Kia ora whānau,
I hope you enjoyed the Christmas party for the children, it was good to see such a big turnout of families. My favourite part without a doubt was watching a little person curiously look up at Santa and not drop his gaze. Rightly so because there was something very familiar about this Santa; it was his Daddy and he couldn’t quite figure it out. Further on in the newsletter you will find some great photos of the party.
End of the year is a good time to reflect and this year, our second full year since opening in January 2017, has been filled with change. We have had families come and go. On leaving we have promoted the culture that the door is always open at Grow. Some families do return, and we welcome them with open arms. Teachers who we value enormously have left the fold for a myriad of reasons and this continues to be a challenge for many education sectors, not just Early Childhood. Our teachers work hard daily to give the best of themselves to children. Observing the trend in NZ of teachers leaving the profession or shifting around centres is not encouraging and when teachers leave, this has an impact on families but also the whole team. We are committed at Grow to working alongside teachers, to recognise their value and to acknowledge their contributions. Teachers who leave also know that the door is always open at Grow and I am looking forward to the day a teacher comes back and knocks on Grow’s door to see if there is an employment opportunity for them again.
This year the Education Review Office visited, and we were delighted with the report received. They indicated they are very happy with where we are headed. Our next visit is in three years’ time. New trees were planted in the playground, additional outdoor play equipment was purchased, and events held during the year included Grow’s first birthday, Pink shirt day, Matariki, Mother’s and Father’s Day celebrations, Grandparents day, Golden Sands Fun run, Diwali and World Kindness day.
We were overwhelmed by the thanks whānau expressed during the celebration of teachers’ week. What a fun week we had. I would personally like to acknowledge the team at Grow for all their hard work this year. I hope you all enjoy some rest and relaxation over the Christmas and New Year period, you deserve it.
I would also like to make mention and thank our owners Aaron and Michelle who have been at Grow often this year. It was noted by ERO that they are developing a service focused on equity, social justice and the provision of positive outcomes for children. If you have had the opportunity to meet either Aaron or Michelle, you’ll know what I mean when I say they are gracious, kind and have a real heart for children. We are blessed they take such a keen interest and hands on approach in life at Grow.
I cannot express how grateful I am to our families for continuing to believe in what we are trying to achieve as a stand alone centre. We are not part of any corporate and like other stand alone ECE centres we do not have all the answers, or can we ask for guidance from “sister” centres. Many of you have come with feedback, and this feedback whether positive or not so positive, is genuinely appreciated. It helps us aim higher, it encourages us to seek better outcomes for children and most of all to have a centre that your children will thrive in. Together we will create fond memories to hold on to forever. Thank you for your patience when we have not got it quite right. Thank you for your loyalty and thank you for leaving your precious children in our care.
We move into 2019 with plans to have meetings for parents about the curriculum and our play-based programme we offer at Grow, introduce a fortnightly parent and toddler group, extend our transition to school’s programme and endeavour to do a centre wide visit to a local marae. One of our families is about to open a new local swim school and we can’t think of anything nicer than supporting their new venture. We also hope to have more local excursions and develop relationships with our local business community and neighbours.
As you embark upon the festivities that this time of year brings, I would like to on behalf of all of us at Grow wish you happiness, joy and safe travels over the Christmas / New Year period. And remember a warm smile is the universal language of kindness. See you all in 2019 when all going to plan, I will be coming back from leave with a new title. OMA (the Dutch word for Grandmother)
Ka kite ano
Anita - Centre Manager