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Reflections Magazine : Reflections Issue 57 Summer 2014
REFLECTIONS • GOWRIE AUSTRALIA • SUMMER 2014 - ISSUE 57 15 OUR CONTEXT The Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment's (DETE) Darling Downs South West (DDSW) Region is a vast area west of Brisbane. It covers about 28 per cent of Queensland's geographic area (about the same size as Victoria). The DDSW Region regulates 232 approved services for children aged from birth to school age. It caters for 41,000 students in 211 state school sites. The 2012 Australian Early Development Census results indicate that children in the Darling Downs South West Region are relatively more vulnerable across developmental domains compared with the Queensland and national results. Nearly one in three children starting school in the region were developmentally vulnerable in one or more domains, compared with one in five children nationally. A bridging approach Continuity dilemmas reported to local DETE staff by parents and educators across early childhood education and care (ECEC) and schooling sectors indicated that a capability building approach was required to ensure reciprocal and respectful relationships to support all educators, parents and communities working with children. The Great Start, Great Futures Early Years Transition Approach aims to ensure optimal development and learning experiences for all children from conception to starting school by focusing on 5 leadership pillars that enable purposeful use of data, collaborative partnerships, multi-level support for vulnerable children and families, optimal transition practices and pedagogical leadership. The approach strengthens the capability of school principals to engage in local partnerships that support successful transitions to the first year of schooling. Key to the approach is reframing readiness building on the Ready Child Equation (Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, 2005). By working with early childhood services, families and communities supporting children from conception to age 8, schools investing in a holistic early years approach increase the likelihood that children will have successful early learning experiences. Achievements Schools who have engaged in the Great Start, Great Futures Early Years Transition Approach in the DDSW Region have created innovative, responsive partnerships and initiatives to support transitions that value and promote continuity and change from 0-8 years of age. These have included: • eKindy hubs on school sites in remote communities; • facilitated playgroups that promote the importance of universal access to kindergarten; • early childhood educator networks, including shared professional development and transition planning based on local data; • community early childhood service networks including co-authoring strategies and activities to promote child development, learning and transition; • reinvigorating playgrounds through the lens of the National Quality Standard to create outdoor learning environments; • elevating the concepts of agency, voice and sustainability within the learning program at the school. Looking forward Reciprocal, respectful, informed and productive local partnerships are critical to the wellbeing, development and learning of all children. The DDSW Region will continue to support local collectives in evidence-based responses for learning and development for all children in their community context. Reference: Rhode Island KIDS COUNT (2005). Getting Ready: Findings from the National School Readiness Indicators Initiative: A 17 State Partnership, Providence, Rhode Island: Rhode Island KIDS COUNT. GREAT START, GREAT FUTURES: An Early Years Approach in Darling Downs South West Queensland Engaged Partners Collaborative Leadership Community Data Stories Purposeful Use of Data All children Inclusive Leadership Successful learners Pedagogical Leadership Optimal Transition Practices Procedural Leadership
Issue 56 Spring 2014
Reflections Issue 58 Autumn 2015