This is Isla's 3rd and final year at Gumnut. I have found Gumnut always to be very nurturing and interested in hearing about the children's interests, hobbies etc, however this year it has exceeded all our expectations on how inclusive, interested and caring all the educators are.
I was a little apprehensive at the start of the year with the changes of Director, educators and the "new" style of education but all my worries were eased the moment I met Clare.
I loved that Clare had a one on one meeting with all the parents. She was so interested to hear about Isla and our family. Asked me for feedback, good and bad and explained some changes she was thinking of. I felt so included, listened to and appreciated.
Isla has flourished at kindy this year. She has said numerous times that the day goes so fast (because she has had so much fun) and feels like she has only been there for a couple of hours.
The feel of the kindy has a beautiful vibe. So much more artwork, updates and photos hanging up.
The look of the kindy with all the repurposed wooden furniture and the beautiful reading corner with the armchair is just so inviting. I can see why the children love it so much.
I also really appreciate the weekly learning updates we get from Clare. They are so detailed and it's lovely to read about the thought behind each activity.
I have had a few meetings with Clare and am blown away at how proactive
she is. With the feedback I've given her it has been actioned straight away. She is always open to hearing opinions and feedback and takes it all on board. You can tell she really cares about the Gumnut families and wants it to be the best kindy it can be.
Some of the changes I really love are:
Optional rest time- Isla really enjoys the meditation and pillow time looking up at the sky. She actually suggests that we do it at home to relax.
More free play outside- Clare said to me that she is mindful that a lot of children live in units so outside play and exploring is really important. It's so appreciated as we do live in a unit so don't get as much outdoor play as we would like.
Lunch outside- Isla loves having lunch outside instead of inside.
There is so much more I could say as we are just so happy with all the changes that have been implemented but I'll leave it there and finish by saying that I am so thrilled with Gumnut and Clare and the wonderful environment she has created.
6 years ago I was madly trying to work, negotiate all the various offerings of child care locally and the endless wait lists, all whilst toilet training a 2.5 year with a 5month old in my arms. I was stressed and a mess to be honest. And a lot of my stress was about making this huge decision of putting my eldest into care of strangers - outside my home and family - for the first time.
And then one day I got a call from the Gumnut director offering my eldest a place for the next year. As simple as that we had a spot!
Now I must admit that Gumnut wasn’t a option I had really thought through. I applied last minute because of little two line add in our church bulletin. I had thought the hours would not suit my shift work and it was a small Kindy with slightly older facilities and no onsite chef!!
But little did I know what a wonderful place and part of my family Gumnut would become.
Our boys have always loved coming to Gumnut. They have literally fallen in the love with the educators. They have grown and thrived there in the love and care of the educators. Gumnut became an extension of our family.
One of the most special memories is the first time my eldest boy came home and told me about his day at kindy and explained the gospel to me. It was rudimentary and age appropriate but I could see this first tiny grasp of knowing that Jesus died on the cross for him. I couldn’t have been happier.
This year I have watched my youngest grow more exponentially than before. He has developed this confidence and curiosity to explore and investigate the world that I haven’t seen in him before. He has gone from a little guy that arrives at kindy desperate to see the teachers to a young boy who is desperate to discover the learning opportunities for the day. This has helped him in his peer relationships and with his social skills. It has been a joy to hear him teach me and his older brother about the First Nations people of this place and his respect for their culture. The educators are utterly investigated the children’s growth and show great care for the children. The director is an educator and leader who is passionate, hardworking, enthusiastic and totally devoted to the children.
I feel certain that my boys owe little parts of their personality to the way they have been loved, cared for and challenged in their time at kindy. They are kinder and more nurturing towards others. Gumnut has been such a blessing to our family.
For the bottom of my heart thank you for everything this year,