At Gumnut Gardens we feel that collaborating with parents and the wider community is a very important part of delivering high quality care and education to young children. While there are many challenges common to all families in the early years of parenthood, no two families are identical. Consequently it is important that there is a dialogue between us, as care providers, and you, as parents, to ensure we deliver a service that meets each family’s particular needs.
Many, if not most, of the families at Gumnut Gardens have relocated from overseas or interstate for work or study. We recognise that the first few years of parenthood can be very challenging and exhausting for everyone. We fully appreciate the difficulties faced by parents trying to care for their children when their support network is thousands of kilometres away. It is an important part of our role to provide a supportive and nurturing environment for all parents, guardians and other carers and of babies and young children. Social events, such as picnics in Centennial Park, hat parades and end of year functions together with quasi social events, such as information evenings, are integral to developing and maintaining our Gumnut community. Through knowing us, we hope parents will feel confident in our ability to care for their children properly and lovingly while they are away from them during the day. Through knowing each other, fresh support networks can develop and carers, as well as children, have the opportunity to expand their social universe.
We also aim to provide support for families in less direct ways. We have a library and carers are welcome to borrow reference books on a wide variety of topics relating to the care and development of our young. We regularly invite expert speakers to address a variety of topics relevant to our community. So far we have organised talks on toileting (including toilet training), paediatric nutrition, speech therapy (covering speech and language differences, auditory processing, language acquisition), paediatric physiotherapy (mostly on gross and fine motor skills) and recovering from pregnancy (and the importance of the pelvic floor).
The “Gumnut Gazette” is our newsletter. This gives an overview of what’s happening in our centre. It also provides a lot of relevant information relating to sustainable practices and look beyond the square to find practical and fun ways to reduce our environmental footprint. Our food column is perhaps the most loved part of the Gazette and we always publish a family friendly recipe or two. Contemporaneous issues and information, such as vaccinations and government fee assistance with the cost of childcare, are also canvassed.
The support of Gumnut Garden families is very important to us. We are always open to suggestions and feedback. Some of our most treasured moments have come from parents and grandparents sharing their time and skills. Something as simple as a carer reading a story or sharing their skills, such as craft or music, generates enormous pride and interest among our children. We also encourage families to contribute to our community by donating items for recycling (toys that have outlived their usefulness at home, containers for craft, newspapers for the animals bedding, gumboots for outdoor play on rainy days). We are a smart, creative mob and all ideas are welcome. In turn, we share our ideas with you so that together we can provide an environment that gives our children a sense of identity, a sense of belonging and provide the early building blocks for self-worth and fulfilment.