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Education and Care Services

Kathy Cripps

Kathy Cripps

General Manager Education and Care

“…this is only possible with a great team of people that have the same vision and ethos to do their very best by children and their families.”

As this is my last annual report as General Manager – Education and Care I would like to offer some reflective thoughts as my tenure comes to an end.

Lady Gowrie Tasmania (LGT) has offered me many amazing opportunities to learn and grow professionally and personally within the organisation. I have experienced many roles from working directly with children, leading and supporting services, working within the Inclusion Support team, working for the Professional Development team and for the last 12 plus years I have overseen the Education and Care space as the General Manager – Education and Care. This is the space that has led me to aspire to do the best in adhering to our mantra of ‘Children First’. This has only been possible with a great team of people that have the same vision and ethos to do their very best by children and their families. 

In the 2021-22 reporting period our people were our focus. COVID-19 continued to keep us on our toes, as we learned to live by the rules and learned to live with the pandemic. This period also saw us learn to work differently, working from home when required (for those that were not at a service delivery level) when social distancing was required to remain COVID-19 safe. The biggest thank you goes to our Service Managers and educators who kept the doors of our education and care services open for children and their families. Both Service Managers and educators were flexible and adaptable in navigating moves to other services to support many colleagues who had become unwell and were required to isolate for a period. 

Our Education and Care Services played a significant role in supporting children and families through one of the 18 long day care services, 1 family day care scheme, 2 preschool programs and 43 outside school hours care programs. This is evidenced during the reporting period where LGT Education and Care Services supported:

4707 Children

LDC – 2403 Children

OSHC – 2616 Children

FDC – 154 Children

NB – 466 children use both LDC and OSHC

3474 Families

LDC – 1856 families

OSHC – 1790 families

FDC – 129 families

NB – 301 families use both LDC and OSHC

This reporting period saw many other challenges – workforce issues, low utilisation, floods, outages, supply issues, mandates, masks, COVID-19 plans – to name just a few!  

We also have had success in line with the Strategic Plan 2021-2024. Trainees now have a designated person who supports, mentors, coaches and monitors their progression with study. The leadership program has been reviewed and renewed to provide intentional teaching and will commence in November 2022. Educators who strive to be leaders will be given the opportunity to participate in professional learning to broaden their skills, knowledge and understanding. This program will also support our education and care services with underpinning and succession planning to enable services to have strong, well-prepared leaders of the future. 

The team have experienced fun times, sad times, weddings, births and sadly we have experienced losses within services. But the one thing about our people is the ability to bounce back, support each other, move onwards and upwards, accept each other and it’s all this which makes LGT a great place to be.

I think the next chapter in the LGT journey will be exciting, for example, the building plans in 2023 to expand into and support the Sorell community at the Penna Road site. The infrastructure that has been put into place across the organisation will allow education and care to focus on its core value – ‘Children First’. We can build a bigger and brighter future within this space, with a focus on what our job is and will continue to be – providing the best education and care for our children. 

On closing I would like to thank my colleagues with whom I work closely with on the Senior Leadership Team (Mat Rowell, Annette Barwick and Sam Wesson) and the Education and Care Program Leaders (Courtney Hobbs, Kylie Britten, Miffy Wedd, Shannon Gall, Kathy Ortmann and Mel Byrne) for a great year that has made the decision to retire that little bit harder.  

Pedagogy and Practice 

We have now celebrated our first year of using the Lady Gowrie Tasmania (LGT) Community of Practice to share our exemplary examples of pedagogy and practice within all services at LGT. Collectively we created a library of resources to support educators in their important work and provided a place where we can collaboratively plan together and post about sharing helpful resources, training opportunities and provide provocations for reflection. We conducted a review of the platform’s effectiveness in its first year and collected evidence about how it supported educators within their roles to engage in continuous improvement to raise service quality. I am so passionate about the impact of the Community of Practice that I successfully applied to speak at the 2022 ECA National Conference in Canberra to share this as an example of how we can use technology to drive quality pedagogy and practice.

This year we also implemented a four-tiered professional learning cycle designed to communicate LGT’s expectations of high-quality practices. We held state-wide ‘Think Tanks’ to gather our collective voices on what matters to us in offering high quality education and care and how to practically implement our vision for best practice. Through collecting our vision and matching this with research of best practice, we created a suite of support documents that will eventually make up our updated Curriculum Practices Guide. State-wide online professional learning also took place to unpack these support documents to ensure they were embedded at every LGT service. The documents included:

  • Embedding the Lady Gowrie Tasmania Education and Care Philosophy
  • The Role of the Room Leader
  • Rituals, Routines and Transitions
  • Reflective Practice and Critical Reflection

Future pedagogical support documents that are near completion are Quality Relationships and Engagement with Children, Planning and Documentation and Learning Environments. There are further plans to extend these documents within the next financial year.

Within my role this year I worked closely with Service Managers to support making their Quality Improvement Plans effective in their momentum and in capturing exceeding themes. Managers hold the very important role of being Educational Leaders and driving pedagogical improvements and we have worked at creating strategies to uphold this role to be as effective as possible.  

The last financial year held many challenges with COVID-19 and staff shortages but by holding pedagogy at the forefront of our important work we continued to put ‘Children First’.

Shannon Gall – Program Leader Pedagogy and Practice 


Education and Care Services (North)

The 2021/2022 year has seen significant growth in the North, as we welcomed LGT Pedder LDC, Youngtown OSHC, Punchbowl OSHC, West Launceston OSHC and West Launceston Preschool. We also welcomed many new educators, to support the additional places we can provide across LDC and OSHC. Alanvale continued to successfully partner with the Department of Education’s Working Together program, providing education and wrap around support for 8 children and their families who have previously not accessed an Education and Care program. 

Uni North LDC and Alanvale LDC were successful in securing funding through the ECU Minor Infrastructure Grants, with Uni North undertaking significant upgrades to the birth to 2 years outdoor play space, and Alanvale installing much needed shade and weather protection in the birth to 2 years outdoor play space which will allow children year-round access to outdoors. Norwood LDC also had a significant upgrade to their 3 to 5 years outdoor play space, with a large area of certified soft fall installed allowing children to take risks safely and positively within the outdoor environment. 

Our Leadership Team has increased as the service provision has grown, and we welcomed Hannah Smith and Kristy Wallis as Service Managers in OSHC, supported by Jemma Sullivan in a Second in Charge (2IC) position for the Northern OSHC services. We also welcomed Kendall Bracken as an Assistant Manager at Pedder LDC and saw the importance of this role as Kendall spent time working alongside the Service Manager and transitioned into the role of Service Manager at Pedder LDC in July 2022. We have also greatly benefited from the Operations Officer role, held by Susie Sefton, who is able to provide support to all services in the compliance space. 

Courtney Hobbs – Program Leader Education and Care (North)

Education and Care Services (South)

Wellbeing has been at the forefront of our leadership this year as we continued to battle staff shortages, COVID-19, personal challenges and ongoing change.  As we so often heard, many of these obstacles were out of our sphere of control as leaders but had direct impact on our overall wellbeing at work. 

In June 2021 as an Education and Care Leadership Team, we conducted a survey with the support of Relationships Australia Tasmania to gather data about the culture of wellbeing within the workplace. Through the research phase of this initiative, it was identified that employees were looking for permission to bring their whole selves to work. This presented an opportunity to incorporate LGT’s values of respect, trust, ethics and integrity into our day-to-day decision-making and to demonstrate our commitment to the wellbeing of our people by starting the conversation about mental health. Since this point, there have been many wonderful individual and whole of organisation initiatives to continue the momentum in this space including attendance at community events, participation in the Global Leadership Wellbeing survey, one-on-one coaching for working well and living well, the announcement and commencement of a new Employee Assistance Program, Professional Learning for Education and Care employees and in June 2022, the Lady Gowrie Tasmania Education and Care Managers partnered with Relationships Australia Tasmania to launch an LGT Community Action Plan.  

The Community Action plan (CAP) is a practical plan that communities develop together to safely build supports to prevent and reduce suicide. The focus of a CAP is to increase the amount of support the community receives and gives each other by raising awareness and building skills and resilience in suicide prevention and to improve confidence at identifying and responding to mental health concerns. The three main strategies identified as part of the LGT CAP are training, resource packs and a workplace wellbeing policy. To this point we have completed Accidental Counsellor Training where we learnt valuable skills about supporting someone in an emotional crisis by learning how to recognise, respond and refer to an appropriate service. Participants also learnt how to ask questions confidently and safely about suicide. 

We look forward to embedding all strategies of the CAP to further support a positive workplace culture and to lead the way in workplace wellbeing. 

Kylie Britten – Program Leader Education and Care (South)


Outside School Hours Care and Cluster Programs (South)

Within the southern Cluster programs, it has been an extremely successful 2021-22. Following on from the Lady Gowrie OSHC project completed by Gowrie Training & Consultancy, there was the appointment of a Program Leader for Cluster to support educators, children and families in the programs. There were also appointments of an Assistant Manager for Oatlands and Swansea and a 2IC position in the south to support Cluster Managers. 

Sorell worked closely again with the Gowrie Training & Consultancy team on a project within the OSHC space which saw many wonderful outcomes for children including the increased risk vs benefit approach from all educators. Sorell also commenced a Before School Care program in January of 2022, this program has been able to offer more flexibility and support to local families. 

Fahan was involved in a project with TMAG participating in the annual Banner Project, which was held in conjunction with ‘Lift Off and the Festival for Children and Young People’. 

Mount Nelson OSHC and Sorell OSHC both underwent the Assessment and Rating process and achieved a rating of ‘Meeting’. 

South Hobart Long Day Care was successful in obtaining a grant from the Education and Care Unit for upgrading their outdoor veranda environment to provide a roof covering to protect from all weather.   

Across all programs educators and service support staff, working in partnerships with families, have continued to provide dynamic, passionate, engaging, recreational and play-based learning programs for children. 

Miffy Wedd – Program Leader Outside School Hours Care (South)

Family Day Care Scheme (South)

Family Day Care (FDC) educators have managed to co-exist with the consequences and limitations of COVID-19 affecting most of them in the day-to-day running of their business. All educators contracted COVID-19 at some stage within the year, requiring them to close their business for lengthy periods of time as other members of their families contracted the illness. Some educators had to close on multiple occasions for periods of up to 2 weeks. Despite the difficulties and domino effect on children and families, all educators have maintained professional, enthusiastic, and collaborative relationships between each other, their families and children and the FDC Coordination unit.  

FDC Services Staff have maintained close contact and provided support to all educators registered with Lady Gowrie Tasmania FDC. Field staff have witnessed pre-prepared activities, allowing children to work independently, based on the Montessori program as well as child collaboration and investigation supported by Reggio Emilia. Risky play, nature play and programs based on Lady Gowrie Tasmania Education and Care  Philosophy (in part) “Wonder and Investigation” have also been at the forefront of educators’ planning and children’s learning journeys.

Sophie Pocket – Family Day Care Manager