Celebrating one year at Winyu Early Childhood Service

30 May 2016

Despite some rain and a chilly morning fog on Saturday, our team of educators met at the Winyu Early Childhood Service in Gungahlin bright and early.

We gathered to prepare for our very first birthday event, celebrating our newest service turning one. In between hanging pieces of artwork and photos in our gallery, the significance of the past 12 months suddenly hit us!Winyu's library

Winyu opened in the first week of May in 2015 and in the first 12 months, we have welcomed 177 families into our community.

We have educated and developed relationships with 215 children.

We have published 1069 pieces of documentation on children’s learning to their families.

We have also built a team of educators who have created something special at Winyu, much more than can be explained by facts and statistics.

At Winyu, we go by the motto “It takes a village to raise a happy and healthy child” and when I was walking around the service on Saturday, it was easy to see the evidence of our village.

We opened our doors on Saturday to the Canberra community, to new and existing families, to our educators and any others in Canberra who wanted to visit.

We were thrilled to have approximately 150 people attend, a real testament to the local community’s interest in early education. It was fantastic to meet new families and share some delicious food cooked by Jenny, Winyu’s chef.

Everyone in the community was invited to our open day, because we’re all about sharing this experience and the value we believe it adds to the lives of the children we work with every day.Artwork from Winyu

Looking at the photos we’ve taken over the past 12 months (believe me there’s thousands of them!) it’s clear that there’s something special happening here.

Winyu is unique in many ways, so it’s been a journey of discovery for all of us. The children here are not segregated by age, the educators work as one whole team, we all share meals together each day and we have a combined sleep and rest area that every child can access throughout the day, when it suits them.

The rationale behind all of these decisions is a significant amount of research into early childhood development, known as a ‘socio-cultural’ approach to learning. This approach looks at lifelong learning and the impact we can have on children’s lifelong health, wellbeing and success, within this critical period of development.

Winyu looks different, operates differently and often needs an explanation. However,  once you meet our children and families, I’m sure you’ll see what we see.

We see children who rock climb before they walk, toddlers who confidently maintain multiple intergenerational relationships, preschoolers who are advocates for themselves as well as each other, and all in an environment that is immersed in 16 languages.Animals at Winyu

Winyu is a brilliant case study in what happens when you stop repeating the same practices ‘because that’s the way it’s always been done’ and take the same approach to early childhood education that we take to many other challenges within our community.

Every child has a right to education, and education starts at birth, not five years later.

Early education has a positive impact on our community when it’s considered as a human right, with a family-centred approach to having an impact, resulting in empowering the future generations of leaders.

Thank you to everyone who celebrated with us on Saturday. We open our doors to the Canberra community every morning at 10am, so come on down and see what a different approach to early education looks like!

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