It was a pleasure to welcome so many of our families and some special guests to the College last week to officially open our Early Learning Centre (ELC). This extraordinary facility is the fulfilment of a vision that I had many years ago.
At that time I was asked what my vision was to ensure continued and even greater academic success for our College. I had a number of ideas which formulated a long term plan.
The first part of that vision, which I knew had to be achieved, was to develop a quality Early Learning Centre to build upon the amazing work our Prep staff were already doing with our youngest students.
I saw this as vital for the long term academic success of our students. In fact, longitudinal studies have shown that when asked what pre-school, university students attended when they were young, centres like ours are well and truly over-represented. In other words, the learning and development that happens in the first five years of a child’s life is vital, setting them up for future success.
The vision for the ELC building and the outside playground included having many opportunities for children to play, explore, learn, build, create and belong.
But the building itself was really just part of our vision.
We wanted to build on the great foundation of our amazing Prep staff headed up by our Prep Director Mel Smith. Mel has done a wonderful job building a team of quality educators that are passionate about this age group and they do an exceptional job for our students and families. If you have had children go through our Prep Program you will know what I am talking about.
So we have added to our exceptional Prep staff three specialist services – Speech Therapy (Jo Collier), Occupational Therapy (Amanda Cumming), Child Psychology (Hannah Baker) and a Health Care Professional (Tenille Pratt). These experts are not just on our team to assist those children in need of some extra support, but to proactively give all of our students a boost into their first years of formal schooling.
The neuropathways that are established in the early years of life are hard to change as we age. That is why we are helping to positively develop these pathways from a young age.
Communication skills, vocabulary building, fine and gross motor skills, metacognition, health management, relationships and problem solving skills are all areas of additional investment that our specialists bring. Already we are seeing fantastic results.
The students, families and teachers make up the most important aspects of our ELC vision, but the building design itself also speaks to the vision we have for our students.
The curved glass design is not only there to allow light in but also for our students to look out. In fact, as our Prep students stand at those glass windows and look out they can see the the educational journey ahead of them from the ELC to Junior School then across to Middle School and then finally up to Senior College.
I also love that as they look past Senior College they can see Mt Kembla. I love the symbolism of this mountain because Cedars graduates don’t stop learning when they finish Year 12. There are plenty of mountains to climb and obstacles to overcome in life after school. We are here to help prepare our students for all that is ahead and it starts early – at three years old in the Early Learning Centre.
I was so appreciative of all who came to celebrate with us and stayed for the fun and food, despite the rain. Enjoy the highlights below:
Cedars Building Levy
Each year families contribute to our College via the Building Levy paid as part of school fees. We have a master plan that we are working through to constantly upgrade our facilities and the Building Levy contributes to this plan.
It was exciting to see our students enjoying the new Artificial Turf Futsal Field at Community Connect and every day since.
In addition to this we have also added a flexible wall in between the Year 1 rooms, created a new Senior Science Lab in an existing classroom and I am looking forward to some other projects around the school this year including an undercover area over the Junior School steps to keep our students dry while moving around the school and waiting for buses.
I want to take this opportunity while we are highlighting these new developments in our College, to thank all of our families for the contribution they make each year towards these wonderful enhancements.