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The Life Of A FELC Committee Member

6am: head shot (drank), Sit down (drank), stand up (drank)

No, not really…Sadly my life as a committee member resembles less a Kendrick Lamar song and more a kind of coffee fueled hunger games to find all the my son’s socks, Where socks?! Where do you go!

About Me
I’ve been a committee member for nearly a year. I went back to study Occupational Therapy full time last year and had to find somewhere to care for my son who was 7 months. While very cute he was fundamentally opposed to being forced to sit quietly in a lecture theatre and the library for 7 hours a day. Thus began our journey to finding the perfect childcare. I was very conscious of finding the right place for him to spend so much of his time. I wanted to find somewhere with a homey feel of a home daycare with the reliability, facilities and convenience of a bigger childcare centre. Oh and we needed to be able to actually afford the fees (small, tiny inconsequential detail).

Why I chose Fremantle Early Learning Centre
For me Fremantle Early Learning Centre had that perfect balance of being community and not for profit so all the funds go to the children and their care while still having highly qualified staff and achieving best practice (say by getting ‘Exceeding’ in the standards assessment). As a student of OT I was also looking for somewhere that had a good understanding of child development and promoting play. The daycare is run by the management team in conjunction with the parent committee who meet at least once a month to discuss the running of centre (marketing, staffing, events and new developments). A lot of our families including my own are bilingual. Multiculturalism is a strong facet of Fremantle Early Learning Centre (FELC), One which all of our staff support. Its an aspect that drew me to the centre initially. I love that I can bring in french books and cd’s and the staff will happily read them and incorporate french phrases we use at home in their care of our son.

How I Became a Committee Member
So yeah I was pretty pleased with finding FELC. Coincidentally so was my son, every morning he would launch himself into the waiting arms of Olga or Megan for a cuddle with a level of excitement usually reserved for playing with our dog or eating peanut butter. After a few months at the daycare, Natalie the manager asked if I wanted to join the parent committee. Naturally as someone very adept at overcommitting her time, I said yes. Indeed, while my life (and all of our lives) since having a child feels stuffed full of life. I nevertheless  do still want to be on the committee.

What do Committee Members Do?
As a committee member I have an opportunity to take ownership and contribute to my daycare community. I have contributed to grant applications for resources for FELC, my husband assisted with the construction of the animal enclosure for our Animal Friends project. In committee meetings I have the opportunity to advocate for things I value like using environmentally sustainable practices, sensory play and nature play.

As committee members we volunteer our time to help organise and run Christmas pageants, Easter picnics, Busy bees and the centre open day. We discuss in our meetings how to connect more to the fremantle community. We fundraise and decide we do to make the centre better for the kids and community. We write grant applications and talk to our contacts in the media to promote the centre. I’m saying that as in the royal “our”, I personally have no contacts in the media. One of our members designed our beautiful new logo design. We use all of our talents and our friends talents and now they don’t take our calls anymore, So do you have talents? or friends? as we need some more. Remember when the centre had lambs and your children got to feed and play with baby lambs everyday? Those lambs were brought there by a committee member. The committee also works with local groups and taskforces and have advocated for better security in the area. We are organising some events with the local community in conjunction with the council on the oval behind the centre. We’re basically angels in human form (what’s that you say? Angels don’t eat dessert for dinner, well this angel just did my friend).

That Seems Like A Lot Of Work
I will say this, there are all types of committee members who make all sorts of contributions of their time and skills. I consider myself the hi-lo milk version of a committee member, I’m help-lo. There are far worthier members than myself. Members who have busted their heavy cream guts for Fremantle Early Learning Centre devising huge marketing plans, budgets and websites. I know naught of business, that may be why I was allocated the task of writing this blog post.

So join us. You get to know the staff and how the centre runs and you will love it all the more when you do. You get to hear about all the things your child has to look forward to when they move up through the rooms. You can suggest a fantastic idea or new way of doing things. A staff member is always on hand to take care of people’s children during the meetings. Plus we get snacks at the meetings and there’s always bubbly water.

Or if you can’t or don’t wish to join the committee then hopefully you now have a bit of an understanding what the committee does (socks, community, beyonce, christmas, milk etc). I hope you feel comfortable coming and speaking to any of us about any thoughts or concerns you have about the centre. Then we can raise it with management or at a meeting.

Elizabeth Boulakdam

Lamar, Kendrick. Head shot (drank), Sit down (drank), stand up (drank) “Swimming Pools (Drank)”. Good kid, m.A.A.d city. CD.  Top Dawg, Aftermath and Interscope. 2012. http://genius.com/Kendrick-lamar-swimming-pools-drank-lyrics

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