Meet Jenny Rees, Director of Early Learning and Outside School Hours… | Coomera Anglican College

Meet Jenny Rees, Director of Early Learning and Outside School Hours Care

Jenny joined the College in 2007 as Director of the Early Learning Centre, having over 20 years Primary teaching experience in the independent system and five years as Foundation Director for St Mary's Catholic Child Care Centre.

She holds a Bachelor of Education, Advanced Diploma of Children's Services, Diploma of Children's Services and Certificate III in Children's Services. 

She has also been a lead Director in the Education and Care Services for the Brisbane Anglican Diocese. Within this role, she has mentored fellow Directors in parish and school-based services, in addition to managing and leading her team.

As Director, Jenny has ensured that the Early Learning Centre at Coomera Anglican College has achieved a rating of 'Exceeding National Quality Standards' in accordance with the Education and Care Services National Law and Education and Care Services National Regulations through the accreditation process.

What inspired you to pursue a career in early childhood education, and how did you get started in this field?
I was teaching Year one in a school in Brisbane whose community encompassed a significant number of Sudanese refugees, many of whom had experience trauma, dislocation, and hardship. This, for many, was their first experience of a classroom. Finding themselves enclosed in a space for a day was an enormous challenge.  It was at this moment that I realised the power and importance of play-based learning and how I might be able to make a difference in a child’s life.

I have always loved working with children of all ages but my passion for early childhood was born out of the joy of learning, where every experience is an adventure and no one moment is ever the same. 

What do you see as some of the most important skills and concepts that children should develop during the early learning years?
Early years education provides the foundation for lifelong success. It is a child’s emotional and physical health, their social skills and cognitive linguistic capabilities that emerge in these early years that are important for success in school, the workplace, and the wider community. Emotional wellbeing and social competence are the base for all emerging cognitive abilities. It is the soft skills of persistence, resilience, problem solving, creative thinking and strong communication skills are key areas that are developed in a high-quality early childhood programme.

Describe one of the most memorable moments you have experienced as Director of Early Learning at Coomera Anglican College.
In my role I am privileged to experience and celebrate many ‘wonder’ moments. The moments which will remain with me, are those that reflect the power of our community and the knowledge, that it takes a village to raise a child. That village is, Coomera Anglican College. It encompasses the child who arrives from overseas with no English, leaving three years later fluent in both his own language and in English. It is a stage filled with 124 children performing their Christmas concert for an audience of over 300 people, confident in everything they do. It is joy, on the faces of families, as they proudly celebrate their child’s transition to Prep at the ‘Crossing of the Little Bridge Ceremony’. Finally and most importantly, it is the smile, the hug, the exclamation of delight when a challenge is achieved that reminds me of who I am and what I love the most.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering a career in early childhood education, and how has your own career path influenced your perspective on this field?
Be passionate and never be afraid to be ‘that advocate’ for Early Childhood Education.

Your encouragement helps others to learn, grow and improve to be the best that they can be. Be true to yourself and appreciate each person’s unique characteristic so you can bring out the best in them.

It is the most rewarding career as you will always make a difference.

As a leader in my profession, I am extremely proud to be part of Early Childhood Education and hope that through my community, I have raised our profile and demonstrated that young children can be and do, whatever they choose to, provided we believe in them and give them the opportunity. 

I love, every moment of every day, that I work in my position at Coomera Anglican College and am blessed to have a community who believes in all that I stand for.