Bondi excursions a winning formula
A surge in the engagement of children and motivation of educators, and an increase in the number of children attending the centres, have been the outcomes of a strategic drive to expand the excursion program at the Goodstart Bondi centres.
Bondi area manager Joanne Conlon said the excursion program began more than two years ago with a commitment to ensuring children spend more time out of the centre than in.
“Our initial motivation was get out in the community to increase our occupancy in centres. The three Bondi centres were at about 70 per cent and we wanted to boost that,” Ms Conlon said.
“But that was just the beginning of the benefits we saw at the centre. The increase to our educator’s motivation and the engagement of our children has been amazing.”
The team began visiting the local shops every day with children in groups as small as four or five, where they learnt how to tie shoe laces, how sausages were made and picked up groceries for the centre.
“We wanted to be seen out and about in the community, but we also wanted to offer the children amazing learning experiences at the same time,” Ms Conlon said.
“We made shopping lists, planned what we needed to buy, and did our research. We visit National Geographic to study topics such as wildlife or space. We visit the pet shop to buy food for our centre fish or drop off shredded newspaper for the animals.”
Every room in the three Bondi centres now go out at least once a day. The team also take trips to the local park every Tuesday where the children extend their gross motor skills, playing on the equipment or just running through the grass.
“We like to take children out together, so they can enjoy building connections in preparation for school.”
The babies also enjoy their excursions, searching for fruit from books such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar and visiting the pet shop.
“It’s been a great experience for everyone in the team, our families and our children,” Ms Conlon said. “The children are happy to be out and learning and learning from people in the community who are experts in their fields.
“They then go home and share their stories with their families, further expanding on their language and understanding of the world around them.”