Knaith Road Child Care Centre and Kindergarten has 50 children and 20 staff. They have been an active member of the Achievement Program since 2012 and recently received Victorian Government recognition for Mental Health and Wellbeing. They have previously been recognised for meeting best-practice benchmarks with the Achievement Program for Safe Environments, Sun Protection and Tobacco, Alcohol and Other Drugs.
Supported by Population Health Officers at EACH Outer East Primary Health in Ferntree Gully, they have taken a whole-of-service approach to support mental health and wellbeing, despite the challenges of Covid-19.
Tara Peiris, the Educational Leader at Knaith Road Childcare Centre and Kindergarten, is very proud of her centre. Ms Peiris said: “We were already achieving several benchmarks but wanted to be further recognised through the Achievement Program. We can now better promote specific health priority areas to our community.”
“Working through the Mental Health and Wellbeing benchmark during 2021 has highlighted the important role of early childhood educators in fostering children’s self-esteem, learning dispositions, and life-skills. This will continue to have a positive impact on children’s health and wellbeing in the long-term,” she said.
Whole-of-service actions and activities undertaken by Knaith Road Childcare Centre and Kindergarten to support mental health and wellbeing include:
- Utilising their diverse physical environment – including flexible equipment, space for group play and a sensory plan area for quiet and focused experiences.
- The development of a new Mental Health and Wellbeing policy to support a healthy culture
- Registering with Be You to support staff, families and children.
- The development of an online library of mental health and wellbeing resources for educators and sharing more information with families to support health and wellbeing at home.
- Educators undertaking Body Safety Australia training, to support cultural safety.
- The Resilience Project being implemented as part of the 4 year old Kindergarten program
- Local partnerships with schools and allied health professionals, to further support families.
Ms Peiris shared her advice for others who are making improvements in health and wellbeing in their education setting.
“Working through the Achievement Program benchmarks provides an opportunity to identify gaps and areas for improvements with regards to promoting health and wellbeing. It also allows services to be recognised for the great work that they are doing to improve the health and wellbeing of their community,” she said.
Knaith Road Child Care Centre and Kindergarten are now continuing their Achievement Program efforts by working towards the Healthy Eating and Oral Health and Physical Activity and Movement benchmarks.
Find out more about the Healthy Early Childhood Services Achievement Program here.