All tasks associated with the accuracy, relevance and delivery of your childcare service policies takes time…and a decent chunk of your sanity.
It’s one of those critical responsibilities that must be embraced – but – a multitude of priorities can get in the way of good planning so we provide our members with a monthly policy review routine.
Here’s how it all works…
If you have just joined you’ll see that every policy within our library has been reviewed and updated during the previous year. We track this via a Policy Review Calendar…
- A selection of policies is scheduled for review each month. (As per the Policy Review Calendar)
- A regulation change or recommended best practice will jump the queue.
- During the first week of each month we research, review and update the documents.
- Any changes are highlighted in yellow and deletions contain a strike-through.
- We send you an email which shows which policies have been reviewed and uploaded.
- You can then retrieve the related policies, make any adjustments of your own and efficiently complete your review.
Each year this gives us a planned opportunity to consider the structure and content of each document but most importantly guarantees you a current and effective policy library.
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Reconciliation Week 27 May- 3 June 2020
A key practice in the learning frameworks of early childhood education and care is the notion of cultural competence. This applies to all cultures within our services and particularly as one of our guiding principles from the Education and Care National Law, the cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
National Reconciliation Week is a time for all Australians to learn about and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and achievements. All Australians are encouraged to reflect on the part they play on our journey towards achieving reconciliation in Australia.
Whilst it may not be possible to invite your families and community to come together to encourage awareness and learning about National Reconciliation Week, this doesn’t mean your service can’t get involved in a whole range of activities to support and celebrate Reconciliation.
This year’s theme is In This Together and 2020 marks the twentieth anniversary of the reconciliation walks of 2000.
Reconciliation is a journey for all Australians- as individuals, families, communities and importantly as a nation. Every one of us has a role to play when it comes to reconciliation and having a conversation is really important to understand what Reconciliation Week is all about.
The National launch is on Wednesday 27 May 2020 at 12pm with an Acknowledgement of Country.
Wherever your service is located, take time to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land and pay your respects. #InThisTogether2020 #NRW2020
Reconciliation Australia has some excellent suggestions for schools and early learning services to help children be get involved.
Ideas may include:
- Create and conduct your own Acknowledgement of Country
- Create actions for your Acknowledgement
- Watch and discuss Play School: Acknowledgment of Country
- Display Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags
- Share books and scaffold discussions about the country described within these (Colours of Australia– Bronwyn Bancroft; Where the Forest Meets the Sea– Jeannie Baker)
- Connect with your local Aboriginal land council or Elders group (perhaps even organise a zoom meeting)
- Have a Yarn with colleagues about reconciliation
- View samples of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art
- Hold a TED talk screening for your staff meeting told by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples
- Reflect on your service’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) or begin your journey. See the Narragunnawali platform to assist in developing your plan.
Policies within the Childcare Centre Desktop library incorporating cultural competency include:
- Anti-Bias and Inclusion Policy
- Respect for Children Policy
- Interactions with children, families and staff Policy
- Non-English Speaking Background Policy
- Celebrations Policy and
- Multicultural Policy
Following the outbreak of a (new) coronavirus in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, China, confirmed cases of this disease have been recorded around the world including Australia.
The Australian Government has implemented strict public health guidelines to minimise the spread of this virus and to keep our communities safe.
The following information has been gathered from a range of sources to assist early childhood education and care services respond effectively to any possible outbreak.
Services are reminded to review their current policies and procedures related to:
- Control of Infectious Diseases
- Sick Children
- Health and Safety
And, to ensure the practices within these resources are being followed.
Childcare Centre Desktop members can search for current policies and support documents within Quality Area 2 – Health and Safety
Communicate regularly with parents and families about hygiene procedures implemented within the service to ensure the ongoing safety and well-being of children, staff, families and visitors. Up-to-date information and recommendations are available from the Australian Government Department of Health. (see links below)
What is COVIC-19
Coronaviruses (COV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness from the common cold to more severe diseases including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
The COVID-19 virus is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. The virus has rapidly spread from where it originated in China to other countries around the world.
Common symptoms include:
- sore throat
- runny nose
- difficulty breathing
Spread of infection- COVID-19
The coronavirus is most likely to spread person to person through:
- direct close contact with a person who while they are infectious
- contaminated droplets from an infected person to other people who coughs or sneezes, or
- touching objects or surfaces contaminated by an infectious person and then touching your mouth or face (door handles, tables).
How can we protect children and families in our service?
The best way to protect all children, staff, families and visitors to the service is to implement effective and strict hygiene and cleaning practices and urge families to closely monitor the health of their child and family.
Hand washing is a vital strategy in the prevention of spreading many infectious diseases, including COVID-19.
Services should remind families of their Sick Children Policy and their responsibility to help prevent the spread of disease by monitoring their child’s health. If their child is unwell, they are requested to keep the child at home and avoid contact with others to reduce contamination.
If their child develops any of the symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, they are to contact their GP immediately.
Hand washing procedures
To ensure the greatest level of personal hygiene, consider implementing a requirement that all parents, children and visitors to the service wash their hands as described below.
Upon arrival at the Service:
Please make sure you clean your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use the alcohol-based hand sanitiser as provided.
Dry hands with paper towels (supplied)
Dispose in contamination bin (supplied)
Upon leaving the Service:
Use the alcohol-based hand sanitiser for at least 20 seconds before leaving the Service.
Use of tissues
Ensure tissues are available in key locations within the Service.
Communicate coughing and sneezing techniques with children and families through the use of posters, newsletter items and modelling correct behaviours.
At all times, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with a disposable tissue.
Dispose of the tissue in the contamination bin.
Do not store in a pocket or handbag.
Wash hands immediately.
Cleaning indoor and outdoor environment and resources
Ensure all staff adhere to the Health and Safety policy and procedure including the cleaning of toys and resources, handwashing, wearing gloves and appropriate handling and preparation of food.
Communication with families
Provide families with information about how your service is teaching hygiene procedures with children which may include:
- effective hand washing before and after eating and after using the bathroom
- cough and sneezing techniques using tissues or sneezing into their elbow
- not sharing drinks and food with others
- cleaning of resources and equipment with warm soapy water
Further information and resources
The Australian Government Department of Health are continually updating information about COVID-19 and have provided a range of information sheets for schools and early childhood centres, students and parents.
Check regularly for updates and guidance.
Many resources are available in Chinese and other languages to share with your families.
Links to Australian Government Department of Health
Specific State and Territory Government Information
Fact sheets and posters
Posters for Handwashing
Australian Government Department of Health (2020), Coronavirus, viewed 27 February 2020 <https://www.health.gov.au/news/latest-information-about-novel-coronavirus>
NSW Health (2020), Coronavirus, viewed 27 February 2020:<https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus.aspx>
National Health and Medical Research Council. (2012) (updated June 2013). Staying healthy: Preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services.
Changes to the priority of access guidelines stated in the June 2019 Child Care Provider Handbook ONLY apply to approved providers of early learning and child care under the Family Assistance Law where services receive and pass on Child Care Subsidy payments to eligible families.
These original guidelines were attached to the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate schemes.
As part of the Universal Access National Partnership (UANP) agreement between the Commonwealth and States and Territories governments, child care services involved must adhere to priority of access guidelines. These guidelines differ from those previously outlined in the Child Care Benefit (CCB).
Priority of access for initiatives such as Start Strong in NSW require services to provide equal priority of access for vulnerable and disadvantaged children, indigenous children and children in outer regional, remote and very remote services.
Please refer to the Department of Education in your state or territory for further information about universal access to quality early childhood education programs and initiatives.
Our newsletter resource is the perfect ‘time smart’ solution to provide a relevant and informative publication to your families each month.
We’ve already researched and submitted 80% of the content for you, left space to submit service specific information and uploaded it to our newsletter library so you can download and publish at your convenience.
Each edition is professionally formatted in WORD. You can edit and add information at your convenience then save as a PDF for emailing or posting to your website.
Tick these five critical boxes using our newsletter resource and comply with 11 separate elements of the National Quality Standard
1. ASSESSMENT AND RATING
All inclusions in our newsletter resource are by design, not only to inform families but to help as a visual source of evidence for Assessors. Save hours every month, support compliance and increase family feedback.
2. LINK TO YOUR QIP
Continuity in practice can be easily supported through documentation linking. Showing evidence of a recognised ‘issue’ and the suggested solutions in the Newsletter with the aim of prompting feedback, further suggestions and community engagement. I.E: car park safety or policy review
3. REVIEW EACH EDITION
Archive a copy of each newsletter for the purposes of compliance. Record the links back to the NQF & NQS directly onto the copy to be filed.
4. KNOW YOUR FAMILIES
Newsletters are a comprehensive communication tool. In saying this, it is important that the information is relevant and interesting. Seek feedback from families and staff on what they want, not necessarily what you think they need.
Make sure families have access to your newsletter. Make it easy for them to access and if necessary, put it under their noses but don’t fall into the trap of just placing it into a pocket or sleeve with an attitude of; “it’s up to them to look”. Regularly review and update your families ‘preferred method of communication’ list and see if they would prefer a hard copy or email.
Always keep evidence of any improvement within easy reach. It will confirm your commitment to ‘continuous improvement’ and an organic approach to compliance.
- OSHC EDITION ALSO AVAILABLE
No doubt you will have discovered there still remains some confusion over the mechanisms & final steps to implement the new childcare subsidy package. The finer details of the CWA and changes to third party software (CCMS) still need to be ironed out so we have opted to wait rather than provide you with inaccurate instructions and resource adjustments.
In the interim ensure that you have:
- Read the ‘New Child Care Package’ PDF from the Department of Education and Training (download – New Child Care Package)
- Ensure staff members are aware of the changes
- Communicate with families – keep them informed
- Contact your CCMS provider – where are they up to?
NOTE: as soon as we know that all mechanisms and steps have been confirmed we will then update our Enrolment Pack module and all related forms.
OUR ABRIDGED OVERVIEW OF THE NEW CHILD CARE PACKAGE
In July 2018 the new child care subsidy (CCS) will be implemented, replacing the Child Care Management System (CCMS) in Centre-based Day Care (CBDC) Services, which includes Long Day Care and Occasional Care Services. Outside School Horus Care (OSHC) Services, which includes Before School Care, After School Care and Vacation Care Services. Family Day Care Services (FDC) and In-Home Care (IHC) Services.
The Child Care Subsidy (CCS) will replace Child Care Rebate (CCR) and Child Care Benefit (CCB) and will be paid directly to the Service on behalf of families. Factors that determine a family’s level of Child Care Subsidy include: Combined Family Income, outcome of the family activity test and the service type. The activity test refers to the amount of work, training, study, volunteering or other recognised activity, paid and unpaid leave (parental leave), exceptions, casual/irregular hours of paid work. The activity test will determine the hours of activity families are entitled to.
Families will receive a letter from the Australian Department of Human Services explaining what the changes are and how they can claim the single means-tested Child Care Subsidy (CCS). Once Services receive their new CCS approval number, they can work with their childcare software provider to ensure their software is set up with the new Child Care Subsidy requirements.
The final stage of the Child Care Subsidy Transition will be to create new enrolments for each child who are in care from July 2018. New enrolments are required due to legislative changes to Child Care Subsidy payments. Software providers will be streamlining the enrolment process and can assist with enrolment activity.
There are 2 main types of Arrangements under the Child Care Subsidy legislation.
- Complaint Written Arrangements (CWA) for eligible families claiming Child Care Subsidy
- Relevant Arrangements (RA) for families who are not eligible or will not be claiming the Child Care Subsidy.
Compliant Written Arrangements is like the current ‘informal’ enrolment and can be modified to change Child Care Subsidy status at any time. CWAs need to be approved by families via the MyGov website before they are activated. Information required for Complying Written Arrangements (CWA) must contain the following
- Child Name
- Child Date of Birth
- Child CRN
- Start Date of Enrolment
- Parent Name
- Parent Date of Birth
- Parent CRN
- Notice Type
- Enrolment Arrangement
- Session Time
- Fee’s per Session
- Late Submission Reason
- Signing Party
Moving forward with the Child Care Subsidy, Session Reports must be submitted within 14 days, and can only be amended up to 21 days from the end of the reporting week.
Our journey into the New Year begins with three major announcements for System7 subscribers:
A. We are adding a fully compliant Quality Improvement Plan function – this will be an organic process so you can update at your convenience and generate a complete Q.I.P. at any stage.
B. We are currently aligning the existing Pre-assessment & Rating tool with the revised National Quality Standard – ready January 1, 2018.
C. And, if you have a current childcare Service [Annual] subscription to the Childcare Centre Desktop you will receive the 10% loyalty discount off System7 and the Desktop, ongoing.
1. We have completed the adjustments required to our LDC Policy Library regarding recent regulation updates and the revised National Quality Standard. [Available from 06-11-17]
2. We are in the process of adding the FDC and OSHC Policy Libraries. These will be completed by Jan 1, 2018. [Primary policies are available now]
3. All Policy Libraries will be subject to our monthly Policy Review Routine. In essence, we will alert you when the change is required. We also highlight the adjustment.
4. Quality Control Table – On January 1, 2018 we begin utilising a quality control methodology across all policy support documents such as: Procedures, Forms, Audits, Letters and Checklist. Our aim is to consolidate into only what you need and remove additional paperwork.
5. The above Quality Control process will extend across all sectors so we can supply specific policy support documents for Long Day Care, Family Day Care and Out of School Hours Care Services.
6. The ‘do-it-with-you’ Newsletters, Flyers and Announcements will continue to evolve and improve as ‘time-smart’ resources.
7. There will also be a major focus applied to the Human Resource Modules to support you further in enhancing your own teams engagement and performance.
8. Fees will not increase. Our aim has and always will be to provide a childcare service support program that you can afford irrespective of location and financial situation.
If you’re not a member and giving it some consideration follow this link to read our guarantee. Membership is risk free!
I have been asked by our subscribers and guests “What’s the best way to merge existing policies with the new & revised National Quality Standard?” as well as “What additional support are you providing in 2018?”
I have answered these important questions below BUT if you feel you need further information please message me via the Contact page here.
Q. What’s the best way to merge our existing policies with the new & revised National Quality Standard?
Firstly, if you have been using our policy drafts and updates throughout the year you will have a current and operationally compliant policy library. No doubt each of your own documents will have been adjusted to match your own philosophy, physical environment and identity.
If this is the case, you will only need to change the referencing to the National Quality Standard which is located on the first page. A simple cut & paste will suffice. See the following images:
EXISTING POLICY DRAFT
NEW & REVISED POLICY
My advice beyond this step is to submit an item into your Quality Improvement Plan indicating that all policies have been adjusted to align with the revised NQS and throughout 2018 you will be adjusting operational statements to improve understanding and implementation.
To keep tabs on adjustments watch for alerts related to our monthly ‘Policy Review Routine’ and apply if required. Note: our adjustments will relate to regulation updates and any content adjustments that will improve delivery.
Reminder: We will be uploading the new and revised policy library on Monday, 6th November 2017. [An archive of the existing library will be kept until February 1, 2018]
If you are not a member and would like to sample a few of our resources follow this link to the FREE RESOURCES page. [Also includes a policy already aligned to the new & revised National Quality Standard]
- How will we be supporting members into 2018 and beyond? READ MORE
Display of information required at a Service (Source: ACECQA)
An Approved Provider must ensure that a range of prescribed information is displayed at the entrance of the service, including:
- The name of the Approved Provider and the name of the education and care service
- The provider approval number and service approval number
- Any conditions on the provider approval and service approval
- The name of the Nominated Supervisor or, if the Nominated Supervisor is a member of a prescribed class, the class
- The service’s current rating level for each Quality Area and the overall rating
- Details of any waivers held by the service, including elements or regulations waived, duration of the waiver and whether the waiver is a service or temporary waiver
- The hours and days of operation of the service
- The name and telephone number of a person at the service to whom complaints may be addressed
- The name and position of the responsible person in charge at any given time
- The name of the educational leader
- The contact details of the Regulatory Authority
- If applicable, a notice stating that a child who has been diagnosed as at risk of anaphylaxis is enrolled at the service
- If applicable, a notice of an occurrence of an infectious disease at the service.
If you’d like more details on our ‘Prescribed Information’ template send us a note via the Contact page.
If you’d like information about membership – follow this link.