Investment in training pays off at Traralgon Conway Court
Children and families at Goodstart Traralgon Conway Court
have benefitted from a number of improvements made at the centre thanks to an investment in training and development.
Centre Director Nathan Brown used an intensive Goodstart training program to gain additional knowledge and capability, which has seen the centre’s quality improve and occupancy nearly double over the last 18 months.
“The two stand-out themes in family feedback were that the centre looked cluttered and old, and that families didn’t feel like they understood our program,” Nathan said.
“The first thing we did was to focus on de-cluttering the centre. I thought it was important to set the tone for the team so I started with our foyer area.
“There was a huge bench along the length of the foyer which had become a hoarding location. I removed that and brought in more appropriate furniture to create a homely feel when families first walk through the door.
“I added a water feature which softens the sounds that can echo through the centre and creates a more relaxing and therapeutic environment.”
Nathan’s team then followed suit and in some cases took rooms back to a blank canvas, as the centre transformed into a refreshed and stimulating learning environment.
“We’ve been clever with the things we’ve changed, and without having a major renovation it’s almost like we’ve created a whole new centre.”
Providing more consistent and relevant feedback to families was next on the improvement agenda, which involved reflections on the type of communication families needed to ensure they understood the quality of the centre’s program.
“We’ve stepped up the expectations of family engagement in our team.
“The type of feedback we had been providing was superficial and didn’t speak to our quality. We now educate our families when staff get new qualifications, we talk about the program so they understand the educational value and we include them on the journey of their child’s development.”
In a town with several other childcare centres, establishing points of difference from other services was another important change made by Nathan and his team.
“Because of the nature of the sector in the town and our own internal capability we decided to establish two kindergarten rooms, one for three year olds and one for four years olds, as our point of difference.
“Recruiting great teachers is usually challenging but we were lucky to have one of our existing staff complete her degree in primary and early education. It allowed us to grow our team internally and establish this point of difference.
“It’s really helped us transition our toddlers into the kindergarten program and retain families, as they can see the journey their child is on and that we have a long term plan to prepare them for the next room and then school.”