Building stronger family and community connections

Over the past two years, Oakville Preschool Learning Centre on Dharug country has navigated the challenges of COVID-19, building stronger connections with their families and community along the way.

Image: Daily Zoom group times

Oakville Preschool Learning Centre Director Elle Connor speaks about how the most challenging time in her preschool’s history became an opportunity to strengthen their practices, programs and relationships.

“We have used our COVID experience as an opportunity to showcase who we are, our purpose, our philosophy, our focus, and passion - which is providing high quality and unique early childhood education and care,” Elle said.

“Our natural reaction was to be a support network for our team, children, families and community and to be a place that provided safety, consistency, support, and reassurance.

“We continue to respond to the needs of our children, families, team, and community by continually reflecting so we are delivering the right guidance and support, with a focus on Quality Area 2: children’s health and safety and the children’s mental health and wellbeing.”

During lockdowns, the team at Oakville Preschool maintained regular connection with families and children through live daily zoom group times, pre-recorded activities, family projects, wellness checks, personalised letters and phone calls to families to chat acknowledging special moments.

“A few highlight activities included sending the children’s artworks to local aged care residents and providing personalised Easter deliveries to every single child’s home, which the families were absolutely blown away by and thankful for,” Elle said.

“These activities promoted the children’s sense of belonging within our preschool community and supported their positive relationships with their educators.”

“We have never lost track of our focus to offer the best care and education and to support our community at a time they needed it the most and are so proud of how we have been managing each stage.”

The service's COVID-19 approach is now an ongoing part of their daily programs and routines, with wellness and wellbeing now a big focus and educators gaining the skills and confidence to adapt their program throughout the waves of the pandemic.

“We are a family at Oakville Preschool and our relationships go beyond the walls of the service, our approach to the pandemic and the programs offered is a true testament to who we are, what we do and why we do it,” Elle said.

"The most beneficial part of our program was maintaining positive relationships and connections with the children and families, providing continuity of care and consistency.

“We didn’t just ‘get through’ the pandemic we excelled, we developed new programs, introduced a new mental health and wellness support program and even created a new ‘Wellness and wellbeing coordinator’ role for an educator.”

Oakville’s COVID-19 policy remains an evolving document as the management team stay up to date with current information and are regularly updating this to families, resulting in families saying they feel informed and supported.

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