No-one knows better than Liz Schembri the advantage of having a pathway from early learning to Year 12 for children and families.
Her three children attend St Francis de Sales College at Mt Barker, where she and her husband Adam have been teaching for the past two years, and where from this month she will head the new Alive Catholic Early Learning Centre co-located at the College.
Liz’s current role is Professional Learning coach, which has involved mentoring and working with staff to implement inquiry learning into classroom practice.
Her appointment as Head of Early Learning at Alive (Mt Barker) was announced last month.
Originally from Flagstaff Hill, Liz taught at Emmaus and Holy Family Catholic schools before spending 10 years at the Beijing City International School where she was trained in the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program and was involved in the development of the school’s new Early Childhood Centre.
Since returning to Australia she has “fallen in love” with Mt Barker and the Adelaide Hills and feels lucky to be working in such a “magical” place.
Alive (Mt Barker), which will open in January next year, is part of the redevelopment of the college’s Junior School by Badge Construction.
Reception, Year 1 and 2 students will move into their three new ‘learning neighbourhoods’ next term with remaining year levels shifting at the start of Term 4.
Liz said she was “really excited to see the vision unfold”.
In addition to a seamless learning experience for children from six months to Year 12, one of the key features of the new Alive centre is the relationship between indoor and outdoor learning experiences and the way that this lends itself to inquiry and nature play.
The ELC and Junior School are situated in a beautiful natural environment with a creek, rain garden, kitchen garden and forest nature play.
The curriculum from six months to preschool will embrace Alive’s core belief that children are ‘alive with curiosity wonder, imagination and ideas about the world’.
“The relationship with the College is significant as it will allow the staff to provide a smooth transition for children as they move into the junior school,” Liz said.
“Children will be supported in becoming familiar with the learning space and the teachers before they start in Reception. Another advantage is having access to resources and expertise within the College.
“As a Catholic Early Learning community parents are invited to experience the Catholic faith and all beliefs and backgrounds are embraced with the College’s ‘Seven Heart Values’ embedded in learning opportunities for children”.
From next term Liz will be connecting with families who are keen to enrol their children through open days and tours.
Alive (Mt Barker) is the third Alive Catholic Early Learning Centre in Adelaide, following the opening of Alive (Parafield Gardens) and Alive (Hove).
The centre will cater for children from six months to five years and will be open on weekdays for 50 weeks of the year.
For further information, please contact Alive (Mount Barker).
Source: This article originally appeared in The Southern Cross.