BUILDING CONFIDENCE: Amelia Sheales, teacher Brooke Goodwin, acting principal Natalie Wagstaff, Elias Fulton and Keona Tulen in the prep classroom at Mt Archer State School
BUILDING CONFIDENCE: Amelia Sheales, teacher Brooke Goodwin, acting principal Natalie Wagstaff, Elias Fulton and Keona Tulen in the prep classroom at Mt Archer State School Jann Houley

Who is Central Queensland's Teacher of the Year?

When you enter prep at Mt Archer State School, you might be forgiven for thinking you're on the foothills of Mt Fuji.

Mt Archer students greet each other, describe colours and body parts, and understand classrooms commands in Japanese which, in turn, creates opportunities for parents to engage with the school.

Brooke Goodwin was singled out, in the Showcase Awards for Excellence in Schools, for her initiatives in developing language skills among children in classes as early as prep.

"The children love to take their learning home with them,” said Mrs Goodwin, who was named Teacher of the Year.

Mt Archer school's prep cohort (from left) Naomi Wigginton, Taylor OLeary, Brooke Goodwin, Natalie Wagstaff, Amanda Walsh, Kaye Hamilton, Renee Ruhle, Amanda Carnell, Toni Robinson.  Back row Rob Stewart, Annita Mennell, Nicola Harcourt, Sharon McKee, Roxy Thomsen, Elise Crawford, Michell Taylor, Alex LeBris.
Mt Archer school's prep cohort (from left) Naomi Wigginton, Taylor OLeary, Brooke Goodwin, Natalie Wagstaff, Amanda Walsh, Kaye Hamilton, Renee Ruhle, Amanda Carnell, Toni Robinson. Back row Rob Stewart, Annita Mennell, Nicola Harcourt, Sharon McKee, Roxy Thomsen, Elise Crawford, Michell Taylor, Alex LeBris. Jann Houley

"Unless the children have other siblings who have gone through our program, parents often come in to find out what they're talking about.”

The mother-of-two, who learned Japanese during her own school days in Bundaberg, has worked in Gladstone, Anakie, Bloomsbury, Winfield, Hervey Bay and the Torres Strait.

She describes the secret to effective teaching as being dedicated and hardworking.

"If I see a program is going to have real outcomes for the students, I'll take it and run with it,” she said.

Mrs Goodwin visited Japan two years ago during cherry blossom season.

She intends to use her prize money to visit other schools which have also trialled second language use in everyday learning.

"For some of my students, such as those whose families come from Vietnam and Korea, this is actually their third language.”

Mt Archer School also won the Network Ten Showcase Award for building confidence through successful early years learning

Acting principal, Natalie Wagstaff, said the school has received "overwhelming” feedback on the excellence it builds into not only its prep program, but also into its relationships with other stakeholders.

"We liaise with early childcare and kindy facilities so they understand our focus before children come here, and with local high schools so their journey continues after they leave us,” she said.

"We've put on guidance officers, speech therapists and done a lot around our teachers' in-class reading strategies.

"We've also done extensive work around disposition and behaviours, which has seen huge personal growth in our students as they grow from junior to high school.”

Other schools which earned commendations include Glenmore State High, Park Avenue State, Rockhampton State High, Capricornia School of Distance Education and Moranbah State High Schools.



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