Cheryl Cannon on Guugu Yimithirr Playschool: preparing children for success at school
In this interview Guugu Yimithirr Playschool coordinator Cheryl Cannon discusses Hope Vale’s new playgroup and how it will help set-up the community’s two, three and four year olds for success in school and beyond.
Who is Guugu Yimithirr Playschool for and when can they attend?
The Guugu Yimithirr Playschool is for children aged between two and four years old, they can attend the playschool from Tuesday to Friday, 8.30 to 1 o’clock, doing lots of different activities preparing them for school.
What is your role in Guugu Yimithirr Playschool and tell us about yourself?
My name’s Cheryl Cannon and Hope Vale is my home. I’m a teacher, I’ve taught at the Hope Vale school – I was acting principal for a stint there. I’ve worked with Good to Great Schools Australia and other schools in Western Australia, Northern Territory and I also taught up in Thursday Island. My role here is the coordinator of the playschool, supervising the staff, organising the program and engaging families to participate in playschool.
What kind of activities are there for children in Guugu Yimithirr Playschool?
The activities we implement are to develop children’s gross and fine motor skills, following routines, following directions, building their social skills. And the program includes singing, playing, dancing, movement, brushing teeth, washing hands, following hygiene routines. These routines are practised at home, but we want them to follow it through when they are at Playschool. Healthy eating – so we want to prevent – you know – diabetes down the track, so let’s start healthy eating here at Playschool.
Why is Playschool good for parents and grandparents too?
We include parents and grandparents to participate, so they may bring skills that they have at home that they can share here with the others, and giving an opportunity for parents to see how to set routines, follow routines, implement different activities if their child needs – you know, encouragement in different areas. And help with reading, how is the best way to read at home, and to encourage reading, love of books, how we care for books. And play-based activities – you’re not just playing with something, you’re talking about it, you’re discussing the colours, the shapes, the animals, the people, so it doesn’t just direct to one thing – it is a whole lot of things in one learning activity.
Why is Playschool important to help children get ready for Prep at school?
Having them attend Playschool, especially coming every day, so we know that attendance is important, every day counts being at school. Getting them school-ready so they know the routines, and following directions. So we want them to be school-ready, following directions, following routines and being at school every day. Attendance is important.
What excites you the most about Playschool?
I think what excites me most is that it is available to all children, not just children of working parents, or children who – it’s available to all children and everyone’s welcome.
What is your dream for the children of Hope Vale?
My dream is to set them up so that they succeed at school, that leads them to success in later life and to be role models in Hope Vale, for them to take up leadership roles.