Cardinia Lakes Early Learning Centre in Pakenham joined the Achievement Program in 2019 to embed their commitment to health and wellbeing at their service. The centre cares for around 120 children with its long day care and kinder program.
In October 2021, the service successfully completed all health priority areas of the Achievement Program. Tamika Hicks, centre owner, said Cardinia Lakes Early Learning is better equipped to assist and support families and the wider community for better health outcomes for children.
"By completing the Healthy Early Childhood Services Achievement Program, our service is confident in knowing that we are implementing healthy changes and leading the way in health and wellbeing for our children and their families,” Ms Hicks said.
With the support of Health Promotion Practitioner, Belinda Hogg, from Monash Health, the centre has developed several new policies and implemented a variety of initiatives since commencing their Achievement Program journey. Key achievements include:
- A SunSmart membership
- The development of a vegetable and herb garden where children are involved in planting, water and cultivating – a hands-on approach to learning
- Implementing Bush Kinder – children visit the local quarry for exercise and exploration with nature
- A centre sports program – children are involved in a variety of additional sport and ball games
- Regular community excursions – all age groups across the service utilise the local park and enjoy ball games
- Involvement in Mind Your Head – a program to support mental health and wellbeing for educators
- Implementing the See More Safety Program – educating children about stranger danger, safety at home, around water and at public places
Tamika Hicks recommends teamwork to other early childhood services that may be working through the Achievement Program.
"Working as a team and focusing on one area at a time ensured we were giving our all to each area and implementing lasting change,” she said.
The Achievement Program congratulates Cardinia Lakes Early Learning Centre for attaining Victorian Government recognition for all health areas. Early Childhood Services can continue their health and wellbeing efforts by completing the Achievement Program’s Climate and Health pathway.