While many centres can suffer from high staff turnover and staff disengagement, New Leaf Early Learning Centre believes that by focusing on educator recognition that they can maintain a happy and dedicated staff of early childhood educators, which leads to happy children and families.
Recognition of staff begins with acknowledging each staff member as an important and integral part of the New Leaf family. By respecting, appreciating and valuing their employees, New Leaf rewards the hard work of its staff in helping to grow young minds.
A recent example was recognising one of New Leaf Forest Glen’s Lead Educators, Steph Ogle, by nominating her for the 2017 Early Childhood Educator of the Year in the Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards.
Steph has been a staff member at New Leaf Early Learning since 2006, moving from an Assistant Educator position up to a lead educator position and is a member of the centre’s leadership team.
According to New Leaf Forest Glen’s Centre Manager Christine Bristow, Steph has been an integral part of the Centre for 10 years, bringing passion and enthusiasm to the centre.
“Steph has outstanding attention to detail, a room that always has an inviting learning space full of fun and exciting experiences for children and families to enjoy,” says Christine.
“She truly embraces the belief that every child is unique and learns best in a secure, caring and stimulating environment and recognises that each child has the potential to add their own special touch to their world.
“Steph’s warm, cheerful and caring nature is loved by our families, children and staff. She always goes the extra mile and volunteers her time to attend professional development sessions.”
By recognising staff such as Steph in this way and putting staff recognition at the heart of their philosophy, New Leaf aims to provide each staff member with a harmonious work environment that allows them to succeed at their positions and provide the best care and educational outcomes.
This includes having mentors and positive role models for educators for staff to seek support, advice and ideas. Children develop a sense of trust when they feel safe. Part of that safety comes from having nurturing, kind, reliable, organised, approachable and trustworthy educators such as Steph.
Alongside staff recognition, educational programs for staff, based on assisting each child to thrive, is an important way that New Leaf gives its staff access to new information and professional development opportunities to provide an even higher level of service.
By arming staff with knowledge and helping them grow their skills, each Educator can develop learning opportunities that are linked through developmental milestones that are physical, emotional, social, cognitive and through language.
Each Educator is engaged and in the position to investigate meaningful and relevant interests for each child to help make their learning journey authentic, memorable and enjoyable.
Early Childhood Educators facilitate many roles for children and families, so it’s important that not only are they experienced and knowledgeable in all aspects of early childhood education, but that they’re approachable, friendly and love meeting and working alongside families to ensure the best outcomes for each child.
At New Leaf this is being achieved by valuing the work Childhood Educators put into their day with children, families and fellow staff and celebrating the success of their staff together.
Steph will find out if she is a Queensland State finalist in the Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards by the end of April. State winners are then announced by the end of May, with National winners announced at an awards ceremony in Sydney on June 16, 2017.