As you might know, Manningham used to be home to a large Greek population. Still today, just over 8% of the council’s population claim Greek ancestry. Despite this, most of us might not have heard much Greek in our daily lives. Over the last two years though, we’ve become a bit more familiar with Greek as Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Lambda, Mu and now Omicron became part of our daily conversations. Yes, the Coronavirus with all its Greek named variants were again the main theme for 2021.
It is however another Greek letter that I want to reflect on: Omega. Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet, but it has connotations with several concepts such as the end, conclusion, resolution, and result. We have reached the end of the year, and despite the challenges of repeated lockdowns, remote learning and even a COVID case at the kinder, I think there are more positive things to look back on. There was much more face-to-face learning this year than last year, and when he had to shift to online, we were more prepared and experienced. The same goes for dealing with all the COVID regulations and even the positive case at the kinder – everyone was very prepared and could take it in their stride. Most encouraging is that the COVID vaccines appear to be working and with the very high vaccination rates in Victoria, there seems to be some resolution. Life is now the closest to the ‘normal’ it has been in almost two years, and we can look forward to a Christmas season where we move around more freely and spend time with larger groups of people.
The fact that Doncaster Kindergarten had a good year, is largely the result of our dedicated, experienced, and skilled staff. To our three teachers – Meg, Elva and Letitia – our three educators – Carina, Rachel and Melissa, and our office assistant, Liz, our sincerest appreciation. We are grateful that you remain committed to the growth and welfare of our children and that nothing gets you down.
There are also other results that we are grateful for as we look ahead to 2022. We have full enrolments in all three classes for next year, so the changes we made to class times seems to have been well received by families. We are also in a healthy financial position, despite a reduction in our income. For this we want to acknowledge Manningham Council who has been very supportive by giving us rent relief for about 15 months. A healthy financial position means the kinder can continue investing in the quality of the educational program by upgrading and expanding resources and toys. Furthermore, all the main roles on our committee of management for 2022 have been filled. It is a wonderful group of volunteers who will represent all the families in the governing of the kinder, lead by the incoming President Emily Tabualevu. I wish Emily and her team all the best and hope everyone will give them your full support.
It is also the conclusion of my two years as President of Doncaster Kindergarten’s committee of management. It has been a real honour to represent all the families in this role and to play a small part in the 53-year story of Doncaster Kindergarten. It is because I have seen the teachers, volunteers and community step up over two difficult years, that I have so much confidence in the future of this kinder. I would like to thank the entire committee of 2021 for their time and valuable inputs. A special thanks to Shafaq Azad our Treasurer and Melissa Briggs our Secretary, who made up the Executive Committee with me. I’d also like to acknowledge Biyun Chen, David Jayashelan, Nevania Visser and Yishan Chan who will leave after serving for two years and Domenic Toscano who leaves after serving faithfully for four years. Elena Fenner and Alex Lu who also served with me both years, will stay on in 2022 (along with several other committee members), continuing to lend their experience to the committee.
To all the families who are at the end of their season with Doncaster Kindergarten, I thank you for being part of our community and I trust you leave with positive memories. To the families who remain or who are joining the kinder for the first time, I encourage you to stay or get involved in the life of the kinder. These early years in our children’s lives are so valuable, yet they go by very quickly, and your involvement will benefit your child. Moreover, I am sure you will also find it personally enriching, especially as you engage with the rich diversity of our community.
I would like to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas season, filled with peace, joy and rest, and a flourishing 2022! May the new year bring new beginnings and new hope.