Outdoor fun for all

Northern Bay College Family Centre children are enjoying a redeveloped play garden, thanks to support from Ardoch Youth Foundation and the Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Funding Grant program.

Centre manager Helen O’Connor said Ardoch applied to the Bank of Melbourne program on behalf of the centre for funding for the project. She said the new play area is proving popular with the children who access programs at the centre.

“The space is important in developing the children’s imagination and they are really enjoying it,” she said. “We expect it to be even more popular as the weather improves.”

Helen said the play garden is important in developing pathways to the kindergarten which is next door and also on the Northern Bay College site, as well as encouraging kindergarten families to access the family centre.

The play garden will be officially launched during Children’s Week, with a special function on Friday, October 27 from 10am until 1pm.

Stars with a message

The Northern Bay College community is supporting the One Million Stars project, which aims to raise awareness and promote education about the prevention of violence in the community.

One Million Stars to End Violence involves making eight-pointed stars that are symbols of light, courage and solidarity to end all forms of violence, including violence against women, bullying and racism.

The project is an opportunity to contribute to the promotion of safety for everyone, in our streets, homes, workplaces and schools. Every star woven is a symbolic representation that the community does not support any sort of violence and abuse.

Northern Bay College is aiming to weave at least 2000 stars that will be used in an installation then sent to the Gold Coast for a display at the Commonwealth Games in 2018. It has been running activities to include parents and students in the project.

Any volunteers who would like to become a star weaver must have current Working With Children Check and can contact Karen Uebergang at Hendy on Monday, Wednesday or Thursday, phone 5228-4200, for more information.

Exciting changes for families

The early years hub at Northern Bay College has undergone some exciting changes in recent months with a new name and new staff committed to support the school’s vision for a ‘cradle to career’ approach to education.

The newly-named Northern Bay Early Learning and Care Centre was originally an incorporated body on the school site. The school took on responsibility for the operations of the centre in May to further promote community inclusion and support for families.

The childcare centre and kindergarten offers a funded four-year-old kindergarten program and childcare for children from six weeks to five years old, for anyone in the community. Half and full day childcare places are available at competitive rates.

Among the new, friendly staff who arrived with the changes are director Narelle Langenberg and kindergarten teacher Vivian Kilpatrick.

Next door, the Northern Bay Family Centre continues to support families from pregnancy to five-year-olds with playgroups, parent support programs and drop-in activities. The family centre receives sponsorship from Barwon Child Youth and Family.

Family Centre co-ordinator Helen O’Connor said the changes have been positive for families in the area and fit with the College aim to promote a planned, seamless and integrated path of education, care and support for children and families from birth and kindergarten through to Year 12 and beyond.

Also based at the centre is Jo Ridgeway, who works with families in the Supporting Parents’ Access to Childcare and Education (SPACE) to help them engage with education and employment.

Families are welcome to call in any day to see the facilities and programs at work.

An Open Day will be held on October 27 from 10am until 1pm to showcase the programs, facilities and staff. There will be a range of activities and all families are invited to participate.

Extra activities for students

School days have become longer for large numbers of Northern Bay College students who are taking advantage of their school’s extended activity program.

Up to 500 students from across the college’s five campuses are staying at school until 5pm to learn and experience programs they haven’t had the chance to take part in before.

Extended School Day Co-ordinator Amanda Baulch said during planning for the program, every student from Year 3 to 8 was given the opportunity to say what they believed they were missing out on.

“From this feedback the first program was created with students having the opportunity to participate in French, cooking, drama, Auslan, boxing, music lessons, science programs, just to name a few,” Mrs Baulch said. “They are embracing every minute of it.”

The program runs at the Goldsworthy campus Monday to Thursday from 3.30pm, when the children are provided with afternoon tea, until 4.45, when parents come and collect them.
Mrs Baulch said Term 3 timetables are almost finished, ready for students to sign up for next term.

“Our students are hungry to learn and we are here to help provide a vast array of experiences. We are always looking for new experiences and programs to expose our students to and for facilitators to run them, which is very exciting for the Northern Bay College community.”

College’s winning formula

The Koorie Education Program at Northern Bay College has won a Victorian Education Excellence Award for its success in engaging aboriginal children to learn and focus on their future.

The award, announced in late 2015, includes a $25,000 grant for professional development for staff. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Education Co-ordinator Carrie Tinning said the award was proof that Northern Bay College is a leader in indigenous education.

“We have 124 students across our campuses who are identified as aboriginal, which represents 5.5 per cent of our school population,” Carrie said. She said the award justifies the school’s decision to create a program aimed at improving attendance and outcomes for students.

The Koorie Education Program focuses on identity, culture and aspirations. Senior (Years 9-12) tutorial worker Audra Czyzewski and Early Years (Prep-Year 3) literacy and numeracy support teacher Karen Uebergang work with Carrie to ensure students stay engaged in learning and focussed on their future.

It includes forums, camps, leadership and career pathway programs to strengthen personal development, cultural pride and achievements for its indigenous students.

Carrie said the professional development grant will be used to research programs that are working well in Australia and in other indigenous education settings around the world.