Students start their day baking fresh bread

Cire Community School recently purchased two new bread makers for use by two Year 10 Foundation VCAL classes at the Yarra Junction campus. Concerns over some students coming to school without healthy food, or without food at all, has been an ongoing problem that teachers have resolved to deal with. The purchase of the bread machines has met several objectives.

Our students love to cook but unless they’re engaged in the cooking program on a Thursday, access to the kitchen is limited. The bread machines are the perfect solution. They can be set up in the classroom, all preparation is done in class and numerous educational outcomes are being met through the students making their own bread daily. Numeracy and Literacy outcomes are being met through measuring and making the bread, through researching and trying new recipes and in instructing classmates in bread making procedures. The students are excited by the endless possibilities of creating their own bread recipes and imaginations are running wild! We are currently using a white and whole wheat flour recipe and it is interesting to note that there have been no complaints or refusal of bread. When we had store-bought bread in the past, students refused to eat it unless it is white!

Routine is very important for our students and serving up warm bread, spread with good quality butter at morning tea time every day gives the students something to consistently look forward to. Bellies that are full of nutritious food are more likely to be conducive to students that are more settled in the classroom, more focused on their work and more engaged in school generally. An added bonus is the sense of community in the classrooms as everyone sits down together to share something that they have made themselves. Some students have been bringing condiments from home and sharing them with others and there is a real feeling of family as we break bread together.

The highlights were the anticipation of the students as they waited for the first loaves of bread to bake, and the looks on their faces when the loaves came steaming out of the oven .

What our students had to say:

“The bread tastes like cupcakes.” Jasmine
“The best thing about today was making and eating the bread.” Ben

Although the bread making is a new initiative, so far it is a wonderful success! The students get to experience warm, wholesome, fresh food that they have made themselves and everyone gets to work in an environment that smells of freshly baked bread. This can’t help but to contribute to the wellbeing of all students and teachers alike!

We would like to thank local business Village Greens Health Food for their support of the project and for supplying bio-dynamic flour to the school at a wholesale price.

If you would like to know more about our youth education programs and community school call 1300 835 235 or click here.

Exceeding rating for UYCH OHSC

In February this year our Yarra Junction out of school hours care service was visited by Joanne from the Department of Education and Training who assessed and rated our service over a two day period. This included spending time in the out of school hours care church building watching the children and educators interact, assessing our bus service, speaking with Educational Leader and Coordinator Bree and her assistant Taylor and discussing processes with Alison (Manager) and Paige (Centre Director).

We are excited to announce that based on Joanne’s findings, our Yarra Junction out of school hours care service received a rating of Exceeding for each quality area and an overall rating of EXCEEDING!

Achieving this is a step closer to an excellence rating which can only be awarded by Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority. As of December 2015 only 15% of OSHC services had been rated the Exceeding rating which makes us very proud to be in that percentage.

The National Quality Standard (NQS) sets a national benchmark for the quality of children’s education and care services across Australia. As the NQF progresses, every service in the country will be assessed on its progress in meeting the quality standard.

The centre was assessed and rated across 58 elements, 18 standards and 7 quality areas.
These areas were:

Educational program and practice

Children’s health and safety

Physical environment

Staffing arrangements

Relationships with children

Collaborative partnerships with families and communities

Leadership and service management

This is what the assessor had to say about us:

“Learning opportunities were embedded throughout the programs, routines and transitions and children were constantly exposed to rich learning opportunities that were delivered in a manner to maximise each child’s involvement and engagement in learning.”

“Interactions with each child were consistently warm, responsive and built trusting relationships that promoted children’s sense of security and belonging.”

“Conversations between educators and children during games of Uno or when a child was observed sitting on an educator’s lap while they ate an apple were indicative of the strong foundation of knowledge held by each educator in relation to each child and their families.”

“Professional standards were embedded in practice, interactions and relationships and this promoted positive relationships and a safe and predictable environment both for children and adults”

“Children were actively involved in being environmentally responsible and supported to consistently continue this involvement within the program and in the local community.”

“Appropriate resources were available to support the rest needs of children, such as the couch area arranged with cushions and blankets for children to snuggle up in.”

It is with great pleasure that we all say thank you to the passionate and dedicated educators at Yarra Junction OSHC, Bree, Taylor and Andrea. This exceeding rating could not have been achieved without their expertise, commitment and incredibly high standard and dedication they bring to work each day. With their professional and caring ability and motivation we now look forward to applying for the excellence rating. We extend our gratitude to our children and families for their continuous feedback and involvement in our service.

For further information on UYCH Out of School Hours Care services in Yarra Junction and Mt Evelyn click here.