The KindiCare Excellence Awards celebrate the top performing early childhood education and care centres right across Australia.
2023 Award Winners
New South Wales Regional Winner
Goodstart Early Learning Moree
KindiCare●October 22, 2023
Goodstart Early Learning Moree has taken out top honours in regional Australia, with an Outstanding KindiCare Rating of 9.9, and this northern New South Wales centre credits its success to the strong, positive relationships it nurtures day in and day out.
At Goodstart Moree, there are genuine partnerships between children, families, educators and the wider community, and Centre Director, Lauren Kinchela, says, “When you walk into the centre and listen and look, our focus on relationships is reflected in everything we do. “We’ve had so many visitors coming to the space and commenting on the warm team relationships we have, and how welcoming we are.“ This childcare community is inclusive of everyone, and there’s a meaningful commitment to Indigenous culture. At the moment, approximately 25% to 30% of Goodstart Moree’s families are Indigenous, and the centre is working on a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to formalise their commitment to embedding Indigenous culture in their program. Lauren says, “We are reaching out to people in the community who have that body of knowledge, because we want to teach children about Indigenous culture in a meaningful way, and create a place that’s inclusive of Indigenous people.” To support this, the centre is first focusing on creating a culturally inclusive environment. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags greet everyone in the foyer, artworks by local Indigenous people are hanging on the walls, and there’s an incredible mural outside that recognises the two meanings that the Gamilaroi word for ‘Moree’ has – waterhole and sunrise. Lauren says, “It will take time to carefully finalise our RAP, but I believe that changing the environment to reflect our commitment to Indigenous culture is the first way to make people feel safe, welcome and seen.” Goodstart Moree is also fortunate to have a well-qualified team. They currently have five Early Childhood Teachers (three full-time, one part-time and one casual), and families love how responsive the entire team is to the children. Lauren explains that, “They see the extra effort that we put in when it comes to social stories and helping individual children settle into childcare, move between rooms, and make the big transition to school. Families know their children are loved and responded to, nurtured and looked after, when they are with us.” Goodstart Moree has also had great success supporting children’s ‘big’ behaviours. Staff undertook a centre-wide, social-emotional program called Conscious Discipline, which ran for about 12 months, and this has shifted mindsets in a really great way. Lauren explains that, “Although we still encounter behavioural challenges, our approach has changed. We move into situations with confidence and understand the underlying issues that we need to manage. We tweak routines a bit more, and instead of focusing on the behaviour being the problem, we look at everything surrounding the child and how we can support them holistically.” Goodstart Moree’s participation in the Conscious Discipline program earnt them a Highly Commended in the Making A Difference category at the 2023 NSW Goodies Awards, and Lauren herself received a Highly Commended in the Goodstarter of the Year – In Centre category. In June 2023, Goodstart Moree achieved an Exceeding National Quality Standard rating in all seven Quality Areas; and they are thrilled to now be named National Regional Winner and NSW Regional Winner in the 2023 KindiCare Excellence Awards. Goodstart Moree is certainly an outstanding centre, built on those strong, positive relationships, and we congratulate Lauren and her childcare partners for everything they’ve achieved.