Wednesday, 15 August 2018
Berowra Electorate: Thornleigh West Public School, Berowra Electorate: Goodstart Early Learning Child Care Centre
I want to take this opportunity to talk about two wonderful educational institutions that I visited in the electorate of Berowra in the last week.
Thornleigh West Public School has created an amazing environment where children are supported, cared for and encouraged to flourish. A big part of that is due to Thornleigh West's amazing parents and citizens association, led by the indefatigable Vanessa Erickson. Last Friday, in celebration of Education Week, I had the privilege of being a guest during their Friday school assembly. I was treated to a series of superb performances from the school dancing club, the junior and senior choir and school band, and the students performed a fantastic dramatisation of Paul Kelly's 'From Little Things Big Things Grow'.
My highlight of the assembly, though, was the senior choir's performance of a song called 'A Duck Named Sybil', written by my constituent Rachael Collier. The song is about a duck that belongs to Stuart Jones, the owner of Brewhaha, which is a famous and much-loved cafe in Hornsby. So it was the perfect exhibition of my electorate's community spirit and talent. I want to offer congratulations to Principal Chantal Mamo, who's recognised for being nominated for the Principal of the Year award. The families of Thornleigh West know that their children are in the hands of a dedicated principal who values educational excellence and sound values. I also want to commend Alex Redford who was officially recognised as a fully-qualified teacher at the assembly.
On Friday I was also lucky to have the opportunity to visit the Goodstart Early Learning Child Care Centre in Berowra. There, Karen Wallace and her deputy, Heather Miller, lead a team of enthusiastic and hardworking educators. Karen is a highly respected member of the community, having worked at the centre for over 20 years. I want to commend her for the significant contribution she's made. The children at the centre are highly engaged in play based learning, and they develop confidence and autonomy. The nought- to three-year-olds showed interest when I had the opportunity to read to them. I was particularly impressed by the program for the three- to five-year-olds, who were learning about ancient Egypt, making pyramids out of paper, reading picture books about mummies and decorating a mask of Tutankhamen.
One member of Karen's team has worked at the centre for over 20 years and runs a program that explores the works and styles of great artists, such as Picasso, van Gogh and Monet. Over the years, the children have produced their own interesting interpretations of those most famous works. One child, Ollie, who is only five, presented me with a sign urging me to help the farmers. Ollie should know we are working hard to help the farmers and deliver drought-relief assistance packages. I want to commend him for proving that it's never too early to lobby your local MP!
I thoroughly enjoyed my visits to both these educational institutions. They are two of the many educational institutions we have in Berowra. And I'm very lucky to have 51 outstanding schools in the electorate—public, independent and Catholic—and they educate our growing population of 26,000 students. I want to commend both the Thornleigh West Public School and the Goodstart Early Learning Child Care Centre Berowra for giving the children in my electorate an excellent start in life.