Our Sumatran tiger


Mount Evelyn Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) children have enjoyed an adventure researching and learning about endangered animals and ways that they can support animals which have been critically affected by human practices. This has been a student led project, with educators and parents fully supporting the children’s inquisitive minds and thirst for knowledge. The following is a story about what happened one day when a child walked into the OSHC room talking about tigers.

“I love tigers! They’re so cute and cuddly”, exclaimed a child as she walked into OSHC carrying a rather large picture book all about tigers. An educator suggested they research more about tigers on the iPad. A group of children gathered around the iPad to see what they would discover.

A common theme began to occur. Endangered, endangered, endangered. “What does endangered mean?” asked a child. “Something that is in grave danger caused by human activity and is very close to extinction if we, as humans, don’t make change” replied an educator.

The children discovered that there were only 300 species of Sumatran tigers left in the world.

“Why?” asked a child.

Together we learnt that poaching and the loss of habitat due to palm oil plantations and pulp paper plantations were the cause of the decline of our beloved Sumatran tiger.

“Palm oil.” breathed a child.

Earlier in the year we had explored and discovered the effects of palm oil plantations and the devastation it had upon orangutans. Through this experience, led by the OSHC children, we were able to raise money and adopted an orangutan called ‘Bunga’ and have cared for him for nearly three years.

Not only did we adopt an orangutan, we changed our buying habits, our eating habits, we shared our newfound knowledge with family and friends, children designed posters, made lists of food that contained palm oil and palm oil free alternatives. We even had families download palm oil free apps on their phones for their children when buying food at the supermarkets or when out and about. There were many conversations had during OSH care time, at home and at school.

The children were astounded that palm oil not only affected orangutans, but tigers as well.

“We should adopt a tiger” exclaimed a child. And so began our quest to help Sumatran tigers.

We put our thinking caps on. Ideas started overflowing, posters were created, pictures were brought from home of other endangered animals, a guessing jar competition was started, tables and chairs were beautifully decorated. Within in a few days a wall in the OSHC room was dedicated to endangered species. To give you an idea, you could not walk into the OSHC room without being bombarded by the children’s new found campaign to adopt a Sumatran tiger. You were compelled to donate!

Weeks passed and our knowledge grew. Families made guesses of how many items were in our guessing jar and donated over and over again. Finally after much hard work and organisation we had enough funds to adopt a tiger.

There was much excitement and anticipation as we waited for the adoption process. Then the moment arrived: we received notification that Langka was our adopted female Sumatran tiger. OSHC has since gone on to adopt another tiger named Cinta. Not a week passes when a child asks to adopt another endangered species. We have a long list!

Throughout this journey the children at OSHC have demonstrated an awareness of the impact of human activity on the environment and the interdependence of living things. Children have become socially responsible and have developed a deepened respect for the environment. One thing we know for sure at OSHC, extinction in the wild for the Sumatran tiger and all endangered creatures is likely if we don’t take immediate action.

For further information on Cire Children’s Services click here.

Shooting hoops set in concrete

New Basketball Court for Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) Yarra Junction

Cire Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) service at Yarra Junction will soon receive an upgrade to their basketball playing area due to the generosity of Upper Yarra Community Enterprise. The Community Enterprise operates the Yarra Junction and Warburton Bendigo Bank branches. Cire Family and Children’s Services Director, Lysa Smart, and Cire Sponsorship and Fundraising Coordinator, Amy Sheridan, attended the Upper Yarra Community Enterprise sponsorship presentation in Warburton recently to receive a cheque for this project to get underway at Cire’s Little Yarra Road campus.

“Providing funding for the basketball concrete pad was a great opportunity for us to support and encourage children to be outside and have fun while being active. The outside school hours program at Cire is an essential and high quality service to our community and it’s great to know the children will be now be able to play regardless of the weather, and on a flat surface. We’re sure there are many future stars among them.”Jaqui Hall Bendigo Bank Community Enterprise

Cire Family and Children’s Services was successful in receiving sponsorship to create a new concreted basketball area for the children. This project will encourage children to participate in being active and healthy after school, enhance social inclusion and team involvement; and also broaden their basketball skills. There is a huge emphasis on promoting physical activity in children these days so by providing them with a safe, fun space to run, play and stretch their legs means the children can continue to be encouraged by Cire educators to get active.

“Physical activity is such an important part of every child’s growth and encourages good modelling for later life in creating healthy lifestyles. Being that we care for children after school, it is important that we can provide these children with an appropriate space to get active.” Lysa Smart, Director Cire Family and Children’s Services Yarra Junction.

The importance of providing activities and space for children to be physically active means Cire staff can help promote health and development, improve cardiovascular fitness, improve balance, coordination and strength, as well as help further develop strong, healthy muscles, bones and joints; which is important to their overall growth. Interpersonal skills are developed and enhanced through participation in team sports.

Cire OSHC staff are so excited the children will be able to safely enjoy their ball sports once their new court has been constructed within the next couple of months. They can’t wait for this new space to be completed.

“Our aim was to provide a space for the children to continue to better their basketball skills and we are thrilled to be able to improve the space for the children to do this and improve our services.” Lysa Smart.

Cire Family and Children’s Services appreciates the continued support from the Upper Yarra Community Enterprise which in turn helps our community by providing them with high quality care.

Stay tuned for project updates.

Exceeding - National Quality StandardCire Family and Children’s Services outside school hours care (Yarra Junction) is proud to announce the achievement of receiving an  Exceeding Rating from Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority.

For further information all our children’s services click here

Mt Evelyn Children’s Services achieve an Exceeding Rating

Exceeding RatingMount Evelyn Cire Children’s Centre Long Day Care program (LDC) and Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) have recently participated in the National Quality Rating and Assessment process and are delighted to announce that they have received an Exceeding Rating in all 7 quality areas.

The Rating and Assessment audits are conducted by authorised officers from the Department of Education and Training. The visit was over two days and the Mount Evelyn centre was rated against the following seven quality areas:

1. Educational program and practice
2. Children’s health and safety
3. Physical environment
4. Staffing arrangements
5. Relationships with children
6. Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
7. Leadership and service management

During the visit the officer observed practices and interactions and went through the Children’s Centre’s documentation. Discussions were also held with management, educational leader and room leaders.  The assessor commented on the strong relationships and interactions between the staff and the children, as well the sustainability practices and community connections that the centre has established. The report also commented on how clearly the programming and planning was consistently driven by each child’s current knowledge, ideas, culture, abilities and interests.

The exceeding rating is a true reflection of the hard work and passion that the Cire educators and management bring to their roles and the service. By achieving this rating the centre is now eligible for an Excellence Rating which we will strive for in the near future.

2016 Highlights to share

Fun at the Bush Block

The children have loved visiting to the bush block in Yarra Junction! They excitedly explored the space, running and yelling with delight. They discovered lots of fallen trees to walk along and practice their balancing skills, as well as trees to climb. They found yabby holes and decided that they were snake holes! There was lots of lovely imaginative play involving animals, birds and kings and queens. The children were fascinated by the tree sap coming out of some of the gums and agreed that it was called tree blood. There was lots of interest in the insect house, and most of all, lots of lovely new friends to play with from the Yarra Junction Kinder.

Children’s Day: My Country, Our Country, We All Belong

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day (Children’s Day) was celebrated in August. It is a time for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to celebrate the strengths and culture of their children. The day was an opportunity for all Australians to show their support for Aboriginal children, as well as learn about the crucial impact that community, culture and family play in the life of every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child.

Mount Evelyn Children’s Centre kinder group investigated some aspects of Aboriginal culture such as the flag and the meaning of its colours, painting and playing clapping sticks, listening to Aboriginal Music, an Aboriginal puppet play, dot painting and listening to Aboriginal stories such as “Welcome to Country” by Aunty Joy Murphy and Lisa Kennedy. The children also visited the bush block in Yarra Junction and did some bark and rock painting there.


The Mount Evelyn kinder program visited the Bush Kinder at Cire Children’s Centre, Yarra Junction campus. The Bush Kinder program is based on the beliefs of children having uninterrupted time to play in natural environments with open-ended materials and allows them to engage in a range of activities that foster their development and learning, encouraging them to become flexible thinkers, develop self-confidence and independence. Children develop strong connections with nature and sustainable practices, developing a deeper awareness of the impact on the environment can have on them and future generations.

The children attend excursions based on environmental education and sustainability such as tree planting for the endangered Helmeted Honey Eater at Yellingbo Owl Land Bushland Reserve, Rayners Orchard and Resource Rescue Incursions. The Out of School Hours (OSH) children also put on concerts and had visits with the elderly residents at the local old peoples home. Both the children and the residents enjoyed these visits and the children loved listening to their stories and performing songs for them.

Both Long Day Care (LDC) and OSH have plots in the Community Garden where vegetables are grown to be used in programs and composting.

The Mount Evelyn Children’s Centre service was chosen for the ribbons of Green Project through the council and both programs (LDC and OSH) will plant indigenous trees onsite to help offset carbon emissions. The service provides educators, children, families and the community with information about sustainability through projects, newsletters, the Cire Services blog and displays and handouts. The Cire Children’s Centre teams complete sustainability audits and, through reflection on these, work on improving the service’s sustainability practices such as installing water saving taps in the children’s bathrooms, a rain water tank to water our plot at the community garden, tipping leftover water from the children’s water bottles onto the garden, composting, energy saving, recycling, reusing, using environmentally friendly cleaning products, purchasing recycled products and education around sustainability.

Library Visits

The children have thoroughly enjoyed the fortnightly visits to the Lilydale Library this year. Libraries can play a strong role in early learning for all children, with the key role being in the development of early literacy skills. Early literacy provides the knowledge and skills required to become a successful reader and writer. This includes cognitive development of the brain and its responsiveness to the environment, language development, listening and oral skills and relationship building. The children also enjoy borrowing books that they take back to the service and read over the fortnight. Also this year the Cire Kinder group have been drawing self-portraits to be displayed up on the wall at the Lilydale library where they go for the library visits.

Visit from the Vet

The children were lucky to have Debbie from Mt Evelyn Vet Clinic visit the centre this year. Debbie ran an exciting program for the children called PetPEP (Pets and People Education Program) which is an initiative of the Australian Veterinary Association throughout Australia. PetPEP teaches children and the community about responsible pet ownership, safety around animals, healthy living (pets and people), welfare of animals and animals in the community. The program helps integrate responsible pet care messages into the classroom, to teach our next generation about the responsibilities associated with owning animals and how to behave safely around them.

Debbie brought her gorgeous little dog Hugo in with her, who is two years old. Debbie taught the children about the difference between friendly, scared and aggressive animals, and how to (or not to) approach them safely. After this, Debbie taught the children the safest way to approach a friendly dog and ask their owner if they could have a pat. They all got to give Hugo a pat and he showed us some tricks that he knows. After this the children loved the opportunity to dress up and role play as Vets and Vet Nurses.

Indian Yoga Experience

The children recently got to practice an Indian Yoga experience. Through stories, songs, props, songs and dress ups, Sian from Artistic Revolutions introduced the children to fun yoga poses, breathing, self-expression, mindfulness and relaxation.

The session ran for around an hour and a half, and the children got to talk about Indian animals and people, dress up in Indian costumes, dance with scarfs, and learnt lots of animal yoga poses. The children learnt a song called “sun salutations” and some yoga movements to “salute to the sun”. To wind up, Sian introduced the children to a “breathing ball” and some meditation, and they all got a Bindi sticker on their foreheads.

As you can see lots of fun activities occurred at our Mt Evelyn Children’s Services in 2017 and receiving the Exceeding Rating was a great way to finish year. A big thank you to all involved and we wish all our families a Happy Christmas and safe New Year.

With both our Mt Evelyn and Yarra Junction centres achieving an Exceeding Rating you can be assured that the services we deliver for Outside School Hours Care and Long Day Care is of the highest standard. If you would like to know more about Cire Children’s Services please call 9736 1918 (Mt Evelyn) or 5967 2776 (Yarra Junction).

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.