by Deanne from CERES and attended by parents, MCCCC team leaders, education leaders and educators, we have updated our sustainability snapshot (an action plan) for the three centres. The MCCCC war on waste is truly underway!
Nude Food Week was a chance to connect the changes at work to our home life and reframe the way we see packaging and waste at home. With some educators having already established excellent sustainability habits at home, Nude Food Week was an opportunity for staff to inspire others through a shared experience at lunch times.
MCCCC presents at ELAA conference
Gillian, Bianca and the sustainability sub-committee presented at Early Learning Association Australia’s (ELAA), ‘Together we grow – the child in focus’ conference in Melbourne on 26 May. The MCCCC video, ‘Enter the Green Warriors’, follows our journey towards sustainable practice by implementing a dedicated plan with the participation of parents, educators’, contractors, neighbours and council, but most importantly, the children.
A star from ResourceSmart
MCCCC is on the verge of attaining a star for the core module of ResourceSmart. This is the culmination of much hard work from many educators, families
and members of management. The ResourceSmart initiative focuses on four main areas: biodiversity, energy, waste and water. We are very excited
to share more about our first star rating with you all once we have the official word!
Childcare subsidy reforms
The Australian Parliament passed the Jobs for Families Child Care Package in March this year.
The Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate will be replaced by a single means-tested Child Care Subsidy from July 2018.
The Government will provide more information about the changes and what will happen during the transition to the new system in the coming months.
Click here for more information via the Department
of Education and Training website.
Healthy screen time
Almost all Australian households own a multitude of devices with screens: TVs, smartphones, video consoles, tablets, lap-tops etc., which are usually readily available at our and our children’s fingertips.
Research shows that there are both benefits and risks to using these devices and that putting in place reasonable limits is crucial to healthy child development and to mitigate any possible negative effects of excessive screen time.
A comprehensive article about Australian children’s screen time can be accessed on Growing up in Australia’s website here.
The Raising Children Network also has some great information about screen time for children, including usage guidelines, quality media choices and internet safety precautions. Click here for more information.
Photo credit: www.cheeseslave.com
Meet a Centre family!
Melanie Burns and Ian Sutcliffe, with children Harry and Archie (Mitchell Street)
“When both the boys finish, it will be a really sad time for us as Mitchell Street and the wonderful staff there have been such a significant part of our family life.”
Melanie Burns says:
“We live in Brunswick East with our two cats Macci and Noi. The kids have always lived here, but Ian and I have also lived in a number of other suburbs across Melbourne (we find the north is way cooler though!) and both of us are originally from Latrobe Valley in Gippsland, where some of our family still lives today.
Harry (five years) and Archie (soon to be three years) have been attending Mitchell Street since they were babies and have developed great relationships with the children and educators over the years. They are both doing kinder (4 year and 3-year-old) at the moment and absolutely love it—in particular, we couldn't have asked for a better program to help Harry prepare for school while still having tonnes of fun!
Ian works in procurement for Asahi and I work in a prisons policy and projects role for Corrections Victoria. While the kids are interested in our jobs, they tell us (at the moment) that when they grow up they’d like to help people and have an exciting job, i.e. fireman, policeman or ambulance officer.
Before kids, Ian and I did heaps of travelling overseas. While the boys have been young we’ve travelled within Australia (which is all that we could manage during this time!), but we’re excited to take them on their first overseas trip to Japan next year.
Another thing that we love to do as a family is support Melbourne Victory in the A-League. We all attend the games and the boys have been Victory members since they were a few days old. They also attend a weekly soccer skills session—perhaps we've got future Victory stars on the horizon? (Well, that’s Ian's and my dream anyway, no pressure boys!
Harry finishes up at Mitchell Street this year as he goes to school, while Archie has two more years left. When both the boys finish, it will be a really sad time for us as Mitchell Street and the wonderful staff there have been such a significant part of our family life. They’ve helped us care for, nurture and teach our boys, as well as supported us as we’ve navigated the roller coaster of parenthood.”