Posts

Announcing the 2020 SwinLocal Scholarship Recipients!

The SwinLocal program is a community outreach initiative by Swinburne University of Technology, offered to students studying at Learn Local or community schools, such as the Cire Community School. Learn Local providers offer education and training in community settings and Cire Training was awarded the Community Training Provider of the Year for 2019.

The SwinLocal partnership currently covers the outer-east, including Yarra Ranges. Established in 2016, SwinLocal has awarded 23 scholarships, enabling students to undertake VET courses at Swinburne University. Scholarship recipients receive quality vocational training and a safe, supported introduction to a larger educational institution.

Our Community School team are pleased to announce that the following Cire students have received SwinLocal scholarships for 2020:

Rhonan Wouters
Certificate III in Information, Digital Media and Technology – Game Art and Animation

Kyha Edwards
Certificate II in Building and Construction Pre-Apprenticeship – Carpentry

Sienna Withers-Burke
Certificate III in Laboratory Skills

Each of these students submitted an application for the scholarship and participated in an interview process. They have already attended orientation and enrolment sessions in preparation for their studies, which will commence February 2020.

Janice Farrell, Student Wellbeing Coordinator, SwinLocal VETSS Program supported the students through the application, interview and enrolment process. She explains “The SwinLocal Scholarship program, now in its 3rd year,  aims to bridge the gaps that currently exist for students studying at Learn Local or community schools. Previous SwinLocal students have made successful transition pathways into employment or further vocational studies.”

Mums – it’s time to focus on you!

With all the rush of school pick-ups, sports, activities and home life, it’s easy for Mums to find self-care slipping to the bottom of our to-do list. According to a survey conducted by Healthy Women, 78% of mothers report neglecting to take care of their own needs because they’re too busy looking after their loved ones. Even the family dog was listed as a higher priority than our own mental health and wellbeing!

Caring for yourself isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. The more we can meet our own needs and reduce our stress, the more present we can be for our children and our families- it’s a win/win!

Cire’s Chirnside Park Community Hub is excited to be partnering with Flic Manning of Corethentic to offer a Women’s Wellness program for local Mums. This program will run every Wednesday morning from 9th October to 30th October and will cover self-care, wellness and the ‘’CALM’’ technique as well as offering gentle, guided meditation.

Flic has over 30 years of experience in health and wellness. She is a Neuroplastician and Meditation Guide, Personal Trainer and a Wellness Coach as well as a popular public speaker.

We’ll be running a free taster session on Wednesday 25th September and we invite you to join us for discussion, education and relaxation in a supportive and non-judgmental space. It’s time to put an end to the dreaded Mum guilt and start embracing your own self-care!

For those with little ones who aren’t in kinder or school, Cire’s Chirnside Park Community Hub offer occasional care, which is eligible for the child-care subsidy. Please feel free to contact us for further information or to enrol in a session!

For further information on our free taster session and the opportunity to meet other local mums click here.

For further information on Flic and Corethentic you can check out her website here.

Community garden ‘explodes’

While students were enjoying their school holidays, the Cire community garden at Mt Evelyn has been bursting at the seams with extensive growth.

The tomatoes, pumpkins and zucchini plants have been quickly filling up the beds and we have already harvested more than eight kilograms of delicious zucchinis. In true community spirit, Cire families and staff have shared the zucchinis for use in slices, relish casseroles, salad, grated into pasta, crumbed, filled and roasted and even made into a chocolate cake.

Other crops that have been harvested during the Spring/Summer season include rocket, garlic, silverbeet, snap peas, garlic chives, kale, spring onion, and herbs like parsley, chives, oregano, rosemary, nasturtiums and thyme.

This year we grew four varieties of potato – White, Desiree, Royal Blue and Brake Light. The White has been extremely abundant and large in size. For flavour and versatility, Royal Blue won hands down. Delicious roasted, fried, used in salads or mashed.

The garden has struggled against wild rats and we have done what we can to protect the crops and garden beds from their destruction. It has been devastating to discover their destruction of seedlings and crops such as basil, beans, peas and more recently, the entire corn crop.  However, we are always learning and adapting to our environment and hopefully, we can focus on the positives. We may not be able to harvest any corn this year but we could use the stalks as climbing frames for beans, a shelter for nearby crops and then mulch for the garden beds.

The biodiversity and health of the plants and soil, as well as the lush plantings, have encouraged an abundance of wonderful creatures who all call the garden home and have various roles to play. We have a family of three young kookaburras learning to fly and feed around the garden and also honey bees, hoverflies, butterflies, blue banded bees, lady beetles, rosellas, magpies all calling the garden home with various roles to play.

The students did an amazing job of tending to the garden during classes last year. They have injected their own unique style with art pieces and ornaments starting to appear, adding vibrancy and colour to the garden.

We are reaping many benefits from the garden. It is very productive with the array of self-sown vegetables and herbs, as well as providing seeds to collect and plant next season. The garden is also a peaceful haven for all involved. Such continuously expanding benefits are extremely rewarding and highlight how our garden awards are so well deserved.

We are looking forward to another fantastic and productive year. Happy gardening!

Jillian Dowling
Horticulture Trainer
Cire, Mt Evelyn

If you would more information on our training courses click here.

Cire scoops two awards for Mount Evelyn garden

Cire’s Community Garden at Mount Evelyn has starred in the 2018 Victorian Schools Garden Awards (VSGA).

It topped its category for the most engaging school garden, awarded by Catholic Education Melbourne, as well as winning the secondary schools section for North Eastern – Regional.

The dual awards are a testimony to the hard work and creativeness of staff and students as well as highlighting the flexible and quality learning opportunities Cire provides people of all ages.

The VSGA recognises the importance and value of gardens and outdoor spaces in progressive modern education. Established by Paul Crowe OAM and the late Kevin Heinze in 1977, the program helps promote the joy of gardens and gardening to school-aged children.

‘VSGA is a great way for us to showcase the types of flexible learning opportunities that Cire provides people of all ages, including our students. We are very proud of our awards, particularly because they publicly acknowledge what we have accomplished and aspire to achieve in the future.’Said Anna-Louise Allen, Executive Manager Education and Training, Cire

Revitalised from a previously neglected community space, Cire’s garden at the Mount Evelyn is a well-organised hub of activity for hands-on learning and engagement for students from the school, Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and kindergarten. As part of our paddock-to-plate program, our VCAL students use the produce to create deliciously healthy meals in cooking class.Cire-Community-Garden Award

It is a constant work/creation-in-progress with the change of each season and the ongoing input from different waves of students who are constantly thinking of improvements/new initiatives.

In addition to the lush range of produce and the resident chickens, there is a focus on sustainability with a water tank and composting, as well the resourceful reuse and recycling of most of the materials used.

We have great plans for the future with a focus on creating a sanctuary for students to connect with nature, their health and wellbeing; a safe space for animals, and a green and productive area. The garden also facilitates greater connection with the wider community through the availability of surplus produce and volunteer assistance.

Recent achievements include:

  • Resource Smart School accreditation with Cire setting an ambitious goal to gain our first two stars including one for waste management. The Vasili's Garden MagazineVictorian Government initiative assists schools to embed sustainability in everything they do, encourages real-life sustainability learning and helps schools save money.
  • Our garden has been featured in the nationally-distributed Vasili’s Garden magazine which promotes healthy and sustainable lifestyles

If you would like further information on our Community Garden please call 1300 835 235.

Pictured: Award-winning Cire gardeners, from left, Hannah, Luke and Rohnan with
Maria Minto- Cahill from Catholic Education Melbourne.

Pictured: with Paul Crowe OAM, VSGA co-Founder and Patron, are award-winning Cire gardeners, from left, students Hannah, Rohnan, Luke and Cire trainer Jill Dowling and teacher Ebony Mackay.

 

From Student to Employee

My name is Rebecca and I’m an employee and student at Cire Services.

I first started at Cire as a student in the Step Ahead Program at the Cerini Centre in Warburton 2013.

I became aware of the program through my family, as they had previously been students and staff members of the organisation. The program was suggested to me I didn’t enjoy the mainstream school I was attending and I was looking for another option in order to continue my education.

The Step Ahead Program was designed for early school leavers under the age of 16 to participate in literacy, numeracy, art, drug education, cooking and other life skills. The classes were held in the comfort of a small classroom with a small number of students. The difference was the hands-on and creative learning techniques; it was not just about completing worksheets and keeping up with homework.

In 2015 I moved to the new location in Yarra Junction to finish off the rest of my schooling. The Yarra Junction campus was so different compared to Warburton, it had nice buildings, gardens, and was super spacious, it had a different atmosphere, and tons more people.

I started year 10 at the Yarra Junction campus, but being in a new environment with new people made it hard for me to complete all my school work, and as a result, I had to repeat year 10 the following year.

By the time the next year came around I was much more settled in my environment and with all the people around me, so I was able to get all my work finished and could move up into year 11.

When people hear the term ‘community school’ they think of a school for drop-outs or really troubled children, but a community school is more than that, it’s a place where you can be yourself and build ever-lasting friendships. It’s a place where you’re not only getting an education; you’re getting life skills and building up your self-confidence. Coming to Cire Community School was definitely the right choice for me.

From student to employee

Anna-Louise Allen (Executive Manager – Education and Training) presenting Bec with flowers after her inspiring words about her educational journey

Last year I was offered an amazing opportunity to complete a Certificate III in Business Administration as a school-based trainee two days a week. A few months into my traineeship Cire offered me a further two days a week as a Customer Service Officer at the Yarra Junction office.
I now work between our two campuses four days a week, as well as also completing my VCAL Intermediate at the Community School one day a week. I even shared my experience at a graduation ceremony where I received some flowers for my presentation.

Thinking back to when I first became a student at Cire to where I am now is such a strange feeling, I never thought I would one day be working for the organisation and alongside the people who helped me through my schooling and through some of the most difficult times in my life.

Being part of the Cire organisation is such a rewarding feeling and I love being able to help out in our amazing community.

Cire has helped boost my confidence and change my whole outlook on the struggles of achieving an education and has shown me that no matter where we are in life, or the struggles we are facing, we can always achieve the goals we set and become someone greater than who we were yesterday.

Please call 1300 835 235 if you would like more information on Cire Community School or if you would like a tour of any of our campuses.

Taking a walk in the shoes of a room leader

My name is Taylor and this year I became a Room Leader. Over the years I have been an Educator at Occasional Care, Outside of School Hours Care and assisted in the 3 year old room. After completing my Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care through Cire in 2017, I am now leader of the Toddler’s Room for 2018. Looking back on my time here at Cire, becoming a Room Leader has been a fantastic experience.
I came into my current position as Room Leader with enthusiasm as well as nerves, stepping up into a higher position and taking on more responsibilities. I am lucky enough to have a great and supportive team around me, who help me each day. Becoming a Room Leader was exciting; I was ready to use my creativity and knowledge that I learnt through studying with Cire Training and ready to apply it all into the curriculum, to foster the children’s learning.
This year, I have found confidence moving into a position that had more responsibilities and I am ready to show what I can do and share my ideas.  When the children build secure attachments and have a sense of belonging they develop a strong sense of identity. It is important to build these attachments and relationships with the children and with their families.
Supporting children to become socially responsible and respectful contributors to our world is very important to me. By way of showing this, I have implemented more sustainable practices into our everyday curriculum, giving children opportunities to become involved in their world such as recycling, gardening and much more.
Fostering natural curiosity and the desire to investigate through play is essential for children to be confident and involved learners. This year we have implemented bush block visits, at least once a week, into our curriculum. The children are enthusiastic about our adventures to the bush block and are always asking when our next adventure will be. While we spend our time in the bush block, the children are able to learn and gain respect for our natural environment, as well as expressing their own wonder, interest and curiosity. The children are able to take considered risks while engaging in play and are able to cope with unexpected changes. We are able to problem solve together and contribute to group outcomes as we explore and engage with each other through play.
Overall, I believe the children are able to use their imagination to create their own experiences, which emerge from their own ideas, in addition to feeling happy, safe and connected to their world. Children that are encouraged to project their ideas and contribute through play become more effective communicators.
In our toddler’s room, we based our curriculum on children’s interests and on their needs, giving the children a voice in their day to day routine while being in care at Cire. We give children choices throughout their day, such as progressive meal times and optional rest times.
I believe it is important to encourage children’s independence by allowing the children to take considered risks through their play. It is also important to openly share their ideas and communicate their needs with trusted educators and peers around them.
We learn through playI have created displays that are located on the walls leading up to our room. The first display is called “We learn through play”. This display is made up of the Early Learning Years Framework, giving families a visual on how we use the framework through our day to day curriculum through the use of photos of the children engaged in the activity.
The benefits of play
We have a display of “The benefits of play” which outlines the benefits of the experiences we set up, explaining what learning the children are doing while engaging in these experiences. This gives our families a chance to understand our curriculum and how each experience has meaning and what learning their child is gaining.
We also have “Our sustainable year”. Our sustainable year project shows our families the monthly calendar we use to highlight our sustainable practices carried out in our day to day curriculum. Through our sustainable practices we develop an understanding and respect for the natural environment and the Our Sustainable Yearinterdependence between people, plants, animals and the land. This gives a chance for families to see and understand more about sustainability and see what we are doing in our curriculum in contributing to sustainable practices.
Overall, becoming a Room Leader has not been as challenging as I first thought, as I came into this year filled with the excitement and nerves. I have a wonderful and supportive team around me who are always willing to give me their help and time to guide me through each day. I am very enthusiastic about continuing to implement different ways of doing and being with the toddlers under my care. They are very curious and have a great desire to investigate and I hope I can continue to foster this learning through a range of experiences.

If you would like to know more about Cire Children’s Services or would like more information on our Early Childhood Education and Care training courses call 1300 825 235.

Applied learning – preparing students for employment

We hear a lot about the benefits of ‘applied learning’ in schools and among teachers and academics, however it is often not clear what this refers to. The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority describe applied learning as an approach, which emphasises the relevance of what is being learnt to the ‘real world’; the world outside ‘the classroom’. Applied learning involves students and their teachers in partnerships and connections with organisations and individuals outside the school.

Applied learning works with the learner in a holistic manner, taking into account their personal strengths, interests, goals and previous experiences. Applied learning acknowledges that part of the transition from school to work is being treated as an adult and that moving students out of the classroom to learn also means helping them to make a shift to become more independent and responsible for their own learning.

Vocational Education and Training (VET) is often described as applied learning. This is because training aligns with adult learning principles and focuses on skills and knowledge required by the workplace. VET also works in partnership with industry to make sure that graduates are work ready.

Applied learning in VET is practical and hands-on developing skills and safe work practices. Many VET courses require a mandatory work placement where the student is able to apply their learning in a real workplace. Work placements are also an opportunity to develop employability skills and to gain exposure to potential employers.

If you’re not sure about your choice of course in VET, Cire Training advises that you undertake an Industry Taster or Career Planning course to see if the career path is right for you.

Tim Broderick, Landscape Trainer at Swinburne Institute of Technology, recently spoke about the joint project at Silvan Primary School and students from the Cire Community School.

‘Over the last 10 weeks, I have had the privilege of working with a group of students from Cire Training in conjunction with Swinburne Institute of Technology. The students and myself 10 planters boxes 1800mm x 1800mm x 400mm, installed soil, herbs and plants for a colourful and professional finish. The result was a great kitchen garden for the Silvan Primary School’.

‘Students were able to understand what it is like to work on a building site and learn the tricks of the trade. Most were able to learn from their mistakes and work well together. They should all be very proud of what they were able to produce, something they can look back at in time and say, “I built that”!

This is an excellent example of applied learning in action. It is also representative of how Cire Services supports our youth to achieve success and build real skills for potential jobs and careers.

For further information on Cire Community School and VET courses call 1300 835 235.

 

Connecting Generations

Since July the kindergarten children from Cire have been lucky enough to visit the Estia Health Aged Care Facility. As part of their experience, the children got to complete different activities to engage with the residents. They have painted artwork for the art show, played games, completed puzzles, been hands-on making threaded necklaces, worked together on craft activities, they sang songs, played musical instruments and had a chat. The residents even got to show off their favourite songs and share their memories with the children. Guiding the children through their past times and experiences was a highlight for them with the children eager to learn more.

On one of the excursions to Estia some of the children had made cards for their newly found friends, it was on this day that one of them was having a very special birthday, Elsbeth was turning 94. The children were able to celebrate with her and her friends by singing happy birthday and joining in on the fun. It was a joy to see Elsbeth have so many little friends celebrate her big day.

It’s wonderful to observe the two groups of people becoming more comfortable and open with each other, learning to communicate in different ways. There was even an animal resident that was a big hit with the children, a fat cat called Elle. She meandered her way through the centre collecting hugs and pats as she went. The children learnt that Elle the cat’s role was to make the residents feel calm and make Estia feel like home.

The interactions that have occurred have been simple and easy going, there has been some small talk, discussions of how to play games and what each other enjoys doing; some even mentioning what they had liked when ‘they’ were in kindergarten. One of the residents told me,

“It was so lovely seeing the children when they visited, they bring life back into my heart and I smile so much when they are here”. Resident of Estia Health Aged Care Facility

Through this exchange, the children have had the opportunity to connect, develop and experience what it means to have respect and to care for people of all ages and abilities.

We look forward to further developing our relationships and are excited to be working towards a fun Christmas concert for our new friends, with the possibility for them to attend our end of year graduation ceremony.

Thank you so much to the Estia Health Aged Care Facility for the having our children come and visit.

If you would like to find out more about our Cire Children’s Services kindergarten program or would like to come to the centre for a tour contact 1300 835 235.

 

Finding the most suitable training option for you

Skills First is a government-funded vocational education and training program that is accessible to people who do not hold a post-school qualification, or who want to gain a higher level qualification than they already hold. TAFE’s and Learn Locals may be able to offer an exemption, therefore the best advice would be to speak to them first.

If you are eligible for government subsidised training through the eligibility criteria, the government will contribute to the cost of training. It is smart to use your entitlements before you consider accruing a debt. If you are not sure, speak to the people who can provide advice about the training, its potential job outcomes and your needs.

I wanted to do training that would get me a job. Living in Millgrove made it really hard to know what to do. One day I received a call from a telemarketer who invited me to an interview in Lilydale. I went along and they talked about hairdressing, beauty and nail technology. I thought that I could do this and perhaps run my business from home in Millgrove. I said I would like more information and signed some forms.

The next thing I knew I was enrolled in a course that was delivered in the city. Millgrove to the City is a 3 -4 hour trip by public transport. There was no way I could do that.

I did not attend any classes. The next thing I found out was that I had, not one, but two VET Fee Help Debts. I really wish I knew what I was signing up for!

I called into Cire Service Inc to talk about my situation. They were really helpful and discussed job opportunities and careers that I could possibly do in the Yarra Valley. They also had the option to offer an exemption which meant that I would be able to do a course that was government funded and much cheaper than the big debt that I had accrued from my meeting about beauty and hairdressing. Mary – Student (Millgrove)

What to consider before enrolling:

  • Ensure the course you wish to enrol in aligns with your career and further study aspirations. For information about finding a VET option that suits you, see  education.vic.gov.au
  • Ensure the delivery strategy meets your study and work/ life balance. If you live in a regional area, consider what is available locally.
  • Understand the eligibility criteria (see below for more information)
  • Read more about the education and training you need for the job you want and improve your knowledge and skill in an area that interests you. education.vic.gov.au training/learning
  • Research your training provider and training options on training.gov.au

Eligibility Criteria:

Students may be eligible for funding through the Skills First Program if they meet the following criteria:

  • Be an Australian Citizen or Permanent visa holder or a New Zealand Citizen
  • Must reside in the state of Victoria
  • Not be currently enrolled in two or more Victorian Government-subsidised courses in the current year.
  • Have not commenced more than two Government-subsidised courses in a calendar year.
  • Have not commenced a maximum of two subsidised courses at the same level in your lifetime. This restriction applies whether or not you complete the course.
  • Over 20 years of age (as at 1 January in the year of commencement of training) and seeking to enrol in nationally recognised training in a course that is at a higher qualification level than the highest qualification held at the time of the scheduled commencement of training.

If you wish to seek further clarification regarding eligibility contact our office on 1300 835 235 or you may wish to access the funding eligibility indicator click here.

You can only commence a maximum of two subsidised courses at the same level in your lifetime. This restriction applies whether or not you complete the course.

The restriction does not apply to:

  • courses on the Foundation Skills List.
  • students recommencing training in the same qualification at the same or different provider.

In exceptional circumstances, you can apply to the Department for an exemption to the lifetime limit of two commencements at the same level.

Enrolment Process

The enrolment process at Cire Services has been designed to assist you in finding the best possible course for your needs.

  • Register your expression of interest for a course via our online expression of interest form or contact our office on 1300 835 235.
  • Our reception staff can provide some information, however, we recommend that you come in to talk to one of our enrolment officers who can discuss your goals, check eligibility and provide advice to support you to select the best pathway for you. At this pre-training session, you will discuss your goals and the training offered by Cire Services to assist you with making an informed decision about which program best meets your requirements
  • All students are required to undertake a Language, Literacy and Numeracy test. The purpose of this information is to provide us with information so that we can support you to successfully complete your chosen course. You are also provided with a quote for the course fees and some suggested industry taster and study courses also offered by Cire Training. Once you have completed your enrolment form and paid your fees a confirmation of enrolment letter is sent to you with the course details, starting date and time.
  • Cire training is here to support you every step of the way.

Exemptions

Cire Services Inc can offer a limited number of exemptions to students who have undertaken a qualification previously that was not aligned with their needs. This is a limited arrangement with the Victorian Government and cannot be taken lightly. Speak with an enrolment officer today about your needs and whether we are able to assist.

Inspiring Curiosity

At Cire Children’s Services, we always encourage our kinder children to have a keen interest in all things, from plants and the environment to animals and insects. You never know where a child’s curiosity will take you. Throughout the year the fascination with insects has steadily grown, but little did we know looking at different insects in the garden would begin something unexpected. It started simply with the discovery of a large leopard slug, which we the named Sally.Leopard Slug

Sally was discovered during a yard exploration. The wonder and curiosity were immediately obvious and the rest of the afternoon was spent observing Sally and creating a habitat for her in our room. Originally she was housed in a large glass jar and then graduated to an enclosed fish tank. There were so many fascinating facts about this unusual character to learn. Did you know that they are partially carnivorous, feeding mostly on carrion which is decomposing flesh and other slugs, or that they enjoy munching on the occasional bit of dog food? We also observed its breathing hole, body patterns and method of movement and how the leopard slug is a beneficial insect to have in your garden.

Through Sally this opened up the discovery and interest to explore the insect world exponentially, moving from slugs to their relative, the garden snail.  The children began their snail expeditions, slowly collecting enough snails to establish a small population for our now flourishing snail habitat. It was decided to differentiate between the snails using a well-tested method…nail polish! During our research on the terrestrial gastropod’s, we discovered that this was a safe and easy way to tell them apart. Each original snail was given a colour and named by the kinder children.

Using technology and close observation we discovered that snails could hibernate for up to 2 years, and to stay moist during hibernation a snail seals its shell opening with a dry layer of mucus called an epiphragm. Did you know that a snail can live for up to 12 years?

Kinders-with-snails
Through caring for our new pets we found out they much prefer leafy greens like lettuce and cauliflower leaf scraps. We observed the way they eat, slowly but continuously munching on greens until the leaves had completely disappeared. We were even able to spy the snail’s tiny mouth moving and cutting holes into the leaves.The research was conducted as a group, learning together that snail’s eyes are located on tentacles attached to the snails head, that they use a “foot”, one long muscle to move about and that the snail must be kept moist, to help them to maintain their mucus coating.

The children feed and spray the snails with water almost daily and regularly removed them from the habitat to interact with them.

Snail

All the children have become good little snail carers being responsible and accommodating to their needs, which was evident when 2 large batches of snail eggs were laid. We had the joy of monitoring the eggs and watching as teeny tiny snails hatched and emerged from under the rocks where they were laid. Our baby snails are now fast catching up, growing to their parent’s size. This experience, driven by the children’s recognisable and passionate interest has provided us with countless intentional and unintentional learning opportunities. We have developed a greater understanding and appreciation of the natural world, have had the pleasure to observe the snails full life cycle, the responsibility of caring for another living creature and opened other exciting interests and learning pathways. I can’t wait to see what the children’s curiosity inspires to pursue next.

For further information and 2018 enrolments for our 4 Year Old Bush Kinder Program call 5967 2776 or click here.