Centre Tours

Centre Tours

Tour 1: Focus on play (half day) – SOLD OUT

In recognition of ECA’s Year of Play, this half-day excursion will include visits to two services that prioritise play—Forrest Out of School Hours Care and Southern Cross Early Childhood School—and the University of Canberra’s study program, ‘A Good Start in Life for Young Children’. This tour will provide you with an opportunity to explore how play can be made part of your service philosophy, design and everyday practice.

  • Forrest Out of School Hours Care (FOOSHC) supports and encourages children to flourish and fail through a unique play-focused program. FOOSHC’s core mission is to embrace and celebrate play. Educators at the service are highly trained. They understand that play takes on many forms and is unique to every individual. Through their knowledge and expertise, they know that children learn through play. Therefore, they plan their program around play.Risk-taking is an important part of children’s play and FOOSCH educators believe that exposure to risks helps children learn their limitations and develop coping strategies. So, they make sure that children are given opportunities to explore heights, use tools, create with various loose parts and experiment with and explore the different elements.Acknowledging that all children have the right to play, the program at FOOSHC plans for the possibilities of play.
  • Southern Cross Early Childhood School caters to children from birth to eight years and offers integrated services, including early childhood education and care, a range of community programs, preschool and schooling up to Year 2.The school’s focus is on continuity for children in both their learning and relationships during their early years. Thus, its motto, ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’, encapsulates the value its educators and staff place on providing a caring and nurturing environment for young children to grow into active and successful members of their community. The school offers high-quality early education through a focus on play-based learning, explicit teaching of literacy and numeracy, science, sustainability, physical education and all aspects of the arts.
  • ‘A Good Start in Life for Young Children’ is a research study being conducted by the University of Canberra to evaluate how multi-sector, multicomponent and integrated services/interventions can improve the health and wellbeing of children who are at risk of developmental vulnerability. The study is focused on children from the suburb of Belconnen where increasing trends of developmental vulnerability have been noted across the past three Australian Early Development Census reports (2012–2018).The study has been targeting a wide range of services and programs to support young children and families and target their areas of need. A wide range of place-based services and activities are offered as part of the program, including loose-parts play, pop-ups, allied health programs and coaching. The tour will include an overview of the study and the services and programs that form a part of it, as well as a demonstration of the play elements.

What to bring: Runners or walking shoes, a rain jacket, a sunhat and a water bottle.

Cost: $90
Date: Wednesday 5 October
Departure: 8.00 am
Return: 1.00 pm
Duration of tour: Half-day tour
Max number: 19

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Tour 2: Sustainability in the Bush Capital (full day) – SOLD OUT

Australia’s capital city, Canberra, has been affectionately nicknamed the ‘Bush Capital’ for its sweeping nature reserves and surrounding mountain ranges. Needless to say that nature play and sustainability are an important part of early years education in the region. On this full-day tour, you will visit four services—Guardian Childcare & Education Allara Street, Manuka Childcare Centre, AEIOU Foundation, Canberra, and Woden Valley Early Learning Centre—all known for embracing nature play, sustainable initiatives or green building designs.

  • Guardian Childcare & Education Allara Street is bursting with exciting, sustainable and resource-rich environments that embrace nature. The service has an indoor/outdoor program, herb and vegetable gardens and sustainably sourced outdoor resources to help children understand and value nature. Children explore and learn in an incredible and spacious setting that includes a creek bed, a water play area, Indigenous totem poles, beautiful shady trees, wooden decking and a range of other age-specific play areas.The educators and children often head out on nature walks or other excursions into the local community and attend Floriade and the Canberra Theatre once a year. The multicultural team at the service celebrates a variety of holidays throughout the year, which gives the children a great appreciation for diversity. The team also organises regular visits from local Indigenous community leaders who teach the children about traditional Aboriginal songs, symbols, art and plants.
  • MOCCA – Manuka Childcare Centre provides authentic, high-quality education and care for children in their early years, up to the age of six. MOCCA is a not-for-profit organisation and works in partnership with a parent management committee.MOCCA has embraced its location within the Bush Capital by drawing on the natural environment to enrich children’s learning, development and wellbeing. A beautiful canopy of trees covers the outdoor learning environment, and carefully designed and landscaped areas create opportunities for wonder and exploration.MOCCA’s curriculum supports children in becoming socially responsible and showing respect for the physical environment. Educators promote this learning by:
    • providing children access to a range of natural materials within the indoor and outdoor learning environments
    • modelling respect, care and appreciation for the natural environment
    • enabling children to care for and learn from the land
    • demonstrating respect for community protocols
    • exploring the effects of human activities on the environment with children
    • embedding sustainability in daily routines and practices
    • discussing how the life and health of living things are interconnected.
  • AEIOU Foundation has recently established a branch in Canberra, after having operated in Queensland since 2005 and in South Australia since 2014. The foundation has supported thousands of young children with autism and helped them achieve their developmental goals.The newly established, state-of-the-art centre in Canberra includes sustainable building elements—such as a 33 kWh solar energy system with battery storage to generate green energy, which provides AEIOU with a passive income from distributing surplus energy production back to the main energy grid.The foundation supports around 40 children each year and has the capacity for research and training. In small group settings, an expert team of early intervention specialists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, behaviour analysts and early childhood educators support children in achieving individual development goals.The centre was made possible due to the partnership and support of the John James Foundation. This service forms part of the broader John James Village precinct and facilitates the provision of specialist education and development for young children and their families.
  • Woden Valley Early Learning Centre is a community-based, not-for-profit early education centre, which has been managed by a parent committee since 1992. The centre philosophy is that every child has the right to a respectful environment that fosters harmony through balanced, creative relationships and possibilities.The centre operates an indoor/outdoor curriculum throughout the year, providing children with the choice of where to play. However, special emphasis is placed on outdoor play to help children understand their world through weather, planting, flora and fauna and how humans impact these. The children also engage in meaningful interactions with the natural environment and the centre’s whole community is educated in the importance of sustainable ways of living. If children so wish, they can be involved in activities such as composting and preparing garden beds, looking after the animals like chickens, ducks and frogs, or tending to the flowers, grasses or edibles that are free to pick and eat.NOTE: There will be animals on the premises, including ducks, chickens, joeys and the occasional dog.

What to bring: Runners or walking shoes, a rain jacket, a sunhat and a water bottle.

Cost: $145
Date: Wednesday 5 October
Departure: 9.45 am
Return: 4.20 pm
Duration of tour: Full day
Max number: 20

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Tour 3: Creative arts in everyday learning (full day) – SOLD OUT

This is a full-day trip with a specific focus on services that embed creative arts into their everyday learning. As part of this tour, you will visit Blue Gum Community School’s preschools at their Dickson and Hackett campuses as well as their Artyology Centre, the Gungahlin Children’s Centre and Goodstart Early Learning Child Care Centre Braddon.

  • Blue Gum Community School is a community-based, secular, independent school offering education programs for children from birth up to the age of 16 years. The school opened in 1998 and is named after the robust Australian native eucalypt tree. The school values its Australian context, environment and inheritance but connects globally—sharing with and learning from other cultures. Blue Gum adopts a personalised, strengths-based approach to education where every student can be successful.Through the ‘languages’ embedded in the arts, Blue Gum encourages its students to be creative, independent thinkers and makers who understand the importance of risk-taking, perseverance and learning through and from mistakes. The children learn to grapple with challenges and solve problems as they express their ideas and explore ways to make their thinking visible.
    As a participant in this excursion, you will tour through the preschool classes and Arts Centre at Blue Gum’s Dickson campus. You will also visit the preschool and K–1 classes at the Hackett campus as well as the Artyology Art Studio, which provides a space for students to wonder, create, experiment, tinker, make, build and be free to translate their dreams into reality.
  • Gungahlin Children’s Centre (GCC) is an education and care service for children aged 6 months to 6 years. The centre opened in 2003 and, over time, has developed into a dedicated early childhood community. The centre has two specialist creative studios—the Art Studio and the Soundscape Music Studio—that are embedded into its daily practice.The Art Studio provides ever-evolving provocations, resources, recycled materials and art supplies to ignite and facilitate the visual expression of children’s imagination and interests. In studio sessions, the centre’s talented educator team focuses on the process of art-making, giving children time and space to express their ideas visually and work through questions or challenges.The Soundscape Music Studio invites children to explore and discover a love of song and sound. Studio visits engage children in a variety of music-related experiences, including weekly singing sessions and introductions to a diverse range of instruments and musical styles. The children enjoy being in an environment that inspires a deep understanding of music as a language that tells many stories.
  • Goodstart Early Learning Child Care Centre Braddon is a not-for-profit early childhood education service that operates in a long day care setting, catering to children aged six weeks to five years.
    The educators at Goodstart Early Learning Braddon strongly believe in embedding a ‘key educator’ approach throughout the service to ensure that all children receive focused attention and can continue developing as unique individuals. Their aim is to create a truly cohesive and inclusive culture where staff and families can share their strengths and support each other’s growth. They pride themselves on their child-centred approach to learning, implementing inquiry-based learning across age groups and creating experiences that cater to all styles of learning.
    Through the use of open-ended resources (loose parts) and a flexible approach to their days, the educators create a space where children feel safe and comfortable and are empowered to make their own choices as well as take an active role in the planning of their time within the centre.
    Goodstart Braddon is currently working with the Australian Catholic University to design a program for preschoolers that explores arts and creativity within a STEM/STEAM approach. The centre team will share this work with the tour visitors, alongside the centre’s everyday approach to creativity.

What to bring: Runners or walking shoes, a rain jacket, a sunhat and a water bottle.

Cost: $145
Date: Wednesday 5 October
Departure: 9.00 am
Return: 4.10 pm
Duration of tour: Full day
Max number: 40

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Virtual tour: Zooming in on services in the reconciliation space brought to you by ECA Learning Hub

Join the directors and educators of two early childhood settings in conversation with Shae Haylen, ECA’s Professional Learning General Manager. Together, they will take you on a virtual tour through Jervis Bay Preschool and Koori Preschool and Forbes Preschool using integrated videos.

This virtual tour will give you a chance to explore two exemplary settings and the pedagogy behind their environments to help you reflect on the link between environment, resources and intentionality.

  • Jervis Bay Preschool and Koori Preschool are part of Jervis Bay School. They provide exceptional educational programs, including the Koori three-year-old preschool program and the four-year-old preschool program. Educators and staff at the school honour the Yuin people who are the custodians of the land on which they learn, celebrate diversity and promote a sense of belonging, inclusion and friendship. Within their beautiful surroundings, they teach children how to foster a strong connection with nature and a respect for the people, animals and plants of the region.
  • Forbes Preschool has been a key education provider in the region since 1958. Up-to-date with the latest research and education standards, the play-based learning practices at Forbes Preschool are guided by the Principles of the National Quality Framework. The preschool offers inclusive, caring and nurturing environments to accommodate the diverse needs of its children. The educator team reflects, accepts and engages with a range of people and places in the community and maintains strong partnerships with other local services. The team is passionate about meeting each family’s needs and welcomes everyone for their individuality, ideas and contributions.

Cost: $65
Date: Wednesday 5 October
Time: 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm
Max number: 100

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Cultural Tours

Ngunnawal cultural interpretation: Black Mountain (2.5-hour walk on Country) – SOLD OUT

Join Ngunnawal man Tyronne Bell, son of Elder Don Bell (senior), for a walk on Country following the tracks and service trails of Black Mountain.

The Ngunnawal people are the Indigenous Australian inhabitants whose traditional lands encompass much of the area now occupied by the city of Canberra and the surrounding Australian Capital Territory. When first encountered by European settlers in the 1820s, the Ngunnawal people lived in an area roughly bounded by what is now the towns of Braidwood, Goulburn, Boorowa, Harden, Gundagai and Cooma. The Ngunnawal people are neighbours of the Yuin (on the coast), Ngarigo (southeast of Canberra), Wiradjuri (to the west of Yass) and Gundungurra (to the north) peoples.

Similar to many other Aboriginal cultures, the Ngunnawal people passed down traditional knowledge from generation to generation through word of mouth and Dreamtime stories. Alongside a sharing of this knowledge, highlights of the tour will include Tyronne’s interpretation of the landscape, with a particular focus on the ancient and changing mountain. There will also be discussions of bush foods, artefacts, stone tools and their traditional uses as you walk amongst the panoramic views of Canberra.

What to bring: Runners or walking shoes, a warm jumper and long trousers, a rain jacket, a sunhat and a water bottle.

Cost: $85
Date: Wednesday 5 October
Departure: 9.45 am
Return: 12.15 pm
Duration of tour: 2.5 hours
Max number: 20

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Australian War Memorial (half day)

The Australian War Memorial combines a shrine, a world-class museum and an extensive archive. The memorial’s purpose is to commemorate the sacrifice of those Australians who have died in war or on operational service and those who have served our nation in times of conflict. Its mission is to help Australians remember, interpret and understand the Australian experience of war and its enduring impact on our society.

Join this guided tour of the Australian War Memorial’s gallery spaces, covering the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions that explore Australia’s involvement in each major conflict and other aspects of our military history. The tour will also include a viewing of the memorial’s moving Last Post Ceremony in the Commemorative Courtyard at 4.45 pm. The ceremony shares the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour.

What to bring: Runners or walking shoes, a rain jacket, a sunhat and a water bottle.

Cost: $40
Date: Wednesday 5 October 2022
Departure: 2.00 pm
Return: 5.15 pm
Duration of tour: 3 hours
Max number: 20

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