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Policies and procedures

Goodstart's Policy Framework consists of 17 policy categories, 7 of which relate to the National Quality Standards and 10 to business management.

National Quality Framework

The National Quality Framework 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 requirements, policies and procedures are developed using these seven quality areas. You can find more information about the NQF and NQS at

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.

  • At Goodstart the educational program is play-based and child-centred to enhance each child's learning, development and well-being.

    Key educator relationships and small groupings are key to support the success of these educational programs. Such practices create rich connections and allow educators to have a deeper understanding of children’s motivations and interests, enabling them to more effectively plan for children’s learning.

    At Goodstart both the program (curriculum) and educator practice (pedagogy) is informed by an approved learning framework, underpinned by the Early Years Learning Framework.

    Children are viewed as active participants and decision makers within the curriculum and their learning. They have an ownership and voice on the direction of their own learning, development and well-being.

    View our NQS1 - Educational Program and Practice Policy.

    Key Goodstart policies in this area cover the following topics:

    The educational program enhances each child’s learning and development

    Educators will provide children with an inquiry-orientated and play-based educational program that is child-centred and built on the knowledge educators have on individual and groups of children. Information may include knowledge of children’s understandings, development, skills, strengths, ideas, culture, abilities and interests. This educational program will be aligned with an approved learning framework identified by ACECQA.

    Educators facilitate and extend each child’s learning and development

    Educators use a variety of evidence-informed practices through their interactions with children to facilitate and lead learning. These practices are planned and purposeful and, where required, responsive and inclusive to children’s emerging interests. 

    Educators take a planned and reflective approach to implementing the program for each child

    Educators will engage in ongoing critical reflection that fosters learning, reflection and planning for continuous improvement of the educational program on offer to children. They work in partnership with families recognising the important role they play in their children’s lives. 

    Educators will ensure that the educational program and documentation on children is made visible to families. 

  • 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. 

    View our NQS2 - Safety, Health and Wellbeing Policy.

    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, and 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.

    Safeguarding children

    At Goodstart we take any action necessary to ensure that all children can feel safe and be safe, and are safeguarded from child abuse, neglect, and harm. This means we are committed to keeping children safe and protected, ensuring they gain a strong sense of wellbeing, optimism, and confidence so they have the learning and development and wellbeing outcomes they need for school and life. This is more than just meeting compliance responsibilities. Underpinned by our ‘look, do, tell’ framework, we amplify and promote the voice and rights of children, through the prevention, identification and response to child abuse, neglect, and harm.

    View our Child-Safe Policies and Procedures

    Child-safe environment

    Ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of children and young people, their families, Goodstarters and visitors to our centres and sites is Goodstart’s first and most important obligation. Goodstart maintains physical, psychological, and online environments that promote cultural safety and keep children safe and well. It is essential that centre teams, educators and co-ordinators attend to children’s wellbeing by providing cultural, emotional and physical safety through enacting the voice of children, playful, intentional teaching connected to child/ren’s learning goals, effective and active supervision, warm, trusting relationships with children and families and predictable, inclusive, and safe and enabling learning environments.


    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,nutrition and allergy management. 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 Kitchen Design Standards. Consideration is given to nutritional, dietary, allergy 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 as soon as practicable, and all notifiable incidents are reported according to legislative requirements.

    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 may need to be excluded from the centre in accordance with 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, these and other state requirements are outlined in No Jab No Play, No Jab No Pay | NCIRS. 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

    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, adequate supervision of all children is maintained at all times, ensuring all children are within sight and sound, staff closely supervise visitors when they have contact with children and children must never be left alone with a visitor.

    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.

    Safe sleep and rest practices

    Goodstart's sleep, rest and relaxation requirement is based on current research and recommended evidence-based principles and guidelines. Educators must take reasonable steps to ensure that the needs for sleep and rest of children being educated and cared for by the service are met, having regard to the ages, development stages and individual needs of the children.

    View our NQS2 - Sleep, Rest and Relaxation Requirement.

    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. 

  • Goodstart ensures all centres have safe and comfortable physical environments that actively promote children’s wellbeing and learning, development outcomes. Our learning environments promote children’s agency and independent exploration to enrich their learning and development. Goodstart also takes an active role in caring for the wider environment and contributing to a positive and sustainable future.

    View our NQS3 - Physical Environment Policy.

    Key Goodstart policies in this area include the following topic:


    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.

  • 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.

    View our NQS4-Staffing-Arrangements-POLICY.pdf.

    Key Goodstart policies in this area include the following topic:

    Rostering staff

    Goodstart Centre Directors ensure that centre staff rosters are prepared in accordance with National Laws and Regulations and the Goodstart Enterprise Agreement (EA). When preparing the centre staff roster consideration is given to the staffing levels and qualifications required to operate the service, including the requirements if an educator who holds (or is actively working towards) an approved certificate III or diploma level qualification or an early childhood teacher (ECT) or suitably qualified person (SQP) is absent, Responsible Person requirements, first aid qualification requirements, licenced capacity of the centre, room configurations (age and room capacity), educator to child ratio requirements, positions and qualifications required, time allocated for programming, staff learning program induction and professional development, completion of the Performance Excellence Program (PEP), trainee and apprentice study, the number of children booked daily per room throughout the week, group sizes, educator breaks, non-contact hours for contact Directors, Inclusion support requirements and a centres requirement for Cooks, Trainees and Bus Drivers.

  • At Goodstart our fundamental belief is that children's learning, development, and wellbeing are firmly anchored in reciprocal, responsive, and respectful relationships that are attuned to the context of children's lives within their families and community. 

    We recognise that young children thrive in early childhood settings when they have positive and secure relationships with educators who know how to nurture and stimulate their learning, development, and wellbeing.

    Goodstart educators are attuned to individual children and create warm, trusting, and secure relationships with them and between groups of children. This is fundamental to children's emerging self-regulation, learning, development, and well-being. Every child feels safe, is safely heard, and is included to access and participate meaningfully in early childhood education and care.

    Our learning environments are inclusive and support the participation of all children, reflect diversity, and upholds equity for all children. 
    View our NQS5 - Relationships with Children Policy.

    Key Goodstart policies in this area include the following topic:

    Behaviour guidance

    At Goodstart, educators work collaboratively with families to meet the needs of children, acting as a resource to families where necessary providing strategies for age-appropriate behaviour guidance. Educators view guiding and supporting children’s behaviour as part of the learning process and integral to the educational program on offer to children. When necessary our centre leadership and relevant educators provide access to internal and external specialist support services.

    View our NQS5 - Guiding Children’s Behaviour Requirement.

  • 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.

    View our NQS6 - Collaborative Partnerships with Families and Communities Policy.

    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 Requirement. Should families fail to comply with these responsibilities Goodstart may exclude them from the centre, although their children may not be excluded.

    View our NQS6 - Family Rights and Responsibilities Requirement.

    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 wish to complete the relevant forms 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.

  • 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.

    View our NQS7 - Leadership, Service Management and Effective Administration Policy

    View our NQS7 - Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Requirement

    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 Person in day-to-day charge) 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.

    Educational Leader

    The educational leader has an influential role in an early year centre to inspire, motivate, affirm and also challenge the practices and pedagogy of educators. Goodstart is legally required to have a nominated Educational Leader at each of our centres and this role sits within the centre leadership team. To confirm this, each centre must have completed the NQS7 Educational Leader Nomination form and ensure it is on file for reference if the regulator requires evidence.

    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.

    Students and volunteers

    Goodstart encourages work experience in our centres, in particular for students studying towards an early childhood qualification. During work experience students gain practical experience through interactions with our educators and children. We also welcome Volunteers, recognising the enhancement Volunteers can bring to our programs and valuable contribution they make to our centres. In keeping with our commitment to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of children in our centres, students and Volunteers at Goodstart are required to adhere to all State-based screening requirements and hold relevant working with children clearances.

Business management 

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

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