Saturday, May 16, 2020




We have continued to open the Centre every day and offered a reduced service to families following government guidance.  Staff have worked on a rota basis and if not in work have worked from home.    Staff have worked tirelessly to support children and families in the best way possible.

What have we done differently?:

•          Setting up the Pen Green Pantry and Kingswood Kitchen to support families who are struggling financially, this allows us to receive food donations and enables staff to distribute food parcels to families in need.

•          Taking food parcels to families homes.

•          Dropping off resource packs, games and books to children’s homes for families to do together.

•          Keeping in contact with children and families through Skype calling and facetime.  For some families (dad’s) this has improved communication.

•          Some parents have asked for a daily phone call, staff are offering emotional support as well as practical ideas for families to do during lockdown.

•          Our on-line platform for sharing children’s learning has been used more frequently by families, sharing video, photographs, observations, learning stories.

•          Staff regularly post ideas and challenges on tapestry (online journal) for families to engage in.

•          We have offered virtual groups for children with special educational needs, this has been supported by centre staff and a music therapist.

•          We have set up regular virtual check-ins for staff to allow them to keep connected with one another.

•          This has been a very challenging time for everyone and we have had to try to find different ways of working that keeps everyone safe.

•          We have continued to offer staff monthly supervision sessions (1:1) with their supervisor this has been done virtually.

•          We have used social media including Facebook and our website to post ideas, staff telling stories, children’s yoga, baking sessions etc. for families to do with their young children at home.

•          We have posted lots of information about safeguarding online to remind parents how to keep their children safe including information about online safety.

•          Our government have continued to pay the Early Years funding for our 2, 3 and 4 year olds, however a real challenge has been the additional income that we generate through selling hours to families.  The lockdown has meant a loss of £19k per month during this time.

Angela Prodger & Tracy Gallagher
Joint Heads of Centre

Our vision is to inspire, challenge and innovate to improve outcomes for all children but specifically the most vulnerable children and their families.
We provide training courses, leadership and research opportunities and bespoke school to school support in all aspects of early years work.

The Pen Green Centre was set up as part of a substantive under-fives initiative and is housed in a 1930s former comprehensive school. At the Centre we offer high quality education and care for children and their families. We also offer information and support services for parents through home visiting, group work, health interventions, adult education and training as well as the professional development, training and dissemination of good practice though the Research, Development and Training Base, and the Teaching School. The principle functions of the Centre have remained constant over the last 37 years although we have significantly developed the accommodation. We have maintained our principles of operation; withstood radical changes in local and national government; responded creatively to new legislation and to major demographic changes, and influenced national government policy in early years.

“In every small community there should be a service for children and their families. This service should honour the needs of young children and celebrate their existence.  It should also support families, however they are constituted within the community”

Friday, May 15, 2020



"There are aways many times when we reflect on our philosophy and pedagogy and right now is one of those times.  This global pandemic has seen many of our children staying at home; many of our families working from home; many families becoming unemployed and some of our children continuing to play and learn at preschool each day.  
 This has been a provocation for me and my Educational Team to reflect on kindness, gratitude, connection, and staying true to our philosophy.  We have opened our hearts even more to our children and families to support them during this very challenging time.  And as we have found more ways to celebrate gratitude, we too have found more joy in teaching and sharing our lives with our children and families.  
 One of our acts of kindness was inspired by how the pandemic was impacting and restricting our children's and families' freedom to enjoy their neighbourhood.  In NSW, Australia, public playgrounds are closed and families are only allowed to move around their neighborhood to exercise. I became very aware that during the 2 weeks school holidays our gorgeous nature-filled outdoor learning environment would be empty of children.  So with careful planning, I invited 2 families a day to play and exercise in our playground.  This supported their connection to the preschool and provided our children and their families to have a morning or afternoon outside their homes, knowing they were safe and not breaking any rules. Our families have told us that this very simple act of kindness meant so much to them.

Although now my days are filled with more policy writing and implementing new procedures to ensure the safety of my team, children and their families, I am so privileged to be able to continue to teach each day.   This brings me great joy, especially during this time.  

Loris Malaguzzi's words are always in my heart - "Nothing without joy". 

Catherine Lee
Director/Nominated Supervisor and Early Childhood Teacher  
The Point Preschool
Oyster Bay, Sydney

Our vision is to continue the dream of the Oyster Bay parents who originally built the preschool to create a preschool that nurtures and values children and brings families and communities together. Proudly providing high quality, not-for-profit, community-based early childhood education since 1956.

We acknowledge the original custodians of this land, the Dharawal people and their language and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the community.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

What does gratitude look like?

This morning when I got up and read my local paper I was overwhelmed by the beauty of one woman's story in our paper. This story was written in our paper by a Stuff Report Libby Wilson and was entitled "Coronavirus: Cancer treatment in Hamilton during Covid-19 lockdown like a 'holiday''. It was certainly a title that caught my attention.

I am sure this would not feel like a holiday to me. But this is the feeling of Metua Tangaro-Daniel-Malietoa who was to begin her radiation treatment during lockdown. She says this: 
"For me, as a grandmother of eight, and four adult children ... It's the first time I have actually just not cooked, or done any kind of housework. It's like, oh, wow, thank you Lord. It's a blessing," the Tokoroa woman said.

 Metua has four adult children and eight grandchildren, so it's a change to have no cooking or housework to do while she stays in the Cancer Society's Lions Lodge in Hamilton. She was full of praise for the place she was staying in, the people around her and the meals.

Each day she writes daily thank you notes on the back of her menu! As Libby Wilson writes the former social worker says she has never eaten or slept so much, but has fitted in some work for community organisations, and daily video calls with mokos. I want to wish Metua all the best for her life ahead. I have no doubt that it is filled with joy...  as Ivan Panin wrote:

For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to recieve it. 

Thank you Metua for bringing joy into my life today. Arohanui Wendy

Monday, April 27, 2020

Kindness from a distance

 We are so delighted to share this post from these Yeshiva University business students...

Kindness from a Distance is a movement started by four Yeshiva University business students, Maia Dori, Tali Goldman, Atara Rolnick, and Pamela Abraham in an effort to spread kindness and positivity during these difficult times filled with uncertainty and fear. This account was made with one goal in mind, to spread as much positivity and kindness during this time of isolation as possible. They wanted to spread positivity through doing small acts of kindness for others, in order to bring people closer together during this time when we are all apart.

A hashtag was started, #kindnessfromadistance, to allow people to share their acts of kindness with one another. Additionally, people can send their kind acts and be featured on the Instagram page. This helped inspire people to do other kind acts from a distance and gave them new ideas! This Instagram quickly blossomed into a kindness community filled with engaging dialogue among followers and cheerful daily stories filled with inspiring quotes. Please check us out on Instagram @kindnessfromadistance and send a picture of you doing an act of kindness if you would like to be featured on our page!

Here are some ideas for kind acts you could do from a distance... 

Please check us out on Instagram @kindnessfromadistance and send a picture of you doing an act of kindness if you would like to be featured on our page!
We hope you will take time to contribute to this group, you could also use their hashtag on your instagram posts #kindnessfromadistance 

Friday, March 27, 2020


On Stuff, Coronavirus and specifically about the Kiwis who are sharing stories of kindness under #BeKind hashtag on Twitter....

Kiwis have taken to Twitter to share stories of kindness as New Zealand enters Covid-19 level four lockdown.

New Zealanders must now stay indoors for four weeks and only emerge for essential purposes, including going to the supermarket and work, if their job is an essential service.
On Wednesday night, Microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles encouraged people to share stories of kindness on Twitter, under the hashtag #BeKind, a phrase coined by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as she addressed the nation on Monday. Some examples:

A PhD candidate said her supervisor had agreed to lend her flat a bicycle for going to the supermarket so she could avoid public transport.

"My elderly father saw a woman get yelled at in the supermarket because she was confused about where/how to line up. Dad let her go in front of him forcing the ill mannered person further back in the line," said another.

"Be kind," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.

One woman said she had been enjoying spotting teddy bears in windows despite the idea being targeted at children.

Sadly, I do not have a teddy bear to add, but maybe these Pigs will brighten up someones day??

Others shared acts of kindness they had done to make others' lives easier.

"I've told my tenants that if they are made redundant during the next two months not to worry about rent. We will keep you housed."

A woman who usually helped an exchange student get to and from the airport said she took her in as she couldn't return home, nor could her family fly to New Zealand to be with her.

"Now I have a third daughter to care for. An awesome addition to our bubble."

Another said she helped an older couple load top up vouchers onto their phones.

Check out sharing stories of kindness under #BeKind hashtag on Twitter....