New Early Learning Centre opens

By Matthew Biddle

THE newest Early Learning Centre (ELC) in the Archdiocese opened its doors for the first time on February 1, with 66 children enrolled for the first school term.

Holy Spirit ELC in Nicholls will offer pre-school education for four-year-olds, as well as providing childcare before and after school hours.

Director of the new ELC Bronwyn Newth told Catholic Voice it had been an exciting first month for all involved.

“On our first day everyone arrived happy, excited and a little nervous, especially as the rain poured down right on 9am,” she said.

“Our part-time classes managed being moved to another building in the school as if it was any other day. Children are extremely resilient and always show us the best in every situation when given the chance.”

There is one full-time class of students, and two part-time classes enrolled in 2016. A fully qualified teacher and an assistant lead each class.

Students and staff enjoying the first days of the new Holy Spirit ELC in Nicholls. PHOTO: LOUI SESELJA

Students and staff enjoying the first days of the new Holy Spirit ELC in Nicholls. PHOTO: LOUI SESELJA

The ELC program is both innovative and play-based, catering for the interests of all children, Ms Newth said.

“They come up with the rules, we don’t tell them what they can and can’t do,” she said. “It’s about giving them confidence, and making them feel comfortable.”

Plans for the new ELC began in 2014, when it became clear that demand in the Gungahlin area for pre-school education was far more than the Mother Teresa ELC in Harrison could handle alone.

Ms Newth said it was wonderful to see those plans finally come to fruition.

“Combining early childhood research, best practice, and functionality is not always easy, however, we are very pleased with the results and are looking forward to a wonderful year ahead,” she said.

“Throughout this year our main hope is to establish a wonderful community of learning and support for all.

“We wish to have the children build connections within the ELC and school, build friendships, challenge themselves and their thinking and to feel safe and secure.”