Family Handbook - Your Questions | Goodstart

    Your questions answered

    Where should I drop off my child? What should they wear? What if they get sick? Who should I contact if I have a concern? There are all kinds of practical, day-to-day questions new parents need to know about, and this is where you can find the answers.

    If you would like a copy of any of our policies, procedures or forms, please don’t hesitate to ask your Centre Director or click here to find out more.
    What should I bring to the centre?

    Each centre has different requirements for what to pack, and your Centre Director will provide you with a detailed list upon your enrolment. Consider packing:

    • Meals (if they are not provided at your centre).
    • Sun-safe hat which protects your child's face, neck and ears. A Goodstart sun-safe hat will be given to your child when they enrol - you can include this or an alternative sun-safe hate in your child's bag each day.
    • Sunscreen is supplied at our centres however you are welcome to bring alternative sunscreen if your child has allergies or sensitive skin. (Please click here to view our section on Sun Safety for more information.)
    • Change of clothes and underwear (play-based learning can sometimes get a little messy!).
    • Bib or two (if required).
    • Comfort item (if required), such as a toy or blanket.
    • Dummy in a sealed, named container (if required).
    • Sleeping sheet set or blanket, and a pillow, for nap time. We do not allow pillows in cots as per safe sleeping requirements.
    • Bottles, formula or expressed milk, if required. (Please click here to view our section about Milk-feeding.)
    • Nappies, wipes and cream (if your centre does not provide them). Water bottle with a lid or a sippy cup.
    • Any medications – please give these to centre staff to manage directly. (Please click here to view our section about Medications.)
    What should my child wear to the centre?
    At Goodstart, our programs are all about active learning and creative play, so make sure your child wears clothing that's comfortable and won't be spoilt by paint, clay, dirt, glue and other sometimes messy materials. While we do provide art aprons to help protect their clothing, not all children choose to wear them.

    Here are some tips that will help your child dress safely for the wide range of activities they engage in at their Goodstart centre:
    • Avoid wearing any jewellery that may pose a risk of choking or strangulation, such as beads or necklaces.
    • Always wear a sun-safe hat and clothing to protect their skin when we play outdoors.
      (Please click here to view our section about Sun Safety.)
    • Pack additional warm clothing during colder months for outdoor play.
    • Pack at least one-complete change of clothes each day. If your child is moving from nappies to using the toilet, several changes will help ensure they feel comfortable and confident throughout their day.
    • Make sure your child's shoes are suitable for play activities including running, jumping and climbing.
    What should I do when I drop off my child?
    Your child's safety is the most important thing to us. So we ask that you follow a few simple steps to make sure we know when your child is at the centre and who will be collecting them.
    1. Please let one of our educators know when your child has arrived or is about to leave the centre.
    2. Make sure you sign your child in each time they arrive, and sign them out each time they leave the centre.
    3. If your child is absent at any time, please contact us and sign for any absent days when they return, so our attendance record is up-to-date. Also, please see"What is my child will be absent?" .
    4. If you are unable to collect your child, please contact us to let us know who will be collecting your child. This person must be an authorised nominee as specified on your child's enrolment form. If the person picking up your child is not an authorised nominee, we will need your verbal consent to release your child.
    Please remember to shut all internal and external doors and gates as you enter and exit the premises, and don’t let other children out with you. We also ask that you be conscious of children’s safety when using the car park and driveway entries and exits
    Proper hand-washing is the best way to prevent germs from spreading, especially to babies and toddlers whose immune systems haven’t fully developed yet. That’s why we encourage all children and adults to wash their hands when they arrive and before they go home. Your help with this is very much appreciated.

    Children learn to wash hands properly through games and play, and everyone – adults and children – all wash their hands before and after meals, after using the toilet, after wiping noses, after coming into contact with bodily fluids and after messy play.
    We want you to be assured your child is safe
    We will never release your child to an unauthorised person. Only parents/ guardians and authorised nominees are permitted to collect your child from our centres. To ensure the safety of your child, we will request photo identification from any authorised nominee unknown to our staff. If your child is not collected from the centre and we are unable to contact you, we will contact the authorised nominees.
    What if my child will be absent?
    It is important that we know that your child is safe, so please let us know if they will not be attending the centre on their usual days because of illness, holidays or other reasons. When your child returns, it is important to sign the attendance record to confirm when he or she has been absent. We also recommend you provide documentation to support absence days, including:
    • Medical Certificates.
    • Shared Care Plans (signed by both parents).
    • Court Orders.
    • Rostered days off/rotating shift work.
    What if my child has a medical condition?
    If your child has a medical condition, a specific health care need or an allergy, you may be asked to complete a medical management plan for us to follow if required.

    We implement best practice risk minimisation strategies to ensure children’s medical conditions are appropriately identified and managed, and our staff are provided with suitable first aid training to ensure a rapid response in the event of a medical emergency.

    Please click here to view our family support documents.
    What if my child requires medication?
    If your child needs medication during their time at the centre, we need to ensure their safety and ask that you follow these requirements:
    • The initial dose of any new medication is to be given to your child by the parent/guardian at least one hour prior to attending the centre. Please remember to let us know if your child has been unwell or if they have had medication before coming to the centre.
    • All medication must be in its original container showing the medication name and expiry date as well as the recommended dosage instructions.
    • All prescription medication must be clearly labelled by a pharmacist with your child’s name, the required dose and how often it needs to be administered.
    • All non–prescription medication must be clearly labelled, preferably by a pharmacist or by yourself, with your child’s name and date of birth, the required dose and how often it needs to be administered. These directions must not vary from the recommended dosage.
    • Medication must be given to an educator when your child arrives at the centre and must not be left in your child’s bag.
    • A consent form must be completed for each dose of medication. Appropriate written advice from a doctor or pharmacist is required in the following cases:
      • If more than one oral medication is to be administered to your child in one day, a written letter or Medication Authority must be provided by the child’s doctor or pharmacist on the collective use of all medications. This is to ensure the safe interactions of the medications when used together.
      • If non–prescription medication (with the exception of nappy cream, teething gels or skin care products) is to be administered consecutively for more than one day, a pharmacy label, written letter or Medication Authority must be provided by the child’s doctor or pharmacist. Skin care products include any lotion, gel, spray, powders or cream applied to the skin.
      • Paracetamol has the potential to mask symptoms of meningitis and meningococcal disease, causing a possible delay in diagnosis. For this reason, if more than a single dose of paracetamol is to be administered in one day, a pharmacy label, written letter or Medication Authority must be provided by your child’s doctor or pharmacist.
      • If long–term medication is to be administered for a period longer than 14 days, a written letter or Medication Authority must be provided.
    What if my child has additional needs?
    Depending on your child’s additional needs we can provide extra support to provide an inclusive and developmentally-appropriate program, which may include:
    • an additional educator
    • a cultural support worker for a short period
    • adjustments to programming
    • modified environments and equipment (where necessary).
    Are meals provided at the centre?

    All children enjoy their meals in happy, relaxed environments where they can talk with their friends and educators.

    Many centres provide meals, but not all. If your centre does not provide meals, or if you choose to provide alternative food, these meals should be:

    • Healthy food choices.
    • Individual portions sufficient for your child’s appetite.
    • Labelled with your child’s name.
    • Collected at the end of the day (uneaten portions will be kept so parents know how much their children have eaten).

    In centres where meals are provided.

    When it comes to nutrition, our standards are as high as yours. Our centres provide delicious and nutritionally-balanced meals (morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea) with 50 per cent of the recommended dietary intake of all nutrients consistent with Australian Dietary Guidelines.

    What if my child has special dietary needs?

    If your child has food allergies or cultural or religious food requirements, it is important for you to inform us by providing written information on your enrolment forms with details of any foods that need to be avoided and any suitable alternative foods. A medical management plan must be completed if your child has food allergies. If your child has cultural or religious food requirements, please complete a dietary management plan. Please ask your centre director for a copy of these plans.

    What happens with feeding babies?

    It’s important for your child’s comfort that their routines are followed while in our care, so please provide us with directions in relation to their dietary requirements and feeding schedules when your child starts with us. It is also important to make sure you update this information as your child’s routines and needs change.

    Please provide expressed breast milk, other milk, tetra-packed formula or pre– boiled water and pre–measured formula for your child, in ready–to–use bottles or sippy cups clearly labelled with your child’s name.

    Feeding times are an important opportunity for our educators to strengthen their bond with your child, so they maintain eye contact, talk softly and smile while holding infants closely in the cradle hold. When infants are able to hold their own bottles, we help them develop their skills by providing them with the opportunity to feed themselves under direct supervision.

    Can I continue to breastfeed?

    We encourage mothers to continue breastfeeding while their children are in our care and we are keen to support you in this. You are welcome to return to the centre to breastfeed your child throughout the day. If you wish to leave expressed breast milk with us, we ask that you provide it in ready–to–use bottles or sippy cups, clearly labelled with your child’s name and the date it is to be used by. We will ensure it is properly refrigerated and heated for consumption.

    When do children get to sleep or rest?

    Every child is different and we want to make sure their individual rest and sleep requirements are met so they have the energy they need to participate fully in their early learning program. Rest times are incorporated into each room’s daily routine and are dependent on the children’s age. Please let us know your expectations about sleep and rest for your child, and any information that will help us ensure your child is comfortable.

    For infants, we recommend and implement safe sleep practices in accordance with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) guidelines at all times.

    Older children who do not wish to sleep or rest when the majority of children are resting or sleeping are welcome to participate in quiet play activities.

    What about toilet training?

    Keeping to a routine is the key to successful toilet training, and we want to support you in every way we can. Just let your Centre Director know when you start toilet training and what we can do to help, and we’ll keep your child’s routine going while they’re in our care. If our educators feel your child is ready to toilet train, they will discuss this with you so we can start working together to help your child develop independent toileting skills.

    How can I communicate with the centre?

    Effective communication is important to ensure we can all share relevant information about your child. Although drop-off and pick-up times can be busy, our educators are always available to talk about your child’s day with you. If you want to discuss your child’s learning and care in more detail, our educators would be glad to meet with you.

    We are happy to provide you with important information in writing either by email or by placing it in your family pocket at the centre. If you decide that your family pocket is the best way to receive information, please check it each time you visit. Centres may also have regular communication with you via newsletters or parent information sessions.

    A range of communication tools are available in your centre which may include communication books and day books in the rooms for both families and educators to share important messages about your child with each other. We love to hear your feedback about your child’s programs, their learning environments and the care we provide for your child. Your constructive feedback helps us improve the quality of the care and early learning your child receives.

    We have a formal family feedback program which includes surveys emailed to you throughout your time at Goodstart. We welcome your participation and feedback.

    Please let your educator or Centre Director know if you have any concerns or questions. We aim to address any concerns immediately in a professional and ethical manner. If you feel your concerns are not addressed or resolved you are welcome to provide feedback to our Family Support Team on 1800 222 543.

    If you have any questions relating to your child’s enrolment at your centre, please make a time to speak with your child’s educators.

    How can I get involved at my centre?

    Family involvement enhances children’s wellbeing, learning and development, so families are welcome in the centre at all times. We encourage families to provide input into learning programs, to spend time with our educators, to contribute their skills and resources, and to be involved as much or as little as they wish.

    How do we guide and support children’s behaviours?

    Learning how to get on with others takes time and lots of practice. Our educators are trained in positive behavioural guidance strategies and see this as an important part of their teaching work. Positive guidance is the key, and we work with children about acceptable behaviours and simple rules, and help them learn how to regulate their emotions and responses to others. We work with families to support the development of children’s social skills. We focus our teaching on supporting children to become truly independent and socially competent.

    How would you like us to celebrate a birthday or special event?

    We love to help you and your child celebrate special moments and occasions, whether they are birthdays, special cultural days, or losing the first tooth. If you would like us to be part of your child’s celebration, please let your child’s educators know.