Wellness and Wellbeing in Early Childhood - The writing's on the wall at Jenny's Early Learning Centre

Sunday 1 July, 2018

How Jenny's Early Learning Centre used a fantastic visual display to help promote their health and wellbeing goals in the Achievement Program.

Walk into Jenny’s Early Learning Centre Strathfeldsaye (JELCS) and one of the first things you’ll see is a wall plastered with brightly coloured posters.

If you look a bit closer you will notice that the posters are all about health and wellbeing, and that each section corresponds to a health priority area required for the Achievement Program.

This wall is a road map for the health and wellness journey of JELCS, a visual depiction of what they’re doing and where they’re going when it comes to achieving a healthier service, and achieving recognition in the AP.

 “Each time we began to focus on a new Benchmark we added information to the display for families which became a discussion point for children, families and educators and is still a major focus on drop off and pick up for a number of children” says JELCS Director Ms Sally Hicks.

Each section on the wall represents a set of actions that JELCS took to work towards health and wellbeing in their centre. These actions included a healthier menu and removing an unhealthy vending machine in their break room, introducing water bottles for 200 children, increased access to dental services, education to families about passive smoking, education for staff about mental health issues and a wide range of active play initiatives such as Nature play, and excursions to the park.

Jenny’s Early Learning Centre have now been able to celebrate achieving all six health priority areas in the Achievement Program, and recently held an event to mark this occasion that was attended by the Mayor of Greater Bendigo.

Staff at the centre found that working through the Achievement Program helped them take a step back and acknowledge the great work they were already doing, and formalise the process so that these habits became further embedded in the culture of their centre.

Essentially, this wall was part of the vital reflections and discussions about health and wellbeing that come with being part of the Achievement Program. As Ms Hicks notes “One of the keys to success in the Achievement Program is reflection, to move forward we often must acknowledge where we have come from so we can then improve where we are going.”

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