27 May 2022
Spotlight on Jo Stratton - Preschool Educator at Evelyn Scott School
Winner - ACT Early Childhood Educator of the Year - 2021
As a Foundation Team Member at Evelyn Scott School (ESS), Jo has established a brand new preschool in the heart of a new suburb. She collaborated with Support at Preschool (SAP), worked in partnership with families and championed the concept that preschool is foundational learning, not simply preparation for big school. Jo worked diligently to set up the preschool from ‘scratch’ by sourcing and selecting ethical learning materials, loose parts, play equipment and high quality texts for children. Jo actively constructed strong communities for learning by initially sharing the preschool with the school’s OSHC program, co-constructing lines of inquiry based on local wetlands and frogs with a focus on building indigenous cultural awareness for children. Children absolutely love preschool with Jo and families praise her work consistently because she genuinely builds the learning around children’s gifts and talents. Jo recently won the position of Play Based and Transitions Coordinator at ESS earlier this year and has already built capacity by sharing play-based learning and EYLF (Early Years Learning Framework) principles across the school. During remote learning, Jo conducted virtual excursions, virtual showcases and virtual read-alouds/sing-alongs as a daily part of her program. She has mastered the use of the school’s unique digital platforms to share learning with families and also collaborate with staff. Her focus on Environmental Stewardship was immensely popular for children and she routinely incorporates elements of nature based learning like the ESS chickens (incubated onsite) into her planning. She authentically follows curiosities, interests and fascinations and every day sparks joyful learning for preschoolers. Our preschool is genuinely set up as the third teacher and she follows the learning by creating beautiful displays targeting questions that children pose, such as ‘Do butterflies have eyes?’ and ‘What’s inside the egg?’ In this way, she co-designs units of inquiry with children and her professional practice is exemplary.