An all round education at Forest ChildcareForest Childcare Centre in Rodborough Road, Frenchs Forest, is a caring and nurturing environment for babies and children aged from six weeks to six years. Each age group is carefully developed at their own pace, whether it’s encouraging the babies to sit or take solids, or teaching the six-year-olds to read and count as they transition to school. Centre Director Kay Doyle, whose experience as a children’s educator spans 45 years, understands that every day is a new day for young children and the opportunity to discover things for themselves at their own pace is a rare privilege. She ensures her centre’s educators are finely tuned into each child’s individual needs. "In classrooms at school, teachers have to teach to the middle group," Kay says. "Whereas here we have the luxury of teaching to each child’s individual needs." Kay recognises the role pre-school education plays in teaching children how to socialise and interact with each other and values her role in laying these important foundations for life. It is why she has introduced an impressive and comprehensive Sustainability Program to Forest Childcare that includes growing their own vegetables and recycling every conceivable scrap of craft, paper or food.
Fresh from the veggie patch
A stroll through the corridors of the centre mid-morning gives the first hint of the centre’s successful Sustainability Program. While listening to the children playing, laughing and learning, your senses are suddenly assaulted by the delicious aroma wafting from the kitchen. Nui, the centre’s chef is cooking lunch, some of it from home-grown ingredients. "Aaah, yes, Nui is the hub of our centre," admits Forest Childcare Director, Kay Doyle. "The children love to think the veggies and herbs they see growing in their garden are included in their lunch. It’s a great connection for them to see their seedlings grow into food." Carrots, spinach, cabbages and beetroot are among the vegetables grown, along with a variety of herbs and lemons, picked fresh from the tree. Eggs are also collected from the chooks and all recyclable food scraps are tossed into the worm farm.
Out with the garbage!
The biggest challenge Kay faced with her Sustainability Program was reducing the amount of garbage going through the centre. Realising much of it could be recycled, the Forest Childcare team set up a collection bench for boxes and plastic bags to be reused either by centre staff or parents. Unwanted craft and decorations are also being pulled apart for pieces that can be used again, an important lesson for young children living in such a disposable society. Conserving electricity and water are next on the list for the centre’s Sustainability Program with Kay researching various methods to save on costs and output while maintaining efficiency. "It’s a great way for our children to learn about their environment and sustainability." Kay says. "Their little brains are like sponges and they learn through play and role modeling. These are lessons they’ll take with them through life."
It’s become a family affair
And it’s not just the children who are learning. Kay says the centre’s Sustainability Program has been so successful that many of the children are taking their lessons home to influence their families to focus more on recycling. "While we try to teach our children about life, our children teach us what life is about," she said. Kay counts caring for the environment as important as guiding baby’s first step, teaching toddlers to wash their hands, or young children their ABCs. Give your children the chance to learn it all at Forest Childcare Centre at 5/10 Rodborough Road, Frenchs Forest.