Get to know your AOs: Amy Burgin

Authorised Officer, Amy Burgin, describes how services are using their spaces to benefit children's learning and organising them in a way that supports the participation of all children.

What is your position and where are you based?

I am a senior field officer in the Dharug team and am based out of the Parramatta and Bankstown offices or work remotely.

What is your favourite/most rewarding part of being an AO?

My favourite part of the role is being able to see the unique ways services implement quality practices and observing the dedication educators have to children’s learning and wellbeing.

I also enjoy using my knowledge of the early childhood sector to provide guidance and support to services in ensuring the best outcomes for children’s health, safety and wellbeing.

How have you seen outdoor or indoor spaces in services benefit children’s learning and social behaviour? Could you give some examples?

I have seen an increase in the consideration given to outdoor spaces as valuable learning environments for children’s holistic development.

One service I visited for assessment and rating reflected on the outdoor environment each day and ensured that a number of play spaces were made available to children to meet their varying interests and developmental needs. Their outdoor environments included many opportunities that benefited children’s learning and social behaviours including spaces dedicated to literacy, numeracy, dramatic play, science, culture and art. There were a range of opportunities within the spaces for children to play in small groups, individually or as part of a larger group.

At another service I observed a group of children initiate their own Yarning Circle. The children sat together on the available wooden logs and discussed their favourite animals and what their family members did for work.

What are some best practice examples of how services are identifying hazards in their spaces and equipment to ensure children are safe?

I have seen a number of services involve children and families in the daily identification of hazards in indoor and outdoor learning environments in addition to the daily checks educators were completing. This allowed for a variety of perspectives to be taken into consideration.

An interesting practice I have observed is educators getting down to the children’s level and viewing the environments from a child’s perspective to further identify any potential hazards.

Another good practice I have seen is educators consistently considering the placement of equipment in indoor and outdoor environments, potential hazards associated with these placements and how they can be managed to ensure the safety of all children.

How have you seen services design and organise their spaces in a way that supports the participation of all children?

During a recent assessment and rating visit the educators explained how they had engaged with children’s families and allied health professionals to organise spaces to support children’s vision and auditory processing needs. Additional mats and soft furnishings were added to the indoor environment to reduce noise levels and clear pathways between play spaces were maintained at all times to meet the needs of the children.

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