On the Monday morning that Jacqui Taylor returned to work at Rainbow Station Early Education Centre as National Director of the Year, she received four enquiries from prospective new parents looking to place their child in Rainbow's care. Since then, as news of Jacqui's win spreads, the new enquiry rate has continued to grow and so has the waiting list.
One of the perks of gaining national recognition in the sector is being able to casually drop that into a conversation to see where it will lead. Jacqui's tried it a few times with pleasing results including new enrolments and interest from new sectors of the community.
Parents, children and staff gave Jacqui a lovely homecoming, with a special morning tea held in her honour. "That was really nice for me and nice for the whole team, because the award wasn't just about me, it really is a team effort."
Amongst Rainbow's team of 14, nine staff members are currently completing some form of professional qualification from a Certificate 3 up to a Bachelor degree. And the professional learning won't stop there! With the $4000 prize that Jacqui received from One World for Children, each staff member will complete an online PD course.
Jacqui's also taking back to her centre something that inspired her from the PD workshop that she participated in at the Awards Celebration. "At our next staff meeting, we'll be doing vision boards. I'm taking the artwork I created in the Awards PD Workshop to show staff what I did there." Jacqui's hope is that she'll be able to re-create the atmosphere of open discussion and inspiration that occurred amongst all the state winners at the Awards PD Workshop that she enjoyed so much.
Chatting with the other state winners at the Awards celebration was one of Jacqui's highlights. "We were able to engage in deep and truthful professional conversations which is quite unique. It was great to meet the other directors and educational leaders and we will keep in touch, I'm already Facebook friends with some of them so it will be nice to know what they are all doing."
Rainbow Station's approved provider, Leisl Pyke-Nott, nominated Jacqui and was also Jacqui's guest at the Awards Celebration. According to Leisl, "Jacqui goes above and beyond her duties. You will always see Jacqui with a smile. She is well respected within the community and will often be seen helping an educator study, or helping families in times of need." Leisl has Jacqui's utmost respect for her unwavering support not only of Jacqui and the Rainbow Station team but also for the wider community.
Supporting the community is obviously integral to what Jacqui and Rainbow Station does. Being a member of Strengthening Children and Young Person Interagency - comprising workers from Family services including Brighter Futures, health, education, housing and FACS - enables Jacqui to obtain critical assistance for families and children in need. Leisl provides financial support for the Interagency by providing the meeting room at the local commuimity centre.
Jacqui is planning to use her $5000 PD grant from Nestle NAN Toddler to fund training in trauma-informed care which will be made available to all staff and some parents. Rainbow Station has also used part of Jacqui's $1000 prize from Educational Experience to purchase art and craft materials which they'll use to create artworks for Brighter Futures.