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Centre Spotlight: Inspiring commitment and strong reputation with our 2023 Centre Team of the Year

Chatting with Goodstart Elara - Harvest Street winner of the Goodies 2023 Centre Team of the year award.

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Article by Emily Boland

Goodstart has a proud culture of centres with strong reputations, and Goodstart Elara – Harvest Street is a shining example of this. In just 18-months of opening, the team has established itself as a best practice centre helping provide best outcomes for the children in their care.

Renowned throughout their community for excellence, Goodstart Elara – Harvest Street has been assessed as an Exceeding centre, and now embarking on its next challenge to be awarded a coveted Excellent rating.

The team’s journey started in February 2022 with an empty vacant purpose-built service. Through their exceptional hard work and dedication, the centre was transformed into a highly recommended, thriving early education and care service for the Elara local community. They now support over 100 families and 150 children each week, with over 1000 families eagerly waiting on the waitlist.

Centre Director Lisa Emme, who has been with Goodstart Early Learning since its inception, reflected on her team’s journey.

“We believe that our hard work and dedication to early education and making children central to everything that we do is very much highlighted in our assessment and rating results – receiving exceeding in all 7 areas.”

“Through our team’s commitment, dedication and passion for high quality early learning and embedding practices across the service, we have been able to achieve highly collaborative, strong, secure and reciprocal relationships with both our families and community members. The team continuously embraces opportunities to learning and grow, uplifting their practice through mentoring, professional development and critical reflection, while being part of a supportive team experience.”

In transforming their centre, the team prioritised critical reflection. By gaining feedback from all key stakeholders in their community, including team members and families, they continued to build upon the foundations of the centre team philosophy and vision to create a culture where everyone is valued, heard, and empowered to strive for greatness regardless of their position or qualification.

Lisa said key aspects of their practice that have contributed to their high performing culture and Exceeding rating, include regular mentoring and coaching opportunities for practice uplift and sharing of ideas.

“Frequent reflection has helped address gaps, both personally and across the centre, and external involvement and collaborations have helped us meet professional development goals too.

”Our team is actively involved in the NSW Government Munch & Move program to inspire healthy choices, and we have an Elder in-residence program in the Blacktown Arts Centre. These external involvements go a long way to enriching our learning, as well as children, and contribute to our professional growth as educators and teachers.”

Through Goodstart’s centre-led approach the team have been able to shape their own journey to achieve their goals, with wrap-around support and assistance from state and regional performance teams.

In 2023, the team’s dedication to excellence was recognised – awarded one of Goodstart’s most prestigious Goodies Awards, Centre Team of the Year.

Lisa said the team was both honoured and proud to receive the award.

“It's acknowledgement of the work that we have committed to and achieved to date. This award demonstrates our vision and reassures us that we are providing all children and families with high quality care and education.”

“We are super proud of our team and how we have grown together throughout our journey over the past two years. We started with a blank canvas and turned this into an extraordinary piece of work. This award symbolises all the hard work and dedication our team have brought to the service each and every day”.

“Our journey has not been without its challenges, but each challenge has made us stronger and more determined to achieve greatness. This has been the most rewarding journey, and this award has inspired us to continue pushing boundaries.”

In addition to a trophy and other award collateral, the Goodstart Centre Team of the Year was awarded a $2,500 budget for team building initiatives, and a masseuse for the day to support their wellbeing (10-minute massages) for all of their team.

You can watch a snippet of the team’s acceptance speech below.

The National Goodies Program is a reward and recognition program to celebrate Goodstart’s focus on shaping young lives and enriching the communities in which we live and work.    

Learn more about the Goodies here.  

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