Since being named 2015's National Rising Star, life for Emma Larsen of Avenel Pre-school in regional Victoria has been quite a whirlwind!
Emma's local media have been right behind her and she's been interviewed several times. Stories have appeared in the Euroa Gazette, on WIN TV Shepparton, and the Seymour Telegraph (the photo at right appears with thanks to Seymour Telegraph). Even the local newspaper from Emma's hometown of Bright have got wind of the news and are planning a story. Australian Catholic University (Ballarat Campus), where Emma studied for her Bachelor of Education, have also interviewed her and have distributed a media release celebrating her success.
According to Emma, the response from the local community has been 'fantastic!'. The local primary school, with whom Emma has forged very close ties on behalf of the preschool, sent flowers while all the other schools in the area were quick to congratulate her achievement.
Families currently enrolled at Avenel Preschool have expressed their pride in Emma and have obviously been helping to spread the word about their wonderful teacher. Since Emma returned home from Sydney with her national award, enrolments in both the 4-year-old and 3-year-old groups have grown.
The preschool has gained four new 3- year-old enrolments, and enquiries for 4 year-old kinder have reached the point where Emma has had to cap 4 year-old enrolments for the first time. Pleasingly, enrolment queries have come from new areas of the community including The Bridge organisation which specialises in supporting young mums.
For Emma though, it's the children's reaction that stands out the most. The kindergarten children were very impressed by the fact that Emma got to fly on a plane to Sydney, and when they first saw Emma's gorgeous star-shaped trophies "they thought the trophies were the best thing ever". Ever since then, the children have been calling themselves "The Star Children", and with a teacher like Emma they are probably right!
Emma's nominator Sue Brown, Manager of the Goulburn Region Preschool Association, agrees that Emma is one young educator who has proven she really is a rising star in early childhood. "Emma was appointed to the position of early childhood teacher at the Avenel Preschool at the commencement of 2014. She was a new graduate, appointed to a stand alone kindergarten in a rural community. A really tough job even for a seasoned experienced teacher, let alone a new graduate. Emma has faced many and varied challenges in her first year, and still comes back smiling ready to face the next challenge.
"Emma is proving to be an excellent educator, she is committed to a holistic approach to children’s learning, and using the community to work together to create a safe, stimulating, sustainable and nurturing environment."
Currently Emma is planning on using the $4000 One World for children Training grant to complete a diploma of Community Sector Management and hopes to use the $5000 professional development grant provided by Community Child Care Co-operative to travel to an overseas conference.
We wish Emma a long and distinguished career in early education and care.
Find Avenel Preschool online at www.grpsa.com.au/site/avenel