Early years treasure

Janine Waters -

Janine Waters – celebrating 20 years at Cire Children’s Services

Early years educator Janine Waters could well be described as a Cire icon, even an Upper Yarra treasure, however reluctant she may be to accept such an accolade.

Janine recently clocked up 20 years with Cire Children’s Services at Yarra Junction and during that time she has helped nurture and educate hundreds of local children at their most critical developmental stage in life.

She has also developed strong bonds with the parents and carers, extending Cire’s support and reach into the wider community network.

In commending Janine for her dedicated service, Executive Manager, Cire Children’s Services, Diletta Lanciana said:

“Janine is a significant and valued member of the team and has positively impacted the lives of countless children in the Upper Yarra. She can certainly be described as a baby whisperer.”

“Thanks for being such an invaluable part of the Cire fabric and congratulations on the amazing milestone.”

Passionate about helping provide youngsters with the best possible start, Janine finds her work hugely rewarding and fulfilling. Her warm and welcoming smile and encouraging manner are a genuine indication of her passion.

“It is a real privilege to be part of the Cire team at Yarra Junction, providing quality care for children and also offer such an invaluable service to parents,  carers and the wider community,” Janine said.

“I love my job, working for Cire and being part of a great team that has been together for many years. I love the relationship, the bond you develop with the parents and carers and the trust that their child is receiving quality care in a welcoming, safe and inclusive space.”

Janine believes the quality of care has improved significantly over the years in terms of the programs for learning and children’s development and recognition of the needs of each individual child. It is this quality of care and the sense of community and connectedness that makes Cire Children’s Services experience so special.

In recent years, Janine has been working in the infant’s room, for almost-newborns up to 18 months old, where she has witnessed her young charges achieve many milestones such as learning to speak, and crawl and walk and even dance with joy.

“It is so amazing watching these little ones grow and develop their own personalities,’ said Janine, ‘Before you know it they are serving you at the local supermarket.”

She has further extended her positive influence through mentoring students from Cire Community School undertaking a Certificate in Early Childhood Education. While gaining hands-on experience at the Yarra Junction Children’s Service, these students have been inspired by Janine’s passion and willingness to share her knowledge and wealth of experience.

“It is super rewarding to be able to help launch these students on their career pathways,’ said Janine, who has three adult sons and welcomed her first grandchild at the end of last year.”

Cire’s sense of community and connection, across all ages, aligns strongly with Janine’s own philosophy.

She embraces the way Children’s Services reaches out into the community through initiatives such as providing local work experience for students, hosting very popular community dinners, as well as the formation of a parent/carer committee so they provide input as well as network with each other.

Janine’s links to Cire go well beyond her 20 years as one of the early childhood educators at Yarra Junction. Her sons attended child care at the Warburton Highway site when it was operating as the Upper Yarra Neighbourhood House.

Janine joined the Children’s Services team in its early years in Little Yarra Road. She recalls that the first building was the principal’s house from Gladysdale Primary School which is now used as the toddler’s room. Since those early years, the site has been developed and expanded to provide a quality service and meet local need.

As the longest-serving educator at Yarra Junction, Janine has witnessed many changes across Cire as a whole, as well as Children’s Services.

She has watched with pride as Cire has expanded to become a reputable not-for-profit delivering flexible learning opportunities to people of all ages and helping the community identify and address its needs.

“There have been many changes for the better, to better serve the community,’ said Janine, adding that she hopes to be part of the Cire team for many years to come.”

Thanks for being such a valued member of the team member and congratulations on reaching this milestone, the Team at Cire.


Connecting People To Natural Spaces: The Story of Skids

Shrouded in the mists of a Peruvian jungle, our very own Kylie “Skids” Skidmore took time from her travels to share her journey with Cire Community School. With her strong passion for connecting people to natural spaces, Skids believes that our kinship with the environment is an integral part of being a whole, balanced human being. Seeing the bush as a place of healing, restoration and reflection, she aims to create spaces where people who’ve felt like failures can excel and experience a sense of accomplishment, building communities based on trust and a lack of mainstream cultural or societal norms.

Skids became the first Australian to graduate from the University of New Hampshire‘s dual Master of Science/Master of Social Work in Adventure Therapy, a unique course only they offer. With three to six people selected to complete the qualification each year, it is a casual environment but also one of deeply significant and special connection. Their graduation ceremony looks nothing like the American stereotype of gowns and formality, with graduates dressed in jeans and awarded t-shirts before sharing a potluck dinner with their professors, families and friends.



The Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy Inc describes Adventure Therapy as “a diverse field of practice combining adventure and outdoor environments with the intention to achieve therapeutic outcomes for those involved”. Skids describes it as “getting alongside people, and spending time living life together; cooking around a fire, paddling down a river or watching a sunset together. It’s beautiful, it’s fun, and there aren’t the same rules or expectations that exist elsewhere”. She also sees it as an important tool for teaching immediate, natural consequences. “If you don’t set your tent up correctly, you get wet. If you eat all your snacks day one, they’re gone. It’s much easier to see that our choices have power and determine outcomes, which can be incredibly empowering”.

Skids has a background in P.E/Outdoor Ed teaching and student wellbeing. Before departing for America, she was working with pre-dominantly indigenous youth in NSW. “The schools I worked in were really trying to catering for these young people, but the end result was still often a hostile environment, which didn’t truly acknowledge the layers of trauma these adolescents, their families and communities had and were continuing to endure at the most profound level”, Skid writes. “I also felt like the school system, as it was, was not a healing or ‘rebuilding’ place. At the time I wanted to create an alternative outdoor space, connecting people to natural spaces, where these students might flourish and reconnect to culture and country”.

Returning home to undertake her internship, while completing the associated classes online, Skids successfully applied to work with Cire. She saw it as an opportunity to research and reflect upon work she truly cared about: work that is real, immediate and important. Skids describes Cire as a place that will “take risks and follow research which invites an ongoing commitment to examining evidence, reflection, and innovation for the sake of helping our young people access tools and resources to live freer, fuller lives”.

This year, Skids will be working with Cire Community School across Outdoor Education and Student Wellbeing.

But first, she has Patagonia to explore…

For more information on Cire Community School, or to book a campus tour, please visit our website at or contact our team on 1300 835 235.