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New challenges await Doveton College early learning director

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Michele Watson is aware she is going to face many challenges in the year ahead.

After spending years as a centre director at Goodstart Early Learning, she has taken up a secondment in the Early Learning Centre at Doveton College (pictured above) in Victoria.

The first of its kind in Australia, Doveton College, aims to contribute to better learning, development and wellbeing outcomes for children and families facing disadvantage, and has classes for students up until Year 9. It is in an economically disadvantaged and culturally diverse community.

It was set up by The Colman Foundation, a philanthropic organisation that committed to becoming directly involved in the education of children in an area with a high migrant and refugee population.

“I’m so excited to be part of this because there is so much going on here,” Ms Watson said.
“Many of the children here have priority circumstances which means a lot of them have additional needs and so the funding at the centre generally covers additional educators,” she said.

With funding from the state and federal governments, the early learning centre opened in 2012 and has a higher number of qualified educators at the than the minimum standard required. It also has less children per educator.

“We have three early learning rooms, with bachelor trained teachers in each room,” Ms Watson said.

“The college aims to give the children the skills and tasks they need in life by instilling a love of learning and I’m hoping to take my findings back to Goodstart.”

During her time at Doveton, Ms Watson will receive ongoing mentoring with the former early learning centre director and Goodstart Early Learning board member June McLoughlin.

During her first week in the job, Ms Watson said she was keen to promote Doveton’s commitment to providing more preschool education and early intervention before children start primary school.

“I am studying a Bachelor of Social work at the moment and have a keen interest in the education of children. When I learnt about this position, I knew I had to give it a go and believe I have a lot to offer the children here.”

Ms Watson expects to stay at Doveton for two to three years. 
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