Lady Gowrie Integrated Child and Family Centre are finalists in the 2018 HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards' Advancing Pedagogy category.
The centre was recognised for their evidence-based action research project ‘Physical Health and Wellbeing: Innovative approaches in an inner-city community’ which aims to build educators’ capacity to provide opportunities for children to develop their physical health and wellbeing.
Lady Gowrie began the project after the Australian Early Development Census sought expressions of interest for action/reflection projects in Tasmania.
Initial research revealed that children attending the service lived in 36 AEDC identified communities. When compared, the developmental domain Physical health and wellbeing showed a range between 5.0% and 17% of developmentally vulnerable children captured in the last published census.
This outcome meant the project’s focus would be on exploring ways to improve children’s physical health and wellbeing, in particular developing their gross motor skills.
A multidisciplinary team was brought together to facilitate the project which included approaches like introducing activities to challenge children’s physical abilities.
As a result of the project, educators are now empowered with the skills and knowledge to create physical environments that thrill and challenge children, promoting their neurological and physical development.
The mutual rewards are clear to the centre's Bridget Blain, and being named a finalist in this year's Awards has topped a remarkable year of work.
"There are so many things that we find rewarding in our work," Bridget says. "Building strong relationships with children and families and sharing in their achievements are amongst the greatest!
"It’s a privilege to be selected in the Awards and to represent the Lady Gowrie Tasmania Integrated Child and Family Service team and our professional community, who have been alongside us on this journey.
"If we win, we plan to use the prize money to work with other Lady Gowrie Tasmania educators and the Gowrie Training and Consultancy team to explore the benefits of Action Research."