Children help Big Fat Smile choose activity gurus for its 27 community preschools and 14 fun clubs

Innovative leader: Big Fat Smile chief executive Jenni Hutchins. Picture: Greg Ellis.
Innovative leader: Big Fat Smile chief executive Jenni Hutchins. Picture: Greg Ellis.

Big Fat Smile is evolving its recreation and leisure program with the introduction of specialised Activity Gurus in its early childhood education centres.

From the beginning of school term three, the Activity Gurus will rotate through Big Fat Smile’s Illawarra-based Fun Clubs.

Its aim is to teach children diverse skills through cooking, drama, music, and art.

Tori Ellis, Dale Newman and Emily Irish are the new Activity Gurus creating colourful and exciting activities for children based on their areas of expertise.

Together their skills range from drama to illustration and cooking.

Activity Gurus are being introduced by Big Fat Smile because play-based learning has been proven to develop important life skills in children that lay a firm foundation for their future development.

Skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, negotiating, communication, self-control, resilience and building a child’s natural curiosity for the world around them are among those covered.

Ms Ellis said she thrilled to be selected as one of Big Fat Smile’s new Activity Gurus.

She said she was excited to share her passion for drama with Fun Club children from term three.

“My special talent is drama,” she said.

“I will be engaging the children in drama games and learning activities that focus on a new theme each week. My philosophy is to develop confidence, self-expression and creativity in a safe and fun environment. These are life skills that the children will be able to take with them and use every day in the real world”.

Big Fat Smile chief executive Jenni Hutchins said the recruitment of the new Activity Gurus will enable Big Fat Smile to create a broader and specialist-delivered range of play-based learning activities for children.

“We work closely with our families and pedagogical experts to continually develop our curriculum and activity programs,” she said.

“Our objective is to provide a holistic, play-based program that supports the foundations of literacy, numeracy, creativity, information technology, sciences, critical thinking, problem solving and emotional and social well-being”.

Some of the children from Big Fat Smile’s Fun Clubs were actively involved in the recruitment and selection of the successful Activity Gurus.

The children tested various activities of candidates, rating them on the day with the help of their educators.

These scores factored in to the final decision for the successful Activity Gurus.

“At Big Fat Smile we put our children at the centre of everything we do,” Ms Hutchins said.

“They are our reason for being. Involving them in the recruitment of the Activity Gurus was an engaging way for us to glean insights into the type of activities the children will be the most responsive to and able to learn from.”

Big Fat Smile’s Fun Club Activity Gurus are an extension of the successful Artists in Residence program presently being implemented across the organisation’s 14 Fun Clubs and 27 Community Preschools.

The Artists in Residence Program sees practicing artists visit Big Fat Smile services to engage children in play-based learning through art and music.

“Our Activity Gurus and Artists in Residence carry the Organisation’s value of imagination in their core and are one of the ways that Big Fat Smile delivers on its vision of educating for a braver, brighter and more creative world,” Ms Hutchins said.

Read more: