On 14 June, the New South Wales Government announced an injection of $5.8 billion into the childcare sector over the next 10 years. This boost comes as a response to the statewide shortage of early childhood educators, as well as to build a sustainable pipeline of early childhood educators and teachers for tomorrow (New South Wales Liberal, 2022).
The importance of early childhood education has been found to not only help develop strong educational foundations in children, but also identify any health and development issues that might make learning difficult for students when they begin school (Baker, 2022). This play-based learning can have a positive correlation on vocabulary development, reasoning, and early numeracy skills development (Raper, 2022).
Currently 339,015 children aged four to five are enrolled in a preschool program, an increase of 1.3 percent on last year’s figures, according to the Australia Bureau of Statistics (2022). The majority of children aged four to five only attend preschool two days a week (Australia Bureau of Statistics, 2022) but from 2030, they will be able to access five days of childcare free of charge. Under this universal system of pre-kindergarten, children will be able to experience a full year of play-based learning before their first year of school (Raper, 2022). Additionally, more childcare centres will be built in ‘childcare deserts’ across suburban, regional and rural New South Wales where demand outweighs supply. Approximately nine million Australians or 35 per cent of the population live in neighborhoods that are classified as a childcare desert (Mitchell Institute, 2022).
The state government is also rolling out the ‘Perrottet package’, led by New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet, which will give Australian domestic students and permanent residents early childhood teacher higher education scholarships of up to $25,000 towards their degrees (New South Wales Liberal, 2022). This will form part of the 2022/2023 NSW Budget that is setting aside a $281.6 million workforce package (New South Wales Liberal, 2022). So why would students want to study their Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Birth to 5) at Excelsia College? While experiencing intimate class sizes, and learning from passionate teachers with years of experience both in the classroom and designing pedagogy, our students get hands-on training and can form industry connections before they’ve competed their studies. Over their four years of study, Excelsia College students will undertake over 80 days of practicum experience and be confident to step foot in the classroom as a well-qualified early childhood teacher upon graduating.
So if you want to enter an industry that is continuing to grow in demand, why not consider Excelsia College’s Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Birth to 5)? You will join at a time that the New South Wales Government supports the early childhood education and care workforce, as well as help future News South Wales children, families and the economy.
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2022). Preschool Education, Australia. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/education/preschool-education-australia/latest-release
Baker, J. (2022, June 16). ‘A game-changer’: NSW to introduce an extra year of education. Sydney Morning Herald. https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/a-game-changer-nsw-to-introduce-an-extra-year-of-education-20220615-p5au02.html
Mitchell Institute. (2022). Childcare Deserts & Oases: How accessible is childcare in Australia? https://www.vu.edu.au/mitchell-institute/early-learning/childcare-deserts-oases-how-accessible-is-childcare-in-australia
New South Wales Liberal. (2022). Supercharging the early childhood workforce and sector. https://nswliberal.org.au/Shared-Content/News/2022/Supercharging-the-early-childhood-workforce-and-sector
Raper, A. (2022, June 16). NSW and Victorian governments plan new free year of preschool schooling within a decade. ABC News. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-16/nsw-victoria-plan-for-new-preschool-year-education/101155350?fbclid=IwAR3ND1tp_zPXJrvJ5vHFs_DGVXEAyqxu1z0ERWqEVELAEL-HKld62QCQ5Ss
First established in 2021, Excelsia Productions seeks to contribute to creating cultural arts that benefit the world through exploration and representation of the beauty and brokenness of life in God’s creation. Excelsia Productions chose one of the oldest and most read books in history, the book of Job, from the Bible, as its first feature length film, which will be approximately 90 minutes in length. Tim Lim, 2021 Bachelor of Dramatic Art graduate, will star as Elihu, a comforter of Job and his three friends and defender of God. We talked to Tim about this exciting experience as filming prepares to get underway in early July!
Tell us a bit about your character Elihu.
Elihu is one very unique character in the sense that the only one he sides with is God himself. The name Elihu means ‘My God is He.’ He takes a stance against Job’s three friends and calls out against Job’s rebukes calling Job’s remarks against God unjust. However, he does not threaten Job with aggression like Job’s other three friends. In many ways God uses Elihu to speak with Job and he is the only one of Job’s friends who God doesn’t rebuke at the end of the story.
How did your studies at Excelsia help you prepare to act in 18. The Book of Job?
This script is word for word from the Bible and Elihu has a behemoth of a monologue. Even in my first year of my course here, I performed in one play with 30 to 40 pages of dialogue split between two characters. I had to learn the harsh way of the importance of learning lines early, accurately, and quickly. However, this is both a script and Scripture, thus leading me to learn the meaning underneath the lines as well. This has brought me to reading different versions of the same verses such as New International Version and King James Version to find implications that our WEB Version may not explicitly reveal.
What are you most looking forward to about this experience?
Before I even knew about this production, I was reading the book of Job in my daily devotions, and I acted out all the characters as I was reading them. I loved the idea of bringing this piece of biblical literature to a format more easily consumed such as screen or theatre, where characters can be seen living and breathing not just talking in biblical verses. God has already used this role to develop my growth as an actor and person and I’m very keen to see what else He has in store.
Why do you think the book of Job is such an important book in the Bible that should be adapted to the screen?
The book of Job deals with some of the hardest topics and questions that life and Christianity has to offer. When I struggled with faith, this book was always recommended to me. I think it’s important to ask God why He allows suffering because that’s a question even many Christians still face. Plus, it’s a lot easier to get people to watch something on screen than to read pages and pages of dialogue.
The book of Job is very meaningful to me. I wrote a play (Rapture, 2021) in third year based on Job’s story, about a pastor who lost his family and cried out against God. I’m also a big superhero fan so naturally this pastor finds sci-fi technology and becomes a super villain which is obviously where he and Job diverge. We had to cut out the three friends. I played the pastor in this play and had another student as the equivalent of Elihu where he’d rebuke me. This play came out of a fragmentation of my faith that held resentment toward God but now, as I study the words of Elihu, it’s not just God speaking through me but God speaking to me as well.
We can’t wait to see Tim take to the screen and be a part of a film that will educate the world, especially as we navigate times in a post pandemic world.
The Kingdom Good Coalition will present the IMMINENT Leadership Summit on Thursday 14 July. This one-day event will take place at Wesley Conference Centre in Sydney, as well as in various locations across Brisbane and Melbourne. This event is being organised through Christian Media & Arts Australia.
The theme of this year’s summit is ‘Take a courageous step toward the future’ and participants and leading practitioners will explore a number of timely questions including ethical approaches to technology adoption, the Meta Church and the future intersection of virtual and face to face, what is Web 3.0 and do we engage with NFTs, blockchain and crypto, the first steps to cultivating innovation, and creating movement from social media to mobilisation. This will take place in a collective learning environment. On top of robust discussions, there will be case studies and practical steps that churches, media, social justice, not-for-profit organisations and the education sector can take.
Speakers will include:
· Nils Smith – Chief Strategist Social Media and Innovation
· Sam Valich – Senior Director, Global Brand at Compassion
· Dave Adamson – Digital Strategist, Author and Speaker
· Richenda Vermeulen – Founder and CEO, Ntegrity (Panel – Melbourne only)
· Joshua Crowther – Executive Director, Dunham+Company Australia
· Felicity Marlow – Principal, Norwest Christian College
· Stuart Cranney – Director of innovation, CV Global
The purpose of IMMINENT is to serve the greater church in our nation and to be able to critically engage in the spaces of digital, brand, engagement, and innovation. Excelsia is proud to partner with Christian Media & Arts Australia and unite with other organisations, charities and individuals to help further the Gospel across Australia and provide practical steps to help our communities.
To find out more about the event, click the link below
Peninah (Penny) Kansiime is a Lecturer of Social Work and has been with Excelsia College for nearly one and a half years. She has a heart for social issues including forced migration, child protection, family and domestic violence, mental health, and HIV/AIDS, having practised in the field for 12 years. Penny has an international and local practice background and has worked both in university and college settings across Sydney, as well as Uganda. She brings her cross-cultural experience to the College. Penny’s approach to teaching is by helping students to become critically reflective practitioners.
In her work as a social worker and lecturer, Penny has learned from God to think outside of the box and consider multiple perspectives. ‘Out–of–the–box thinking involves me getting out of the comfort zone regarding what I know and listening to different opinions and respecting them,even if they are contrary to mine,’ Penny says.
God has also taught Penny the value of kindness and empathy. ‘Our students come from across the world, and I have learned with time that we have to listen, understand and treat them as individuals because each of their circumstance is unique,’ she explains. ‘God has challenged me to judge less and be more empathetic.’
One of Penny’s favourite books in the Bible is Psalm 91. Verses 1–2 say, ‘Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’
One of the things that has surprised Penny the most is the generosity of Excelsia in looking after her emotional wellbeing. Penny would describe the College as a ‘genuinely caring environment’ and it is this care that she brings to her teaching and students as she educates the next generation of social workers. With a down to earth personality and beautiful smile, Penny is a fitting Excellent Personality and Excelsia is lucky to have her.
If you’re interested in helping to care for people and want to learn from compassionate staff like Penny, why not explore our Master of Social Work (Qualifying) course?
Anthea Agoratsios graduated from Excelsia College in 2021 with a Master of Counselling, having previously completed her undergraduate studies with a Bachelor of Dramatic Art (majoring in Performance) in 2017. ‘I always knew after I completed my drama degree that I wanted to pursue counselling and specialise in working with actors and other creatives on a therapeutic level. The Master of Counselling offered by Excelsia covered a wide range of therapeutic modalities that aligned with the kind of therapy style I wanted to pursue. I felt a degree like this one would be a great starting point for me,’ Anthea explains.
Over her seven years spent at Excelsia, Anthea has seen the community grow and change as the College has expanded and diversified in its course offerings. Despite the changes, she has noticed the consistent love and support within the student community. ‘Excelsia is welcoming, diverse, and creative; I fell in love with the warmth and hospitality of the community atmosphere. The students I have met during my studies have left a lasting and special impact on my life; the memories I have made are ones that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Through Excelsia I have met my chosen family and for that I will be forever grateful,’ she says.
Life can be scary and uncertain at times, especially during seasons of change such as completing your studies and moving into your chosen career, however Anthea feels that the student community at Excelsia has supported her in this transition. ‘No matter how uncertain things may seem, there will always be a support network rallying behind you while you complete the transition. Additionally, the importance of hard work, dedication and resilience when striving to achieve your ambitions has been reinforced countless times.’
Anthea has many highlights and defining moments from her seven years spent at Excelsia College, however a defining theme she has noticed is her personal and professional growth. ‘Both counselling and acting training require a great deal of introspection and, for me personally, that has led to an immense amount of transformation. I can sometimes hardly recognise the girl that started at Excelsia seven years ago and I am extremely proud of the woman I’ve become,’ says Anthea.
After finishing her studies at the end of last year, Anthea took some well-deserved time off to travel. Now, she is working as a clinic coordinator at a healthcare clinic whilst continuing to aspire towards her goals to becoming a counsellor.
We are proud to have inspiring graduates such as Anthea who embody the College’s values of hard work and a desire to grow not only intellectually but also emotionally. We can’t wait to see what God has in store for Anthea as she uses her knowledge gained to assist actors and creatives. If you want to be transformed, why not explore what Excelsia College can offer you? With courses in counselling, social work, education, creative and performing arts and business, you will be extended in ways you never thought possible.
Enquire with us today by visiting https://excelsia.edu.au/
Since graduating from Excelsia College with the Bachelor of Dramatic Art in 2020, Esther Williams has started to make a name for herself in the performing arts industry, having been cast in a film, and more recently in a television show and lead in a commercial, both soon to be aired. Esther is about to star as a main character in a play titled The Sweet Science of Bruising. The show is set in London during the year 1869 and revolves around four very different Victorian women who find freedom inside a boxing ring. We talked to Esther about how Excelsia helped to train her for her creative pursuits, what attracted her to The Sweet Science of Bruising and what it has been like working alongside other alumni and current students at the College.
How did Excelsia help you to develop your acting skills and confidence to pursue a role in the creative arts industry?
Excelsia has some amazing teachers (some of whom I keep in contact with to this day). They have taught me to be brave and to trust my work and myself. The drama performance degree had so much to offer from movement, to voice, to the vast array of acting techniques and much, much more. Being then able to perform several times at Excelsia’s theatre in front of an audience throughout the degree, with all the techniques I learned, made the transition into the real world a lot less daunting! These techniques and the confidence the degree gave me are the very things that aid me in terms of adaptation to a character when I am performing on stage or on screen. Excelsia also offers great networking for their students, to help with developing connections inside the industry, and is one of the things that contributed to me getting my role in The Sweet Science of Bruising!
What are your career aspirations?
My heart will always feel at home on stage, and I can only thank Excelsia for that as their amazing theatre productions gave me that confidence. I want to keep building on my career in theatre, but down the line, I’d also love to have some roles in a few indie films. I’m obsessed with films that are unapologetically raw and showcase the pure essence of human emotions.
What appealed to you about The Sweet Science of Bruising?
What drew me in most about this play is that it puts women at its core. It’s a true depiction of all that we are capable of as women, when it comes to getting what we want both alone and untied. It strays away from the stereotypes that often label us. We need more stories like this! Reading through the script for the first time, I instantly fell in love with my character, Polly. She’s fierce, extremely cheeky but most of all, powers through whatever life throws at her. I admire her strength and am thrilled to be walking alongside her through this journey.
What has it been like working alongside other Excelsia alumni and current students?
It’s been so, so great! In The Sweet Science of Bruising, I am working alongside four other Excelsia alumni and current students. To know that we’ve all come from the same place and are working towards our passions, is so exciting and inspiring. All of them have come so far and ooze zest and talent, so I feel super privileged to be taking on this production with such an awesome team!
Excelsia loves to work alongside passionate individuals who aspire to work in theatre, film, and television, or in producing and directing their own plays. Please contact Excelsia College if your desire lies within the creative and performing arts space just like it does for Esther! Visit https://excelsia.edu.au/study/creative-and-performing-arts/
Excelsia College’s International Student Recruitment Manager Jennifer Han and the student acquisition team attended the Austrade Virtual Fair on 28 May. This was the first time the College participated in the event run between Austrade and Study Australia. Over 1,933 visitors attended this year’s event, helping to expose Excelsia College’s brand to potential students, parents, and industry people in the northeast Asian regions. Approximately 98.3 per cent of attendees were between the ages of 20 to 30.
Han connected with prospective students and their parents across Korea, Mongolia, Japan, and Hong Kong over the four-hour session using online video call and live chat conversations with automatic translation (Study Australia, 2022). Excelsia was also able to customise its virtual booth with brochures, videos, and photos.
According to market insights garnered by Study Australia (2022), Korea is the 10th largest source country for Australia’s international education sector. Australia is the second most preferred study destination for Koreans, who are seeking the opportunity to upskill as they prepare to enter the competitive job market and receive post-study work visas to gain industry experience.
Japan is the 16th largest source country for Australia’s international education sector and Australia appeals as a study destination to this group as the Japanese Government augments English language education in school and more recruits are expected to have stronger language skills by employers (Study Australia, 2022). For Mongolians, Australia is their second most popular English-speaking higher education destination just behind America, with strong business links between Australia and Mongolia (Study Australia, 2022). Hong Kong was a prime market for 2021 full-year student enrolments in Australia and the sixth largest source market for the Australian higher education sector (Study Australia, 2022).
The Austrade Virtual Fair is held annually under the ‘Study Australia’ education brand and is the only Australian Government education fair in the region (Study Australia, 2022). Excelsia’s presence at Austrade was a success and will help to increase brand awareness to the Northeast Asia market (specifically Korea, Mongolia, Japan, and Hong Kong). We can’t wait to welcome more international students to Excelsia College and support them on their learning journey.
Study Australia Virtual Fair, 28 May 2022. Event Participation Opportunity – Study Australia Virtual Fair 2022 Japan, Korea, Mongolia and Hong Kong. https://www.austrade.gov.au/event/SAvirtualfair2022#/event
On Tuesday 31 May, Excelsia College attended the annual Sydney Prayer Breakfast at the Grand Ballroom in the International Convention Centre. It was an unforgettable morning of spirituality and discussion as roughly 1,700 Christians across Sydney (and more online) came together to stop and pray for the city of Sydney and share stories of faith. These people came from a variety of industries such as Churches, financial and business institutions, and higher education providers. Attendees also enjoyed breakfast and worshipping with Emu Music, who filled the ballroom with beautiful Christian music.
Excelsia College is proud to be a major sponsor of Sydney Prayer Breakfast, which enabled us to focus on brand awareness and highlight our Bachelor of Business (Accounting) and Bachelor of Music (Worship) courses. The College had a stall that was well visited, and staff from the marketing team distributed College merchandise to prospective students at the breakfast. Our promotional advertising featuring a 30 per cent discount for Bachelor of Business (Accounting) and Bachelor of Music (Worship) courses had prime position on the large screen in the Grand Ballroom, as well as inside the official Prayer Breakfast booklet.
Peter Gibbs, a Gamillaroi man from the community of Weilmoringle in far West New South Wales was this year’s keynote speaker. Gibbs was responsible for helping to develop The Indigenous Police Recruitment Our Way Delivery Program (IPROWD), a training model to develop First Nations Australians for a career with the NSW Police Force. IPROWD is now one of the most high–profile programs in New South Wales (City Bible Forum, 2021). Peter shared his journey of faith and how coming to Christ led him from violence to faith and fromdespair to hope. Gibbs also shared a prayer for First Nations Australians and reflected on how far Australia has come for National Reconciliation Week; an important time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements (Reconciliation Australia, 2022).
The chosen Bible verse for the event was Ephesians 6:18 which says, ‘pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.’ This verse is so fitting as we remember to pray for the city of Sydney and our increasingly secular world.
Thank you to Neville Cox, an Excelsia College Board Member and Chairman of The Sydney Prayer Breakfast for his commitment to this crucial initiative. Excelsia looks forward to continuing its partnership as an ongoing sponsor for Sydney Prayer Breakfast!
City Bible Forum. (2021). Sydney Prayer Breakfast 2021 – Interview with Peter Gibbs. citybibleforum.org/city/episode/sydney-prayer-breakfast-2021-interview-peter-gibbs
Reconciliation Australia. (2022). National Reconciliation Week.
In an article in The Conversation (McArthur et al., 2021), factors such as ‘strict stay-at-home orders, repeated opening and closures of schools, social distancing from peers and other supports, limited or no access to sport and extracurricular activities, and many missed milestones such as graduation’ have all been cited as having a detrimental effect on youth mental health due to COVID-19. Dion Khlentzos, Senior Lecturer in Counselling at Excelsia College shares his thoughts about this concerning issue and the role that counsellors can play in a child’s life.
‘Young people in Australia have had it tough over the last two years. A press release from Camp Australia (2022) has documented the alarming rise in youth mental health problems since the start of the pandemic, with parents and school principals indicating their concerns about their children’s mental and physical health during this time. Particular concern was expressed by parents in the states with the longest lockdowns: Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT. Children and teens have had much less opportunity than previously to experience the joy of connecting with other young people over these last couple of years.
In some cases, professional help may be required to help improve a young person’s mental health. In these cases, the parents may choose to seek counselling for their children. Counsellors can work with the parents, the child, or the whole family to make a well-rounded assessment of the young person’s mental health and overall functioning, followed by some counselling sessions to help provide awareness of the specific issues that may be hindering the young person’s healthy functioning,’ Dr Khlentzos explains.
If you are interested in being trained as a counsellor within a Christian world view, Excelsia College’s Master of Counselling course covers a wide range of issues relevant to working with people of all ages. Subjects include Counselling Theories and Models; Approaches to Mental Health; Relational Dynamics; Trauma, Grief and Loss; Group Process: Theory and Practice; Development and Diversity; and other relevant areas, including elective units such as Introduction to Counselling Children and Young People and Introduction to Family Systems and Couples. The Master of Counselling is accredited by the major national counselling bodies PACFA and ACA and gives students the opportunity to put their skills into practice through one of our counselling placements.
Camp Australia. (2022, March 22). Supporting children’s wellbeing critical to safeguard the next generation’s mental health. Camp Australia. campaustralia.com.au/blog/supporting-children-s-wellbeing-critical-to-safeguard-the-next-generation-s-mental-health
McArthur, B. A., Racine, N., & Madigan, S. (2021, August 10). Child and youth mental health problems have doubled during COVID-19. The Conversation. theconversation.com/child-and-youth-mental-health-problems-have-doubled-during-covid-19-162750
Malcolm Frawley is a drama lecturer and has been with Excelsia College since 2014. He brings over 35 years of professional experience, with a background in teaching and producing plays across Australia. Frawley’s latest play Lawfully Short was written for first-year Excelsia College Bachelor of Dramatic Art students. The play explores themes like neuro and racial diversity, stereotyping, typecasting and the life purposes of the group of students. We asked Frawley about his creative process whenever he puts a new show together and how working and getting to know the students helps him to craft the play.
Frawley explains, ‘I have now created three short programs in a row for Excelsia. In 2020, I was pretty sure that, no matter who they were, the students’ families would probably have no idea what the student did at an acting school, and no real idea of the type of life they were considering. So I decided to explain it to them in Dramatically Short. I devised three new short (30–35 min) plays that focus on different aspects of the performing arts – writing, directing, and acting.
‘I had worked with my likely 2021 cast in 2020, so for my second Shorts program I consulted with the group and discussed possible themes or issues we might like to explore. I also asked each of them to define, in one phrase or even one word, the type of role that they would like to have a shot at – romantic, powerful, vulnerable, deceitful etc. I then put together several much shorter plays. To keep it consistent, I had one character from each play appear in the following play. Roles incorporating their chosen phrase or word were delivered to every member of the cast. During the time I was putting it together, Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame appeared in the media spotlight so I felt that the time was right to explore the treatment of women in modern Australia.
‘This year, I started with an eight-minute play I had produced years before, a send-up of the “Previously On” section of many television dramas. It was set in a law firm soap opera, hence the title Lawfully Short. This time, I did not consult the cast about roles they might like to play, but I wrote specifically for each of them as I began adding 20 more short plays – this time very short, the longest was 8 minutes – alternating between scenes from the soap opera (Harbour City Solicitors) and scenes in which the actors who play the characters appear in their “real” lives. I also explored character traits of the actors and through collaboration utilised those in the plays and made them aspects of the play.’
When asked what makes Excelsia College productions unique to other creative and performing arts institutions, Frawley explains, ‘Although I have written and directed plays for several other acting schools over the years, Excelsia provides me with the option of thinking bigger, of how I might envisage staging my productions. While the performance space is huge, its shape and even size can be altered depending on the nature of the production. Because of the school’s multiskills training format, it also provides me with students who are learning stage management, design, costumes and prop making under the guidance of experts. The production team can be filled out by individual students who take on those roles. This provides me with a back-up that is not available at other schools.’
If you are inspired by Frawley’s passion and want to learn drama from our outstanding academic staff, why not explore our School of Creative and Performing Arts?