ECEC Provider in Focus – EVOKE Early Learning

ECEC Provider in Focus – EVOKE Early Learning

EVOKE Early Learning is an early childhood education and care (ECEC) provider with two services in Victoria – one in Albert Park and one in Clayton.

Established by approved provider Charles McDonald, EVOKE Early Learning is the culmination of 20 years of working in the ECEC sector, which began when Mr McDonald sold the family farm and moved into metropolitan Melbourne to further his children’s education, purchasing a service along with four colleagues. .

By 2006 the group owned a number of services when the members realized “we needed to have a personal focus on the running of our centres” proceeding to set up a management structure with a strong focus on people and quality.

“My philosophy in life and business has always been based around trust and ethics and being supportive of those I work with,” Mr McDonald shared. “I strive to encourage and support strong and inclusive teams that allow individuals to flourish as we work together to excel at our common goal of excellence in our shared visions.”

Vision, philosophy and approach to learning

In 2011, EVOKE (then part of the Nido group) turned its focus to an 18-month intensive study of Reggio Emilia Philosophy, exploring its origins, understanding the history and evolution of the practices involved, and exploring how it is organized today.

In 2015 Nido Clayton was opened and in 2016 Nido Albert Park. Moving into 2019, the Nido partners decided to go their separate ways and Mr McDonald took the next step in his ECEC journey by taking sole ownership of these two services.

“One of my key objectives again was to promote continuous improvement in the quality of education and care provided at these services,” he explained. “They would provide the best educational environment for our children to grow and learn, in what is widely recognized as the extremely critical first 1,000 days of their development,”

At this juncture the services were rebranded as EVOKE with the Banskia flower featuring heavily in the branding, symbolizing “our rebirth as a service and the beginning of something new.”

“The Banksia species occur naturally only in Australia and has survived and adapted to climatic change,” Mr McDonald explained.

“Every Banksia flower is unique and beautiful in its own way. “

Are there any unique aspects to the EVOKE offer?

Yes, there are.

EVOKE seeks to “future proof” children by developing skills of adaptability, creativity, curiosity, open-mindedness and innovation to transition to school successfully and beyond by embracing the Reggio Emilia approach.

Children learn in an environment which embraces play based learning through which they are encouraged to develop strategies to construct working theories about how to take care of nature, learn, and grow through their own creativity and play.

“We immerse our young learners in experiences which enable them to explore, question, collaborate, think critically, problem solve, communicate and discover new knowledge,” Mr McDonald said.

“We value play and nature as contexts for learning and curate the environment to provide experiences for children to be curious and creative, take risks in their learning, ask questions, explore and learn from each other. Young children learn authentically through intentional experiences that are holistic in their design.”

Open-ended play and child centered learning are core facets of EVOKE’s perspective. Curriculum intention plans are developed, informed by the educator’s knowledge of each child. As well as the approved learning frameworks, the service embraces 8 Ways, Zones of Regulation, 16 Habits of Mind and the principles of Pikler and RIE to support children.

To learn more about EVOKE Early Learning please see here.

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