“Safety starts with each of us – but at Goodstart it’s more than that. Empowering all children and Goodstarters to feel safe and be safe is who we are and what we do.”
Our Safety Commitment underpins everything we do at Goodstart and we work hard to ensure we provide high quality early learning and care in the safest possible environments.
Safety is embedded into every aspect of centre life and our safety training, policies and procedures take effect from the moment a child walks into their centre.
The focus we bring to safety and wellbeing has ensured that our child injury rate continues to be among the best in the sector. However, any injury is one too many and Goodstart’s approach to safety is constantly evolving as we work to strengthen our existing practices and expertise.
As part of our focus, we’ve developed our ‘Super 7 Supervision Strategies.
Our educators understand and implement the importance of effective and active supervision and follow strategies to ensure every child’s safety:
- Supervise all children –we provide supervision for all children in our care
- Follow the room or area plan – our teams know the risks (such as where the entry and exit points are) of each learning space and know who is in the team is responsible for what
- Communicate and keep to ratio - our educators communicate constantly with each other to ensure room ratios are always met and cover is available if an educator needs to leave the room
- Check the roll and account for children – we conduct regular headcounts throughout the day to ensure every child is always accounted for as they move around the centre
- Be attuned, adaptive and use our senses - our educators adapt and adjust their levels of supervision depending on children’s individual needs as well as the learning space they are in, the age mix and the size of the group they are working with
- Design spaces to help supervision – rooms are set up to promote visibility and accessibility so educators always have a clear line of sight of all children in all learning areas
- Supervise and engage with children to maximise learning – Goodstart educators engage in active supervision which requires focused and intentional observation, scanning and listening at all times while engaging with each child
While every person who works in the centre has a responsibility to keep children safe, each centre also has a Safety Champion. This is a team member – other than a centre director – who is always on the lookout to ensure the centre is as safe as possible, someone who provides a second set of eyes and ears and ensures that risks of injury or harm are mitigated as much as possible.
Every day our centres carry out outdoor safety inspections and centre safety inspections – rooms and outdoor play areas are all checked to ensure they are safe and ready for use.
Hundreds of inspections are completed each month across all our centres to identify potential hazards and areas for improvement. Our teams look for things including foreign objects, damaged or broken equipment, snakes and spider and also check surface temperatures and ensure all gates and fences are secured.
We also take all necessary action to safeguard children from abuse, neglect and harm. This includes a number of initiatives to prevent, identify and respond to any allegation of abuse. We have a new Protective Strategies kit which centre teams are using as part of their work and other tools and resources and specialist training around mandatory reporting requirements.
Every Goodstarter must complete mandatory training on all areas of safety, supervision and child protection. This training covers a range of topics from first aid, incident response and administering medication to food allergens, infection control and transporting children. This ensures each of us is equipped with the knowledge and skills to ensure the safety of every child in our care.
Safety has always been a priority for Goodstart and in the 12 years since its inception the organisation has worked to raise our standards around safety. Our focus continues to evolve today and we are continuously looking at ways to strengthen and improve our practices.
In recent years Goodstart’s board established a Safe Work and Wellbeing committee to ensure the work around safety remains a priority.
In 2021 a Chief Safety Officer was appointed, which was a first for the early learning sector. Since then Goodstart has invested around $12M in safety and the safety team of six has grown to 32 Safety Health and Wellbeing Partners and Specialists who support the network and help build improved systems and processes.
Watch for further updates on safety – we are always looking for ways to improve children’s safety and wellbeing.