Our Parent Committee
Did you know that Ripponlea Kinder is run by a parent-led Committee of Management (CoM)? Each year, parents of the children attending the kindergarten are elected during the Annual General Meeting in November. As a Not For Profit, we just couldn't get by without the help of these amazing individuals.
Here is our wonderful 2022 committee and what they have to say about each of their roles!
We look forward to electing (and welcoming) our new committee in the upcoming AGM.
If you are a self-motivated and organized person with natural leadership abilities, this role is for you! Leadership comes in many forms and styles and this role will certainly provide the opportunity to develop new skills and refine others. The president plays a crucial role as the person who must maintain management oversight of the kinder, while guiding the work of the Committee to support delivery of the kinder service. This involves considerable relationship management and the president works very closely with the kinder Director and Committee Executive, while maintaining awareness of wider Committee work. The president is also responsible for managing stakeholder relationships and representing the interests of the kinder in discussions with Ripponlea Primary School, Glen Eira Council, Department of Education (DET), Early Learning Association of Australia, and in various other forums.
In recent years, the Early Education sector has attracted significant government funding, resulting in infrastructure upgrades and changes to the kinder's programs, staffing and budget. At times, this has required proactive engagement and advocacy to DET about the impact of its policy initiatives on the kinder. While policy or legal experience would be beneficial to assist future presidents in this regard, the most important skills, which anyone could have, are a curious mind, a desire to achieve the best outcomes for the kinder and pure tenacity to resolve any issue.
As the approved provider of the service, risk management, due process and governance will inform every decision you will make. However, your executive team provide excellent support and bring a wealth of other skills and experience which should facilitate a healthy consensus-based model of decision making.
The role of president will be as all-encompassing as you let it.
The VP role is a great opportunity to work closely with the staff, Executive Committee and other committee members to support the workforce and staff development needs of the kinder. Anyone who has worked in education, not for profit, HR or management roles will have great, transferable skills, but the role could also be taken on by someone looking to build and learn skills in this area. The staff team is experienced, passionate and child centred and are always looking for the best and most effective ways to support the needs of children and the service, and are an absolute pleasure to work with. There is opportunity to lead or support particular projects linked to service change and development if that is an interest area, for example the recent changes to programming in response to State Government reforms. It is also a good opportunity to work closely with other executive team members and build committee and governance experience, without necessarily taking on the demands of the role of President as a newer Committee member!
There are a mix of regular and one-off tasks depending on what is happening at kinder. Policy reviews, oversight of staff hours and meeting attendance and reporting are a regular and short term input of 2-3 hours each fortnight or month. Staff appraisals and contribution to contract updates or reviews are supported by the admin officer and take place twice a year.
When new roles are advertised or specific projects taking place, a more significant time input is required, but these are always negotiated and can and should be balanced around your other commitments. We are a team on Committee and can and do support each other when we need it.
The Secretary role provides you with a great overview of how the kinder is run and as a member of the executive team you get to be involved in key decisions. With no background in education or not-for-profits I've found it interesting to learn how a small business functions & have loved feeling a part of the kinder community. My son also loves that I "work" at his school!
This role would best suit someone who is organised & a good coordinator, but with no technical skills necessary, anyone with a little bit of enthusiasm and a good diary reminder system would be great.
The busiest times are during the monthly committee meetings (once per month) and ahead of the AGM in mid-November. Otherwise I've found the role to be very manageable and have been able to put my hand up to help support other team members as necessary. If you're on the fence, give it a go!
If you're a numbers person you'll be drawn to the Treasurer role. Some of the most rewarding aspects of being the Treasurer were when a structural change to the kinder's funding or expenses is now expected to occur and you'll need to project the financial impact of that. For example, maybe the government is changing its funding policy, or maybe staffing requirements are changing and therefore expenses will too. If you've ever been involved in budgeting or forecasting in your day job you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.
Monthly reporting, BAS and payroll is handled by our bookkeeper rather than the Treasurer, so you won't need expertise in these functions, but having a general understanding of how the pieces fit together will help. Week-to-week you'll need to pay a handful of emailed invoices using online banking. Having some commercial experience with budgeting and forecasting would be helpful in this role.
The grants writer position is about perusing the internet for any potential grants that come up throughout the year that could benefit our fabulous kindergarten. Applying for a grant involves checking off the eligibility criteria, collating all the required information and drafting the word sections of the application. As grants usually have a short application window, it's important to regularly check what's out there and manage your time to ensure the application is submitted by the close date.
It's great to be involved in such an important funding source for the kinder. To give you a taste of what's possible, I've been involved in a kitchen refurbishment, landscaping and sun shades for our wonderful outdoor space and plans for a new accessible bathroom, new IT equipment for educators and new sensory equipment for children. Although there may be some busy periods in the role, the position is very satisfying when the grant application is successful and even more so when you finally see the fulfillment of a project. Give the position a go, it's definitely worth the effort knowing that the entire kinder community will benefit!
Kathy & Melinda
A busy but enjoyable role that enables you to get to know all the kinder families quickly! Quite structured in terms of the calendar of events, but in between these items, you do need to be able to answer future parents' queries in a prompt manner, usually with a short email. You need to be organised, have good attention to detail, transparent and fair. I've held this position for 2 consecutive years (after being parent rep for 2 years), and this past year has been both challenging and (thankfully!) rewarding, due to the changes in 3yo kinder re: 15 hrs and government funding support. I've learnt a lot about early childhood teaching priorities and models of care, and also gained insight into the background workings of our amazing kinder staff members & CoM team. My fellow CoM and kinder parents have become very close personal and family friends over the past 5 years we've been at the kinder. I would encourage you to give the Committee 'a go', and please do come and have a chat if you'd like further advice about this role, which will likely look a little bit different from 2023 onwards, with admin support to be provided.
This role is a great way for new families to get involved in the kinder community and to meet lots of other families. The role involves planning and running both social and fundraising events and recruiting volunteers along the way to help you! While a rough outline of the role exists, new ideas for events are always welcomed with any social gathering that brings parents and families together, a great contribution to strengthening ties in our community and raising some funds for the kinder. In recent years the pandemic has prevented kinder from doing any fundraising events and very few social gatherings have been held, beyond play dates organized by the individual class reps. The time commitment for this role really depends on the number of social and fundraising events organised. Make of it what you will!
This is an important yet manageable and rewarding role for anyone who wants to help with the running of the kinder but can't commit a lot of time every week. Anyone who's handy with a drill and basic tools will be an asset! The main responsibility is to liaise with the kinder about any maintenance issues that need attention during the term and then either fixing or repairing yourself, or organising a trade to do the job. The other key part of the role is to organise one working bee per term - rallying other kinder families is the hardest thing about this! You might need to do some runs to the hardware store and as a key holder may need to be on hand to open the kinder or let in trades. The sustainability part of the role has a focus on making changes to the kinder's environment that improves sustainability outcomes, either through composting, recycling, energy efficiency, water management or other relevant initiatives.
Communication and Marketing Officer
I have been in the Marketing Officer role for the past year. It was the first time I've ever taken on a committee role or worked in a Not For Profit and really enjoyed learning how it all comes together. The purpose of the role is to showcase the Kinder and fill vacant enrolments for this or next year. This role will appeal to anyone with a Marketing or Digital background, or perhaps a Design or Communications background. As my day job is in Digital Marketing, I've focused on the online presence (online reviews, Google Ads, Instagram Ads, Analytics) and now these are set up they should be able to continue running with just a few adjustments to the ads. I'd never used Canva before or Webnode (to update the website) but these platforms are intuitive and easy to understand. In no time I was designing the Gary Peer board and going through past emails to understand how that process worked. The team is very supportive and I enjoyed getting to know everyone, as my family were entirely new to the area this year. At the start of the year there was some time investment to get things set up, but ongoing this is not a demanding job, I would estimate between 1 - 5 hours a week and usually on the lower side.
Quality Assurance Officer
This is a great role for familiarising yourself with the Kinder and has been a fantastic opportunity for me to expand my QA experience.
The role primarily involves monitoring the progress of goals, projects and initiatives to support our Staff and the Kinder Community document achievements and track areas identified for improvement.
No QA experience, no worries! Just a keen eye for detail is all you need. There's plenty of resources and support available along the way.