Above and beyond at Bingara Preschool

April 11, 2014

A life-long career devoted to young children and an ability to tap into their individual needs and talents comes second nature to Bingara Preschool Director Janeane Pratt, who as a result has been nominated for a prestigious award.

In a double coup for the town, the wonderful facility she oversees has also been nominated. Bingara Preschool has been put up for Service of the Year and Janeane is in the running for Early Childhood Director of the Year in the Australian Family Early Education Awards.

Bingara Preshchool team
Deserved recognition for Bingara Preschool and its director, Janeane Pratt.
Left: Janeane, Jade Dixon, Casey South and Toni Small.

Of her personal recognition, Janeane was quick to deflect and acknowledge her peers.  “It is definitely a whole team effort,” Janeane said.

“From the Social Services Department and the staff to all the families and what they put into it. It gives you a buzz and makes you feel very valued.”

Janeane has been with Bingara Preschool for three years and was previously at Tharawonga Mobile Resource Unit. In addition to numerous courses and training, she also holds a Bachelor of Teaching in Early Childhood Education. After working in the field for much her life she concedes there is not much to do with children she hasn’t come up against.

“No, there isn’t much I haven’t seen, but it is typical of children – just when you think you have something figured out, they do something different or something changes. It is not an easy job, but obviously we all love what we do or we wouldn’t do it.

“There are certainly always challenges, but it is interesting and there are always opportunities for ongoing learning and training. We are constantly trying to fit in with community needs and communicate with families, and it is lovely to hear the feedback where parents and others are really valuing what we do with the children.”

Bingara Preschool really does run by the motto ‘Where early childhood education through play is serious business,’ with everyday experiences turned into educational opportunities.

Students are offered diverse opportunities and are heavily involved in The Bingara Show and Orange Festival, Christmas Carnival and Gwydir Art Show and use local resources including The Toy and Town Libraries.

It is one area where the ‘cycle of life’ can be viewed in practice. “I love seeing the teenagers (who we once taught) go out in the workforce and see them succeed. Preschool has a lot to do with that.

Families are realising more and more that preschool is not just where their children are looked after – it is where they learn resilience – how to cope with a whole range of day-today issues and challenges and is one of the real building blocks for life.

You see the babies come in with their big brothers and sisters and then their turn comes along.

It is beautiful to see them learn and develop and head off into school, knowing they have that foundation behind them. Then they grow up and come back with their own little ones!”

Australia Family managing director and judging chairman Paul Clancy said childhood professionals and services play a vital role.

“Early and middle childhood professionals and services go above and beyond just ‘minding’ our young Australians.

“These awards are one way that working parents, professionals, families and communities can thank and acknowledge the fundamental role early years professionals perform in the social, educational and emotional well-being of young children,” Mr Clancy said.

The awards are judged by a distinguished panel of professionals from the early childhood sector and look for individuals and services that represent the best possible quality in their day-to-day work with young children.

State winners are to be announced shortly. The national winners will be announced at a gala dinner in June and share in over $75,000 in prizes including $40,000 in training and professional development grants.