This philosophy is influenced by over 80 years of our unique history since the inception of the Lady Gowrie Child Centre (Adelaide) in August 1940. Children and families are central to our work and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is an underpinning framework for our practices. Core themes for our work are inclusion, relationships, partnerships and learning.
We are committed to reconciliation for an Australia where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and all other Australians participate in an equitable and fair society. We recognise early education as offering pathways towards generational social change contributing to better life outcomes for all young children. We engage early childhood educators in exploring and implementing culturally responsive practices that provide safe and inclusive environments for all children and their families. These practices support the provision of a sense of belonging, rich learning opportunities and appreciation of the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and cultures.
A strong sense of connection and purpose for all people is vital for a healthy community and society. Our work is underpinned by the principles of valuing diversity and inclusion, demonstrating our commitment to the right of every member of our community to belong, to participate and contribute. We ensure socially equitable practices so that all people have the opportunity to succeed through having high expectations for the learning and development of all in our community. In our work with children and adults we foster a safe and healthy environment to ensure all feel accepted, respected and supported intellectually, emotionally, physically and culturally.
Relationships and partnerships
Partnerships are central to our work with each person having the right to provide feedback, and be involved. Our staff commit to creating positive and reciprocal relationships with children and families, with our clients and each other in their day-to-day work; listening to, and responding respectfully to others. Through relationships and partnerships we ensure that different preferences, perspectives and interests are heard, valued, respected and included.
We believe that children have the right to secure relationships and this belief arises from our understanding of attachment theory and is realised through our commitment to primary caregiving practices that preserve continuity of relationships in our children’s program. Through families and educators sharing information about children’s uniqueness, interests and experiences, we will work together to support each child to feel secure to thrive. We work to ensure that children and families exercise their right to be part of decisions that impact them.
We work to develop reciprocal and respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities throughout South Australia, consulting with, and learning from Elders and knowledgeable Aboriginal people to enrich our work. This supports us to create sustainable relationships with people and environments to promote a sustainable and positive future.
Child and adult learning
We believe that learning continues throughout life and is enriched within an inclusive and welcoming community. We recognise that a child’s learning takes place within their family and our role is to understand and support this within early childhood settings. Our learning environments offer children rich and meaningful experiences that enable them to engage with community, language, culture and nature, with a focus on the joy of discovery, where our educators learn with and from children. Educators support children’s learning through listening and responding to children and offering opportunities to participate in play-based learning. Through intentional teaching, educators sustain flexible practices, building on child voice, family cultures, knowledge and interests, creating rich learning for children. These beliefs are expressed in our pedagogical principles.
We are committed to adult learning and support our staff to participate in learning together within our day-to-day work. Gowrie SA educators and staff continue to embed child and adult learning through understanding and striving to be culturally competent. We incorporate opportunities for rich reflection and professional dialogue, exploring early childhood theories and practice and engaging with contemporary research. We promote the importance of ongoing professional development and learning to the children’s services sector.