Home' Belonging Early Years Journal : Vol 5 No 1 Contents BELONGING EARLY YEARS JOURNAL • VOLUME 5 NUMBER 1 • 2016 • 11
at 8.30 am. We have also made some changes to take
into account some of the issues that parents had in
2015 with later finishes.
It’s been a lot of hard work as we only have one
room, but through persistence and working as a
group, both the committee and educators have been
able to handle the issues really well. We look forward to
continued growth in our kinder community.
B: Seaford Kindergarten undertook a substantial
renovation recently. Can you tell us about your
involvement in managing that project?
JR: The renovation was substantial, and it took a
lot of phone calls and letters to the council. Seaford
Kindergarten was a very old-fashioned kindergarten.
The educational staff toilet just had a small door, and
the children could come and speak to you under
the door – which was not very private. The new look
of the kindergarten has made such a difference to
our families, and we now have a gated area that
makes parents feel that their kids are safe. We also
have wheelchair access, so we can accommodate all
children, including those with special mobility needs.
And we all love the new kitchen, as we have a lot of
space to cook with the children.
We worked a great deal with the council to get this
renovation approved, and the council really helped
guide us in the right direction. We recently added
split-system air conditioning to the kindergarten, and
we removed the heaters that were dangerous for
the children. We are in the process of changing our
playground to make it more accessible. This has taken
a lot of planning, but we have received a grant from
the government that will help us achieve our goals.
B: Tell us about your work with recruiting, managing
and supporting the staff at Seaford Kindergarten. What
kind of relationships do you have with the staff?
JR: One of the hardest parts of being president is
hiring staff. This can be a very daunting task because
you want to make sure that you get the right fit for the
kindergarten. Sometimes what you think you want as
a service is completely different to what you choose
after interviewing several candidates. We have been
very lucky in our appointment of teachers, and each
of them brings their own experiences to their roles.
I have a very good relationship with the staff,
whether it is the educators, the cleaners or the
administration. I make sure that I am available to them
whenever they need me. I believe I am approachable,
and I think that my employees feel that their concerns
are heard and dealt with. I have always tried to make
sure that staff members feel like they have a voice in the
kindergarten. Our staff members are invited to attend
our committee meeting each month, where they can
voice their opinions before we vote. I have worked very
hard to make sure that everyone on staff enjoys the
place where they work and that it isn’t a chore.
B: You recently won the 2015 McArthur Volunteer of
the Year award. Congratulations! How did you react to
having your work recognised in this way?
JR: When the vice-president rang to tell me that
she and the secretary had submitted an application, I
was surprised but thrilled. I had a tear in my eye when
I read their submission. It was a huge honour even to
be shortlisted. I had just got out of hospital on the day
of the award, and I wasn’t sure that I would be able
to make the ceremony, but I was so glad that I did.
The stories of all the other shortlisted candidates were
amazing. There are so many individuals that dedicate
their time and effort to early childhood – I was in awe.
You don’t do volunteer work to be recognised, but
when it happens it is such an honour. I love what I do,
and I feel so privileged to work with an amazing group
of women and men, as well as an amazing bunch of
educators. They make all the extra time and energy
spent completely worth it.
B: Why do you volunteer, and what motivates you
to give your time and skills so generously?
JR: My children are what motivates me. I love
to see how what I am doing influences them, and
I love that by volunteering I am helping shape my
children’s future. By attending meetings, I know what
is happening in the sessions. When ideas are bought
up, I can have a discussion regarding the pros and
cons, and I know that, in the long run, my child’s best
interests are being looked after. I also love that my skills
in business and looking after a team can come in
handy in a community kinder.
There are so many
dedicate their time and
effort to early childhood
don’t do volunteer work
to be recognised, but
when it happens it is
such an honour
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