The KindiCare Excellence Awards celebrate the top performing early childhood education and care centres right across Australia.
2022 Award Winners
Queensland Regional Winner
Lowood Early Education Centre and Preschool
KindiCare●August 29th, 2022
Located just under 70km from Brisbane, Lowood Early Education Centre and Preschool is this year’s regional winner in Queensland.
This popular service received an outstanding KindiCare rating of 9.7, and a big part of Lowood’s attraction is its real commitment to little learners and their grown-ups. Director, Tracey Siekai says, “To achieve the best outcomes with little people, our team of educators believe in providing a safe, inclusive, stimulating, nurturing, nutritionally balanced and environmentally responsible environment that respects and protects the rights of children and employs a play-based approach to develop and instil a love of learning.” “We believe in the need to organise our environments to foster a sense of security, predictability and flexibility, which allows for our children to feel secure while they play and to learn at their own pace. We strive to provide children with the opportunity to make decisions and problem-solve to foster self-esteem and confidence.” The team at Lowood Early Education Centre and Preschool also acknowledges the role of each family within the service, and recognises them as their child’s first and most influential educator. Tracey says, “We actively seek to draw on each family’s dynamic to enhance the practices and experiences offered to our children. We believe that each family in our service is unique, and we partner with them collaboratively, gaining and sharing information about their child and embracing their active engagement in our service.” She says, “We offer all our families regular updates throughout the day through our Storypark platform. These updates inform our families of their child’s learning and individual care, through photos and written documentation.” “Families are regularly updated with both community and centre events, and this platform enables both families and educators to focus on creating smooth transitions from home to care.” “We also take the time to know about any siblings, and everyone truly feels part of our centre community.” Lowood has an Open-Door policy and Tracey says, “Everyone who comes through our door is treated like family. They’re all given the best environment and resources to help them grow and develop, and every child gets the support and care that they need to thrive.” She says, “Families love that we always go the extra mile. We know so much about their lives and take a genuine interest in helping them to feel involved in the centre environment.” Healthy food and outdoor activities also make the childcare day special. Lowood Early Education Centre and Preschool works with the Healthy Cooking Company to provide nutritionally balanced meals. Tracey says, “These are essential for children’s growth and physical development, healthy brain function, prevention of illness, repair of cells/recovery from illness, good concentration, ongoing energy and overall wellbeing.” Her service provides delicious, nutrient-dense foods that children and the wider community can enjoy. Tracey says, “We believe that serving food ‘family style’ is a great strategy for engaging children in effective communication, developing self-help skills and independence. It also supports picky eaters.” “Our company dietitian regularly visits the centre and helps to educate our children about looking after their bodies with good food and physical movement.” In support of this, the centre has an amazing outdoor space, with room to run, a sandpit, and a timber fort. Early Childhood Teacher, Kristen Frost, says, “There are lots of things to climb, and children can explore the limits of their abilities in a safe, supportive way.” “The bigger kids help the little ones, and in the outdoor area we also have a bush tucker garden, which teaches children about different indigenous plants and ways to use them in our food.” Educators extend the outdoor learning even further with a Bush Kindy program. Kristen says, “This program enables our senior children to go outside the classroom and into nature.” “We travel from our centre on a weekly basis to Jensen’s Swamp Environmental Reserve, where the children are able to explore nature, investigate and listen to the sounds of the environment, appreciating the world in a different way.” “Our ultimate goal at Lowood is to ensure the healthy development of each child, by providing a learning environment that encourages children’s engagement, curiosity, problem-solving, independent exploration and appropriate risk-taking.” Everyone recognises that it takes a village to raise a child, and all of the connections and experiences at Lowood combine to create a wonderful early learning offering.