Host: Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association
Written by Michelle Eulenstein
Save the date for the 2018 Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association Federal Conference to be held in Canberra, August 1-2. This promises to be a great conference! Find all information at this link: https://www.icpaconferenceaust.com/ #ICPAconf18
Michelle Eulenstein grew up on Magnetic Island in Far North QLD and fell in love with a farmer at the Goondiwindi Picnic Races. Phill, Michelle and their two children live on the family farm “Boola” in Northern NSW where they farm grain alongside Phill’s parents. Michelle is the secretary of the Moree Branch of ICPA.
Our children have got a good thing going at Tulloona! We’ve created a great little educational hub at the school where we have our Primary School, two visiting Mobile Preschools, a library service, Kindermusik classes and piano lessons. Let me tell you all about the women who are making this possible!
We truly have fabulous teachers at the Tulloona Public School! Our teaching principal, Mrs Quinlan, is likened to the energizer bunny and she seriously never stops. The amount this woman can achieve and the quality in which is delivered is truly amazing. By her side is Mrs Faulkner and as you would all know in every small school there is someone that needs to know everything from nursing to plumbing, from administration to sight words, Mrs Faulkner is our jack-of-all-trades! Mrs Underwood is our creative arts teacher who will tell you she can’t paint to save herself but does an unbelievable job of scaffolding art projects so well that our children produce magnificent art works. The children have travelled all around the world learning different art skills found in the countries they visited. This year the art work was displayed in the small schools exhibition at the Goondiwindi Show.
Art display at the Goondiwindi Show.
All the children had a window seat on this around the world trip!
Our school is also lucky enough to have Mrs Woods, Mrs Holcombe and Mrs Hickson who are all ICPA members, which is evident as their passion for small schools certainly hasn’t waned since their own children were in primary school. Mrs Hickson is the Secretary of the Boomi branch of ICPA and Mrs Woods and Mrs Holcombe are members of the Moree branch of ICPA, Mrs Woods being our one and only life member. It can be very difficult to staff a small school but we are lucky enough to have these women, farmers from our community, who are so passionate and dedicated to our little school that they just can’t help but teach our beautiful children!
But that doesn’t quite complete the picture, we also have two visiting Mobile Preschools with no less than five fabulous women running early childhood education programs; Wendy, India, Sharon, Bronwyn, Steffi and Rachel. Don’t worry we know just how lucky we are!! We have a preschool day on Tuesday with a visit from the Gwydir Mobile Preschool where a tonne of messy fun is made all with adventure and exploration at the forefront of their inquisitive minds. Then on Thursday the Tharawonga Mobile Resource Unit brings endless craft activities, slime, dinosaurs frozen in time in ice eggs and a coffee machine! Occasionally, the preschoolers are joined by one of Steffi’s baby animals, this week was Dolly the kid, who had to go inside for quiet time and a nap with the human kids in the afternoon because she was so worn out.
Preschoolers got to feed Dolly.
Straw threading to make beautiful necklaces.
This footprint painting hangs pride of place in our preschool room.
Once a month on a Tuesday, Wendy also brings with her a bundle of books for each family from the Moree Library. We wanted something to alternate with our Kindermusik classes on a Monday morning but since the local library wasn’t equipped for making visits they offered us this fabulous service instead. The lady who puts our packs together asked us what kind of books we like and does an excellent job of selecting suitable books for each family every month.
The Gwydir Mobile Preschool truck can’t possibly fit any more in!
We have also begun Kindermusik classes this year which is a music class embedded with educationaly rich experiences. Mrs Lockrey drives all the way out from Moree to deliver the program and we were lucky enough to receive a few donations to cover her travel costs for the first half of this year. We meet in the preschool room for four lessons a term and we play instruments, dance, listen to stories and sing our hearts out for an hour. Monday mornings are usually pretty hard work but after Kindermusik we’re all a little more upbeat (pun intended!)
Kindermusik at Tulloona.
A bit of snuggly time with teddies during Kindermusik.
Finally, we have private piano lessons on a Tuesday taught by me with a Japanese Club in the pipeline!
How lucky are we to have this amazing bunch of women working together to give our children the best start in life?!