Greetings and welcome back to the new year. With all the kids installed happily in school / kindy we hope to have time each month to update you on SIOCS activities. Scotland Island Kindy has had a big 12 months and we thought you might like to hear about some of our victories for last year and exciting plans for the year ahead.

You may know that a massive campaign run by Anne Palmer, the original president of SIOCS, managed to secure sufficient enrolments and administrative structure to re-open the kindy in 2006 after the demise of KU (the previous managers of the kindy). Last year
we seized on that momentum to make sure the kindy could continue operating as a well oiled machine into the future.

The appointment of our new director Dorothy Pollard in June was a great step in securing an ordered and structured future direction for Scotland Island Kindergarten.

Dorothy brings a wealth of experience to her work, with a background in child psychology, primary education and Rudolf Steiner philosophy. She has delighted the children with her repertoire of songs, craft activities and creative play, and has stimulated the staff and parents to a new level of understanding in our relationships with the children.

Staff embarked on specialist training with Dorothy to synchronise each staff members way of engaging the children. In addition staff have also been undertaking training in practical areas such as First Aid, Occupational health and safety, Food Hygiene, and Child Protection.

In April last year Anne Palmer stepped down as President to be succeeded by Petra Godfrey. Petra and the committee have subsequently tackled the massive task of achieving Accreditation with the National Childcare Accreditation Council, which ensures Scotland Island Kindergarten can continue to offer Child Care Benefit subsidies to parents. This exacting task has required huge efforts from the staff, Director and Committee alike to ensure all requirements are met, and is still underway as you are reading this. The benefit of all this effort is we will know that our kindergarten is meeting very high national standards!

2007 was a good year for fundraising, with proceeds coming in from Scotland Idols, Susan Duncan, the Market Fair Day, and Rocky Horror Show. Rocky Horror of course used the kindy as their dressing rooms, so it was a very interesting overlap!

Some of the funds raised have been put into refurbishing the building which was in need of some TLC. Over the Christmas break the interior received a new paint job which has made the place much fresher and the children much calmer. A lovely new pure wool circular carpet has created an inviting place for morning circle, sleep time and play activities. We have also ordered heavy duty plastic awnings to create a new room on the deck, which is a place for older children who don't sleep in the day to play quietly while younger ones rest. We also received a grant from Telstra for new challenging playground equipment to be installed outside.

As we now have additional staff on each day there is more adult time to share with the children, or get small day to day jobs done. Overall this year there is a more calm and productive feel to the kindergarten. Some staff are bringing their own special touch to the day. One staff member does yoga for the big kids who don't want to sleep after lunch.

If any parents have a particular skill they want to bring to the children (musical, artistic, football, whatever), for either an afternoon's workshop, or more regularly, then the kindy staff would be delighted to hear from you.

Camille has returned to the SIOCS holiday programme after some time with new baby Cleo, however she is looking for a helper if anyone out there wants to get involved. Just before school went back this year there was a number of workshops which were all attended most enthusiastically, so look out for the April programme.

By the way, we'd like your help to make light work of the upcoming clean out for council clean up day. A couple of hours with people clearing around and under the building will make it safer and cleaner for our kids. Planned date is MARCH ?, only two weeks away.