G8 announces 2022 National Standout Educator Award winners

This is Juliet Davis’ second time winning the Sustainability award for the environmentally friendly practices she has embedded at Great Beginnings Secret Harbour.

“I am thrilled to once again be recognized for the work that I do in the area of sustainability – my greatest passion in life,” said Ms Davis.

“It is so incredibly rewarding to educate these young minds and teach them the importance of caring for our planet and all of the fascinating creatures that live alongside us.”

Sustainability underpins everything we do at G8 Education because we care about protecting childhoods for today and tomorrow.

This comes to life in our corporate approach but also on microlevels in our centres and community leadership.

“I have created a lengthy Sustainability Management plan for our service, with short, medium and long term sustainability goals, with the aim to reduce energy waste, water waste, food waste and focus on incorporating these into our program,” she said.

“We make upcycled gifts for families, we have recycling monsters for the children to feed plastic, paper, and cardboard, a resource centre filled with recycled items to be used for art and crafts as well as a worm farm and composting centre, just to name a few.

“I see no limit on what we can do as a sector to care for the environment and to reduce our impact on the planet.”

Our Educators and Teachers are shaping our future citizens, which is why community engagement and developing active members of society is so important.

Our Community Engagement winner for 2022, Jade Steley said providing opportunities for those connections has never been more important than in a post-Covid world.

“After spending way too much time at home, indoors and closed off from the world with my own children, I made it my mission when I returned to work to get children back outside, back in nature and back into the community.”

Jade Steeley from Creative Garden Coombabah exploring bush kindy with children

In the past 12 months, the children in the Kindy Room at Creative Garden Coombabah have enjoyed countless excursions including a barista masterclass at Zarrafas Coffee, shopping at Bunnings for their kitchen garden project, regular bush kinder explorations and donating items to local op shops.

“The varied interactions you can experience while out in the community is so critical in developing children’s social and communication skills.

“COVID-19 restrictions took that opportunity away from these children, so I feel I have a responsibility to give them as many opportunities as I can.”

Congratulations to all our award winners, and to all our Educators and Teachers across Australia who make an impact in children’s lives every day.

G8 partners in Australian-first nappy recycling trial

G8 Education’s Welly Road Early Learning Centre is at the centre of an Australian-first nappy recycling trial. In partnership with Kimberly-Clark, this trial could be Australia’s answer to preventing 1.5 billion disposable nappies ending up in landfill each year.

The first trial of its kind in Australia, The Nappy Loop has been underway in South Australia since July 2022 and uses anaerobic digestion to turn the organic materials in used Huggies nappies into nutrient-rich compost, as well as bioenergy that is captured and used to power the recycling process.

The Nappy Loop

“G8 is one of Australia’s largest early learning providers with 440 centres across Australia, and one of our biggest contributors to landfill is nappies which is why we are proud to be partnering in this trial so we can be part of the solution rather than the problem,” said Ali Evans, G8 Education’s Head of Early Learning and Education.

The Nappy Loop team is led by Kimberly-Clark Australia, along with Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, one of South Australia’s largest composters Peats Soils and Garden Supplies, Solo Resource Recovery and one of G8 Education’s South Australian centres Welly Road Early Learning Centre. Together, the team has collected and recycled almost two tonnes of used Huggies nappies from the Welly Road centre, proving that anaerobic digestion is a viable option for the recycling process.

“Through this partnership the nappies changed every day at our Welly Road centre are recycled instead of going into landfill. As educators of our future generations, sustainability is a core focus in all our 440 centres across Australia and we’re excited to contribute to this partnership and the positive environmental impact it can make,” said Ms Evans.

“As Huggies is the most popular nappy brand in Australia, we not only set the standards in baby care, our goal is to set the standards for our industry in sustainability too. We believe we have a responsibility to lead by example and find better solutions for the community and our planet,” said Kimberly-Clark ANZ Managing Director, Belinda Driscoll.

The Nappy Loop trial has adopted a B2B model, with Solo collecting used Huggies nappies from G8 Education’s Welly Road Early Learning Centre in Mount Barker and delivering them to the Peats composting facility for processing.

“We are very passionate about changing things locally, to make a global impact at Welly Road, so we were privileged to have a chance to contribute to such a significant project like The Nappy Loop.” said Welly Road Early Learning Services Centre Manager Kristy Wheeler.

Utilising anaerobic digestion, the organic material in the used nappies is transformed into nutrient-rich compost whilst the plastic components are separated and evaluated for future recycled products. In addition, the anaerobic digestion process creates bioenergy which is captured and used to power the Peats composting facility.

“CSIRO is working with Kimberly-Clark Australia to provide scientific validation of The Nappy Loop pilot to help tackle waste. Our research for this Australian trial will help inform the team on the potential scaling of the program to help reduce the amount of nappies ending up in landfill,” said CSIRO’s Principal Research Scientist Dr Anu Kumar.

“Anaerobic digestion is a growing area of focus and possibility in Australia. The process has been used successfully in Toronto, Canada to recycle disposable nappies and we are excited to be introducing this innovative approach in the Southern Hemisphere as we work to solve the nappy waste issue,” said Managing Director of South Australia’s largest composter, Pete Wadewitz.

After five months of recycling used nappies, The Nappy Loop team is now exploring the opportunity to scale the program in South Australia and nationally. This includes partnering with APR Plastics to test the recycling of the recovered plastic from the nappies using pyrolysis, with the aim of having results available in early 2023.

G8 announces new benefit model for Early Childhood Teachers

G8 Education’s Early Childhood Teachers will have the choice to either enjoy two weeks additional leave or higher wages from next year, as part of the provider’s fight against growing sector-wide workforce shortages pressures.

G8 Education’s Chief People Transformation Officer Tabitha Pearson said it was time for the business to think differently about how to attract and retain team members, which is why they are introducing a new innovative employee benefit model – starting with reimaging their offer for Teachers.

“No two people are the same, so we thought, why should their employee benefits be the same,” she said.

“Our centre-based, long daycare teams don’t have the ability to work flexibly from home or out-of-hours, but we want to still recognise their value and afford them with flexibility in other ways.”

In 2023, Early Childhood Teachers at G8 will receive an additional two weeks’ accrual of leave, with the option from July 1 to swap one or both weeks additional leave for an equivalent higher hourly rate increase.

Early Childhood Teachers continue to be one of the hardest roles for early learning providers to recruit, with the pressure predicted to grow as new early learning reforms come into effect across the country.

National Skills Commission’s Employment Projections suggest that demand for Early Childhood Teachers will grow by 21.6% from November 2021 to November 2026.

That is more than 10,000 more roles to fill sector-wide on top of the current 2,200 vacancies already listed online.

“This is just the start for us. Our vision for 2023 is to reimagine our employee benefits for every role and create room for all our team members to create their own journey,” said Ms Pearson.

To find out more about what a career at G8 Education could look like for you, visit the careers website.