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Discovering next practice: Goodstarters embarking on professional learning experience in New Zealand

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Article by Sharon Hosking

Six ‘award-winning’ Goodstart educators and teachers are set for the experience of a lifetime, joining Goodstart’s Chief Children’s Officer Sue Robb OBE on an international ‘Discovering Next Practice’ professional learning experience in New Zealand.

This exclusive learning experience, awarded as part of Goodstart’s esteemed Goodies awards, will see six early learning professionals explore New Zealand's early educational landscape from June 10-14. 

Led by Chief Children's Officer Sue Robb, the professional learning experience is designed to foster knowledge exchange and critical reflection, allowing participants to bring back invaluable insights that will influence and enhance continuous practice improvement at Goodstart.

“We strive for exceptional early learning and teaching, aiming to make our practice world-class. This means focusing on delivering best practices and not losing sight of ‘next practice’ – that’s what this initiative is all about,” Sue said. 

"We are thrilled to provide this enriching experience for some of our Goodstart educators and teachers to learn from practices in New Zealand, enhance their professional growth, share their knowledge on implementing the Quality Rating Scales, and help bring back diverse perspectives that will benefit our entire organisation.”

Sue emphasised that the professional learning experience represents far more than a tour; it epitomises Goodstart's commitment to fostering a culture of learning, sharing quality improvement with peers both within and external to our organisation, and excellence. 
 “This is the first of our annual ‘Discovering Next Practice’ professional learning experiences we intend to offer,” she said. 
 “The experience is about sparking curiosity, sharing, learning, and deep reflection. It’s not about just observing; it's about engaging deeply with other early learning professionals and cultures, reflecting and sharing  our own practices, and bringing back thinking that will benefit our entire Goodstart community."

The itinerary includes planned visits with the New Zealand Government, Daisies an internationally renowned centre, and BestStart, one of New Zealand's leading early childhood education providers, which, like Goodstart, is proudly not-for-profit, and other local early learning providers. 
 “The tour will also provide participants with a deep exploration of Maori culture and its integration into early childhood education curriculum,” Sue said. 
 “We’re looking forward to learning more about New Zealand's approach to weaving cultural perspectives, history, and culture into the fabric of their Te Whariki curriculum and early learning programs. At the same time, the New Zealand providers are looking forward to connecting with our Goodstart team and learning more about our quality improvement and practice.”

The 2024 tour participants are Jorja Pinney - Educator, Goodstart Glenfield Park (2023 Rising Star); Goodstart Teacher of the Year joint winners Kylie Ryan from Goodstart Kirwan - Golf Links Drive and Victoria Sims of Goodstart Strathfieldsaye; and Goodstart Educational Leader of the Year joint winners Demee Mumford - Goodstart Doncaster East and Sandra D’Rozario - Goodstart Canning Vale - Batman Road, and 2023 Goodstarter of the Year Ranjitha Prema Vasavan - Centre Director at Goodstart Endeavour Hills, Barnsley Drive.

In addition to the current tour, Sue announced plans for future international learning experiences. 
 "We’ve got our sights on what our next step will be internationally for discovering next practice in 2025. We can’t wait to share this news soon with our Goodstart employees once we launch our 2024 Goodies Awards program."

“The Goodies awards underscore our commitment to recognising and developing talent, and this international learning experience is just one of many ways Goodstarters are supported year-round.”
 Throughout the tour, participants will share their experiences through daily summaries and reflections and will be sharing knowledge gained around the country on their return through workshops with Goodstarters, hosted by Sue Robb and Professor Siraj Iram.

This professional learning experience has been meticulously designed by Sue and shaped with input from international thought leaders Sir Kevan Collins and Professor Iram Siraj, as well as other early learning professionals. The tour aims to leverage the diverse knowledge and experience of each participant and prompt critical reflection, ultimately enhancing each participant's practice and enriching Goodstart through shared insights.

Goodstart Early Learning is a not-for-profit organisation committed to ensuring all children have the best possible start in life. Our mission is to provide high-quality early learning and care, support families and communities, and advocate for policies that improve outcomes for all children. Last year Goodstart invested $23 million in the training and development of its people.

Stay tuned for updates from our team as they embark on this incredible learning experience.

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