St Nicholas Early Education Raymond Terrace celebrates opening blessing
Smiles were in abundance at St Nicholas Early Education in Raymond Terrace recently, when the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle bishop, Bill Wright officially opened the centre.
The facility is licensed to provide care and education for 77 children, between the ages of 0-5 years.
Over 70 people attended the event, including the Mayor of Port Stephens- Cr Ryan Palmer.
Uncle Neville, a Worimi elder, commenced proceedings with a Welcome to Worimi Country.
“We the Worimi are spiritually connected to this land which has sustained our people for many, many years,” Uncle Neville said.
Centre Director, Lauren Hayes, said Uncle Neville’s Welcome was compelling and echoed the centre’s commitment to teaching children about the importance of compassion, understanding and cultural awareness.
“Each morning students at St Nicholas Early Education undertake an Acknowledgement of Country. It is our aim that this will instil in them deep respect of the Worimi people and awareness of their history in the area,” Ms Hayes said.
Inspiration from the Worimi people is evident at the centre, with each of the rooms taking on a name from their Gathang language. They include; the Wila Room- meaning Black cockatoo; the Munni Room- meaning star, the Tookun Room- meaning sun; and the Keewong Room, meaning moon.
According to the diocese's chief executive officer, Sean Scanlon, supporting families in the local community is what led the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle to open a St Nicholas Early Education facility in Raymond Terrace.
“We want to support parent’s right to work and, to provide quality education opportunities for children in their formative years,” Mr Scanlon said.
“The early years of a child’s education is critical; if we can get that part of their education right, it sets a strong foundation for the years ahead,” Mr Scanlon said.
Bishop Bill echoed Mr Scanlon’s sentiments and said the ministry of working with infants and children is part of the church’s commitment to supporting families.
“The Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle is proud to be able to offer early education services in Raymond Terrace, in response to the pressing community need,” Bishop Bill said.
St Nicholas educators implement a Reggio Emilia inspired curriculum that is underpinned by a child-led, play-based approach to learning. The program is complemented by the centre’s high ratios of educator to child, ensuring personalised care and support.
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