It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

It seems hard to fathom that the season of Advent has just begun, as has the countdown to the end of the academic year. The children are excited about Christmas approaching. They constantly remind of us of the joy and wonder of being in the moment, being mindful of having time to savour the small things along the way.

This will be a very different end to the year, just as much has been new and different and challenging this year. However, we have still been blessed to have all the children attending and many of the special markers along the way, such as the Prep teacher visits, orientations, birthday celebrations and the preparations for our traditional Christmas nativities.

Janine de Paiva, our Junior School Chaplain, has spent some time with the children talking about the real Christmas story: the birth of baby Jesus. We have had so many wonderful discussions with the children about the angels, the wise men, the shepherds, Mary and Joseph and, of course, the arrival of the special baby. We have held discussions about the wise men and the gifts they brought, helping the children to understand the importance of these gifts and why we give and receive presents on Christmas, someone else’s birthday.

The room educators have been incredibly busy with the children creating a video story of the nativity, each room reflecting the children’s understanding and take on the nativity within the constrains that COVID-19 has placed on us (up until a week ago – no singing inside and limited singing outside). These videos will be launched next week on Canvas and you will be able to sit together and watch your child’s room group video performance of the Christmas story. We hope you enjoy them as much as the children have enjoyed participating in them.

My sincere thanks to you all for your support of the Centre, your children and the staff in this quite extraordinary and challenging year. My heartfelt thanks to all the ELC team – Robyn, Sheila, Megan, Deb, Anna, Kay, Julie, Bec, Alex, Harriet, Sofia, Callie and Kai – for their amazing creativity, their capacity to adapt to a fast-changing educational space, their continued focus on educational excellence and staying connected with children and families throughout the whole year. As so often happens, it is the children who remind us of their capacity for adaptability, creativity, independence and joy.

We are blessed to be supported by many other wonderful educators who are very much a part of the children’s life in the ELC, like Art Mikl, Library Anna, Music Tim and Lesley, Gardner Graham, Scientist Laura and the canteen staff who prepare meals for the Staff Childcare Room. We have also gratefully come to know Joycelyn and Stanley very well as they have taken on significant extra cleaning throughout the day to support the extra hygiene measures put in place through the year – we sparkle with cleanliness thanks to these kind souls! My sincere thanks to Janine de Paiva for her hopeful and energising presence; our Head of Junior School, Libby Russell, for her leadership and guidance throughout this year; and, of course, our new Principal, Jonathan Walter (what a baptism of fire this year has been!), for his vision and leadership. As always, thanks to the School Board for their belief and commitment to Early Childhood Education. And finally, thank you to my new PA, Stella, who had no idea what she was taking on and has been a joy to work with as she juggles all the demands of remote and returning to school and learning her way around Carey.

Wishing you all a safe and peace-filled Christmas and holiday period.

Wendy Seidler

Director of ELC Kew