Policies and procedures

    The National Quality Framework

    The National Quality Framework (NQF) has been designed to encourage continuous improvement of education and care services across Australia. One of its important features is that it sets out a series of National Quality Standards (NQS) against which all early childhood education and care services will be assessed and given a rating.

    The seven quality areas are:

    1. Educational program and practice.
    2. Children’s health and safety.
    3. The physical environment.
    4. Staffing arrangements.
    5. Relationships with children.
    6. Collaborative partnerships with families and communities.
    7. Leadership and service management.

    Goodstart’s policies and procedures are built on these key seven areas. You can find more information about the NQF and NQS at http://acecqa.gov.au.

    All Early Childhood Education and Care Services are required to have policies and related documents in relation to certain matters under Regulation 168 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations.

    If you would like a copy of any regulation 168 document that supports these as listed below, please speak with your Centre Director or contact our Family Support Team on 1800 222 543.

    NQS1 - Educational Program and Practice

    Our programs are informed by conversations among educators, children, their families and the broader community, which supports teaching, play and collaborative interactions. At Goodstart, we value and respect children’s evolving capabilities, experiences, points of view and concerns. Our educators listen to children and use a variety of documentation to record children’s significant experiences and their responses to the early learning environment. To view our NQS1 - Educational Program and Practice Policy click here.

    Key Goodstart policies in this area cover the following topics:

    Supporting Participation

    Goodstart’s commitment to supporting participation contributes to children having a strong sense of identity and wellbeing; being a confident learner; and being an effective communicator. By listening to children, Goodstart educators support children’s active participation and it is incorporated into all daily routines and learning opportunities.

    Early Learning Program Development

    Our guidelines assist our educators to think deeply about the way they implement the approved learning framework in our centres and also help them to adopt holistic practices, be responsive to children, and to plan and implement learning through play.

    NQS2 - Children’s Health and Safety

    All children have the right to experience high quality education and care, in a learning environment that provides for their protection through appropriate supervision, safe experiences and environments, and emergency preparedness. Goodstart is committed to ensuring that each child’s health and safety needs are met. This includes meeting individual health and comfort requirements, implementing effective hygiene practices and effectively managing injuries and illnesses. To view our NQS2 - Children’s Health and Safety Policy click here.

    Key Goodstart policies in this area cover the following topics:

    Administering Medication to Children

    To ensure the safety of your child when medication needs to be administered, we ask that you are familiar with our medication administration requirements. This document covers the storage, authorisation, dispensing and disposal of both prescription and non-prescription (i.e. over-the-counter) medication.

    Medical Conditions Management (including allergies, Anaphylaxis, Asthma, Diabetes and Epilepsy)

    To ensure the safe and effective management of the enrolment, education and care of children who may suffer from any of these conditions, Goodstart’s extensive requirements cover training, risk minimisation and collaborative actions and planning between educators and families. Thorough individual medical management plans are developed, implemented and regularly reviewed between families, Goodstart staff and medical practitioners to best support the health and safety of children.

    Child Protection

    Children have the right to be free from harm, and to play, learn and be cared for in a safe and secure environment. Our early learning professionals are committed to the protection and physical, emotional and intellectual wellbeing of your child.

    Child Safe Environment

    Goodstart is committed to ensuring that all aspects of children’s safety are protected in our early learning settings and must comply with mandatory reporting regulations. Our educators and families visiting the centre are required to be aware of all gates and doors as they enter and exit the premises, and to be conscious of children’s safety when using the car park and driveway entries and exits.

    Excursions

    There is a detailed planning procedure for any excursions undertaken from a Goodstart centre to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of children. We also provide our families with this information to help them decide whether or not to allow their child to participate in the event.

    Food and Nutrition

    Goodstart centres have a responsibility to provide information to families to encourage understanding and awareness of good dental/oral hygiene and nutrition. All areas where Goodstart food is prepared and provided must comply with Food Standards Australia and New Zealand, the Education and Care Services legislation and the Building Code of Australia. Consideration is given to nutritional, dietary and cultural requirements when developing menus.

    Incident Management

    Our early learning employees follow recommended health and safety guidelines and procedures in the event of a child-related accident or injury, and all our centres have qualified first aid officers on duty. Any incidents that may occur are recorded in an illness/ injury report and provided to all families, and we investigate each issue to make changes to practice or the physical environment where necessary. If your child requires medical treatment, other than first aid, and we are unable to contact you, we will take any steps necessary to ensure that your child is appropriately cared for. This could include contacting the identified emergency contact for the child, or calling emergency services. It is important that information about your emergency contact and authorised nominee list is up-to-date at all times. We comply with regulatory requirements that all incidents are communicated to families within 24 hours and all notifiable incidents are reported according to regulations.

    Infectious Disease Control and Unwell Children

    To minimise the risk of transmission of infectious disease, our procedures focus on the quick and effective response to a suspected or identified infectious disease. In the case of a suspected or confirmed infectious disease, Goodstart works with families, public health units and medical practitioners to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all children, families and staff in the centre. Children diagnosed with infectious disease will be excluded from the centre using the guidelines in ‘Staying Healthy’ or until medical clearance has been provided.To prevent the spread of infectious disease, we encourage families to fully immunise their children in accordance with the Department of Health and Ageing’s National Immunisation Program Schedule. Non-immunised children may be excluded.

    There are additional requirements for residents of New South Wales.

    Changes to the Public Health Act 2010 stipulate that, before enrolling a child, parents/guardians must provide child care centres with documentation that show the child:

    • is fully vaccinated for their age, or;
    • has a medical reason not to be vaccinated, or;
    • has a conscientious objection, including religious beliefs, to vaccination or;
    • is on a recognised catch-up schedule if their child has fallen behind with their vaccinations.

    The amendment prevents a child care centre enrolling a child unless the mandatory documentation is received.

    Upon enrolment of their child, all parents/guardians in NSW must provide:

    • An Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR) Immunisation History Statement which shows that their child is up-to-date with their scheduled immunisations, or;
    • An ACIR* Immunisation Exemption Conscientious Objection Form (IMMU12) which has been certified by an immunisation provider and a parent/guardian, or;
    • An ACIR* Immunisation Exemption - Medical Contraindication Form (IMMU11) which has been certified by an immunisation provider, or;
    • An ACIR* Immunisation History form on which the immunisation provider has certified that the child is on a recognised catch-up schedule.

    Parents/guardians who fail to provide the required documentation will not be permitted to enrol their child. More information about the changes is available by contacting your local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055.

    *ACIR (Australian Child Immunisation Record) – for more information on ACIR visit www.medicareaustralia.gov.au/provider/patients/acir/

    Milk Feeding

    It is important for your child’s comfort that their routines are followed while they are in our care. We encourage you to provide us with directions in relation to their dietary requirements and feeding schedules, and to update this information as your child’s routines and needs change. Please provide expressed breast milk, cow’s milk or pre-boiled water and pre-measured formula for your child, in ready-to-use bottles or sippy cups that are clearly labelled with your child’s name. If breast milk is provided, please also label this with the date it is to be used.

    Sun Safety and Heat Stress

    We are committed to ensuring all early learning professionals and children maintain a healthy ultra-violet exposure balance and are suitably protected when exposed to the sun.

    Our early learning staff model and promote sun protection measures, and children learn about sun safety and are encouraged to wear hats and suitable clothing in outdoor environments. We ensure the sun protection measures in all Australian states are applied in accordance with individual state and Cancer Council recommendations.

    Visitors to the Centre

    Goodstart has strict regulations in place around the supervision and identification of authorised visitors to our centres, to ensure your child’s safety and wellbeing. These may include maintenance staff undertaking facilities work, a health department employee or a workplace health and safety inspector. Records are kept regarding the time spent in the centre and purpose for visit, and all visitors will be supervised by the Centre Director or Supervisor.

    Water Safety

    Before children engage in or near water-based activities, Goodstart staff will undertake a risk assessment process to ensure the safety of children in the area, and will ensure direct supervision of all children when engaging in the water-based experiences. At centres with a swimming pool, we ensure pool fencing complies with the relevant Australian standards and a current safety certificate is kept on site at the centre. Pool areas are secured when not in use, and are restricted from access by children, unless accompanied by an adult.


    NQS3 - Physical Environment

    Goodstart ensures all centres have safe and comfortable physical environments that actively promote children’s wellbeing, and learning and development outcomes. Our environments encourage children’s competence and independent exploration to enrich their learning and development through play. Goodstart also takes an active role in caring for the wider environment and contributing to a positive and sustainable future. To view our NQS3 - Physical Environment Policy click here.

    Key Goodstart policies in this area include the following topic:

    Sustainability

    We see early childhood as a critical period of time to involve children in sustainability and environment education so they develop lifelong practices that respect and help protect our planet. For children to do this, it is important for them to develop a sense of wonder, belonging to and love of the natural environment, living things and animals.

    NQS4 - Staffing Arrangements

    At Goodstart, we ensure legislated staffing ratios and qualification requirements are met at all times. We are also committed to ensuring our workforce is appropriately motivated and experienced for its critical role in enhancing children’s learning and development. They achieve this by developing warm, respectful relationships with children, by creating safe environments for children, and by encouraging children’s active engagement in their learning programs. To view our NQS4 - Staffing Arrangements Policy click here.

    Key Goodstart policies in this area include the following topic:

    Students and Volunteers

    Goodstart encourages the appropriate engagement of both work experience and volunteer persons in our centres. Work experience students are generally studying towards an early childhood qualification and are placed in centres to acquire practical knowledge through interaction with staff and children. Goodstart may also support approved persons for volunteer work in our centres to gain experience in the sector. To protect the health, safety and wellbeing of children at our centres, any work experience students or volunteers are required to meet state-based screening requirements and copies of all results and relevant working with children checks are kept at the centre.

    NQS5 - Relationships with Children

    Children are central to everything we do. The relationships our educators develop with children are critical in helping children feel valued, competent, capable, safe and secure. Goodstart educators sensitively engage and guide children’s interactions with others, as they explore their own identity and develop more complex social skills and relationships. Our educators also positively guide and support children to develop skills in regulating their own behaviour. To view our NQS5 - Relationships with Children Policy click here.

    Key Goodstart policies in this area include the following topic:

    Behaviour Guidance

    At Goodstart, children are provided with support, guidance and opportunities to regulate their own behaviour. Where challenging behaviours exist or develop, we promote proactive partnerships with families to positively support children’s behaviour. Behaviour guidance strategies will not under any circumstances involve the use of any physical punishment, isolation, humiliation, intimidation or negative labelling by Goodstart staff.

    NQS6 - Collaborative Partnerships with Families and Communities

    Every child belongs within their family, their cultural group, neighbourhood and wider community. In the work we undertake, families are our primary partners and Goodstart is committed to genuine collaborative relationships between families and early childhood professionals; relationships where we can value each other’s knowledge of our children, communicate respectfully and freely with each other, share insights and engage in shared decision-making. We encourage families to be involved in the centre, to provide input into learning programs, to spend time with our educators and to contribute their skills and resources to the centre to enhance children’s wellbeing, learning and development. To view our NQS6 - Collaborative Partnerships with Families and Communities Policy click here.

    Key Goodstart policies in this area cover the following topics:

    Family Rights and Responsibilities

    Goodstart educators ensure practices in the centre respect families’ rights and responsibilities. Equally, at Goodstart centres our families have a responsibility to conduct themselves in a lawful, safe and responsible manner, respect the rights of others, and use appropriate language. Poor behaviour towards any other person is unacceptable, including: all forms of bullying, harassment, abuse, discrimination, actions that put another person at risk of harm, or threats of any kind. Upon enrolling, families agree to the Goodstart Family Rights and Responsibilities policy detailed on our website (and available in hard copy on request). Should families fail to comply with these responsibilities Goodstart may exclude them from the Centre, although their children may not be excluded.

    Collection of Children

    Only parents/guardians and authorised nominees are permitted to collect your child from our early learning program, and we encourage all families to ensure these contact details and arrangements are kept up-to-date. So we can ensure the safety of your child at all times, photo identification will be requested from any authorised nominee who is unknown to our early learning staff. If your child has not been collected from the centre by closing time and we are unable to contact you, we will contact the authorised nominees listed on your child’s enrolment form. In extreme circumstances where we are unable to contact one of your authorised nominees by closing time, we will contact the necessary authorities for the safe collection of your child. This is why it is important that your contact details and those of your authorised nominees are kept up-to-date at all times.

    Enrolment and Orientation

    We aim to establish mutually respectful and supportive relationships with families throughout the enrolment and orientation process to promote positive outcomes for your child, and to ensure legislative requirements are met. Throughout the process, families are invited to take a tour of the centre and are encouraged to raise any concerns or questions about the operations of the centre. You may with to complete the relevant documents below to assist you and the Centre Director with your enrolment:

    Priority of access

    The Australian Government’s Priority of Access Guidelines sets out three levels of priority, which we must follow when filling vacant places when the demand for childcare exceeds supply:

    • Priority one - a child at risk of serious abuse or neglect.
    • Priority two - a child of a single parent who satisfies, or of parents who both satisfy, the work/training/study test under section 14 of the New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999.
    • Priority three - any other child.

    Within these main categories, priority should also be given to the following children:

    • Children from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.
    • Children from families that include a disabled person.
    • Children from families that include an individual whose adjusted taxable income does not exceed the lower income threshold or whose partner is on income support.
    • Children from families with a non–English–speaking background.
    • Children from socially isolated families
    • Children of single parents.

    Under the Priority of Access Guidelines, if there are no vacant places and we are providing care for a child who is a priority 3, the service may require that child to vacate the place in order to provide a place for a child in priority one or two.

    Family Feedback

    We actively encourage families to provide feedback about their experiences with the centre at any time. It is our policy that any problem, issues or disputes are managed fairly and promptly, and are resolved as close as possible to the source of the problem. Families can raise concerns with one of a number of contacts, including Goodstart’s Family Support Team, and someone will be assigned to be responsible for dealing with the issue. Families can also be assured that all Goodstart staff respect the privacy of the family when addressing any concern or grievance.

    NQS7 - Leadership, Service Management and Effective Administration

    At Goodstart, effective centre leadership across all our services is vital. It promotes a positive organisational culture, builds a professional learning environment and commits to continuous improvement. To view our NQS7 - Leadership, Service Management and Effective Administration Policy click here.

    Key Goodstart policies in this area cover the following topics:

    Responsible Person

    We are legally required to have a Responsible Person (being a Nominated or Certified Supervisor) physically present at Goodstart centres at all times. The name and position of the Responsible Person in charge of the service at any given time will be displayed so that it is easily visible to anyone from the main entrance of the service.

    Page Confidentiality, Privacy and Digital Information Security

    Goodstart collects personal information of parents, guardians and children for the primary purposes of providing early childhood education and care services and advocating for the well-being, protection and development of children. Goodstart will only use your personal information for the purpose it was collected or a reasonably expected or related secondary purpose. Personal information will generally be collected from you directly through the use of our standard forms, over the internet via our website, via email communication with you, or through a telephone conversation with you. Personal information collected by Goodstart will be stored securely in paper form or electronically at a Goodstart Early Learning centre and/or at a Goodstart Centre Support Office. Goodstart may store, process or back-up your personal information on computer servers that are located overseas, including through third party service providers who assist us in operating our business. We will take all reasonable steps to protect any personal information that we hold from unauthorised use or disclosure.

    If you would like a copy of any Goodstart Policy or Procedures, please contact your Centre Director or view selected policies and procedures on our website: goodstart.org.au

    Business Management Policies and Procedures

    In addition to our centre-facing policies, Goodstart’s policy library covers seven critical business- management related areas that outline guidelines, procedures and requirements for the management of support services, including: