In a short life of many milestones, Gracie commenced 4 year old kinder last week. She’s going to the University of Melbourne Early Learning Centre, a positively brilliant early childhood education facility.
Her big brother Max attended 3 year old and 4 year old kinder there. He feels kinda weird coming with me to pick her up at the end of Gracie’s new kinder day of play, learning, laughing, exploring, rest time, snacks, play, and exploring. She positively runs in to the class in the morning to the open arms of her teachers Suzanna and Amy. The teachers at ELC are all university qualified early childhood education teachers, but not only that, the teachers we have had first hand experience of with Max and now Grace are all such lovely warm-hearted, empathic, and fun to be with people.
With the assistance of Gracie’s Early Childhood Development Team at Melbourne City Mission Thornbury, ELC have applied for KISS funding to employ a suitably qualified early childhood education professional – either from within the ELC staff pool, or from outside – to directly assist Gracie throughout her kinder day. A decision will be made by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development by the end of next week.
In the mean time, Gracie is having a ball. She was always a good sleeper; now she collapses into bed at night, exhausted. Reports so far from her teachers are that she’s a delight to have around, although I get the feeling that some extra support will be very helpful. The teachers are so child focussed in normal circumstances, they are going above and beyond with Gracie – her limited verbal communication, and propensity to get bowled over in the rush has required her teachers to doubly focus their attention on Gracie – which I can understand would be a bit tiring.
We haven’t connected with Gracie’s classmates ( or their parents ) yet, but her peers are connecting with her already. Max and I came to pick her up yesterday. While the rain sprinkled down, her class were sitting in a circle under the verandah with their teacher Suzanna, singing songs. When Gracie finally tore herself away from the group, after hugs and kisses from Suzanna, waving goodbye wordlessly to her new best friend classmates, a number of her new best friends just got up off the floor and one by one came over and gave her squeezy hugs goodbye.
It’s going to be a great year.