Meet our new Preschool Centre Manager, Ellen White
A warm welcome to our new Preschool Centre Manager Ellen White who joins ACG Tauranga this week. A Tauranga local and mother of two, Ellen has more than ten years’ experience in Centre Manager and Education Director roles. A passionate educator, she believes that play and exploration are key to learning for under-fives, and that a great preschool is built on strong, meaningful relationships between staff, children and families.
What made you choose to come to ACG Tauranga?
When I found out that the preschool would be on the school premises, I thought, wow! As an ECE teacher, I know how important transitions are – both into preschool and then from preschool to primary. Being onsite, our children will be creating relationships with teachers from day one. The seamless transition for children will be amazing.
How would you describe your educational philosophy?
I believe in a child-led, play-based programme. Creating environments that allow children to explore freely without a large teacher influence is essential for children to develop theories and learn about problem solving, cause-and-effect and curiosity, for example. These are skills that are necessary not just in ECE, but right throughout life.
What makes a great childcare centre?
Meaningful relationships, respectful practice and open resources.
A child care centre built on relationships with staff, children and families is extremely important, with opportunities for free play, exploration and the ability to think outside the box. It’s about creating an environment where children and family feel they have a strong sense of belonging, a place where respect for each other and the environment is evident, a place where children can feel a sense of calm when needed.
What excites you about ECE?
I believe education in early childhood is the freest form of learning that a person will ever do. The ability to use play to explore, enquire, problem solve and form relationships is so exciting and to be part of that process for a child and their family is such a gift.
Why is ECE important?
A child’s mind/brain creates so many connections and pathways in the first five years. Early childhood education is so important to ensure that play supports the creation of these pathways – not only for the school years, but for lifelong learning.
ACG Tauranga Preschool opens this week. What will you be looking for in teachers and staff?
I’ll be looking for a passionate teaching team that share similar thoughts and philosophies, and who have themselves made a commitment to be lifelong learners. They will be motivated to provide an environment that allows children to explore and make discoveries and will be committed to practices that will allow themselves and the centre to grow.