The programme is developmentally appropriate to all the children’s age groups and caters for individual children’s needs, interests and strengths. The programme is based on family grouping and directed free play with opportunities for choice. Experiences are planned by staff based on children’s interests, ongoing observations, developmental records, parent input and staff knowledge of child development. Staff value and include parents’ contributions and participation in the programme.
A Daily Diary is written up each day and emailed to parent’s daily, allowing parents to read what their child was interested in and what has been happening throughout the day. Our programme also includes a weekend chart whereby parents are able to write down anything that they may have done or experienced with their children and then share it with all their friends and teachers.
Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF)
Little Gems Child Care Centre is implementing the Early Years Learning Framework at the centre. This new framework, or a way of understanding and working with children is called Being, Belonging & Becoming. This framework helps guide educators who work in early childhood education and care. The EYLF aims to extend and enrich children’s learning from birth to five years. It also sees relationships as an essential part of learning as children’s relationships with family, community, culture and land shape the learning and development that occurs.
In implementing this framework, it provides educators to observe and record children’s learning based on 5 outcomes: These include:
Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of identity
Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world
Outcome 3: Children have a strong sense of wellbeing
Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners
Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators
Developmental summaries are age appropriate and are carried out bi-annually. Children are evaluated on physical development (gross and fine motor), cognitive development, language development (expressive and receptive), social/emotional development and self-help and play skills. Each child has a journal which contains photographs, art works and work samples as observatory tools. Parents have the opportunity to view their child’s journal twice a year and comment in the area provided. Parents can request to view their child’s journal at any time and arrange a meeting to further discuss any concerns they may have.
Observations are carried out on a daily basis and are used to plan developmentally appropriate experiences for the individual children. Staffs closely observe children during the day using a focus child system and make a record of each child’s level of skill acquisition and development.
Payment of Fees
Fees are payable fortnightly or monthly in advance on the morning of your child’s first day of attendance. Parents are entitled to receive government assistance in the form of Child Care Benefit (CCB) subject to an income means test. This is done through application to the FAO at Centrelink. Educators will be advised of your fortnightly fees or any changes. Educators will give you this information and issue receipts as fees are paid each fortnight.
When enrolling your child a payment of 4 weeks must be made:
2 weeks holding fee deposit which is refunded when 2 weeks’ notice of withdrawal has been given to the centre;
2 weeks fees in advance subject to CCB percentage.
When vacating your child’s position from the centre, your child must attend in the last two weeks of notice or the government will not pay for the booked in days. Please ask staff for a termination of position form, as written notice is required.
Child Care Benefit (CCB)
Child Care Benefit is a payment made by the Commonwealth Government on behalf of families to help with the cost of child care. It is available to families who use an approved or registered child care service and the amount of the subsidy is based on family income and the number of dependent children. Applications for CCB are available from the Family Assistance Office (FAO) at your local Centrelink office or from the Centre. Full fees apply until your assessment is received by the Centre – fees are then adjusted if necessary.
Children born on or after 1 January 1996 must have age appropriate immunisation, be on a catch-up schedule, or have an exemption. Both parents, or the sole parent, must meet the work/study/training test to receive any CCB for more than 20 hours per child per week of approved care.
Full eligibility to CCB may be affected by absences from the Centre. Parents are advised to be familiar with the rules surrounding ‘Allowable Absences’ as determined by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Family Services. If absences are not for any of the allowable absences, or if a child exceeds the 30 allowable absences per year, CCB will NOT be paid and parents will have to pay FULL FEES. In order to avoid this parents MUST ensure they sign all Attendance Records correctly. Failure to do so will result in any absences being included in the yearly rota of 30.
CCB can be paid directly to Little Gems to reduce the fees charged or can be paid as a lump sum to parents after the end of each financial year. Please speak with educators to determine which method is most convenient for you. Remember, all families are entitled to CCB regardless of income.
Fees are paid for public holidays if the public holiday falls on a day which your child normally attends.
Due to a high demand of good quality care, there may be times when Little Gems have no vacancies at the centre. In order to reserve a placement for your child when one becomes available, you’re advised to completing a Waiting List Form. In order to register on our waiting list there is an administration fee of $10.00. This is a non-refundable and contributes to the cost of record keeping.
CONTRACTED DAYS OF CARE
If your child is going to be arriving late or absent from care please phone and advise the educator.
If you are increasing/decreasing days you will need to fill in a form and provide two weeks notice.
If you require an extra day you will need to fill in an Extra Day form and pay on the day.
Days that your child is booked in for cannot be changed or swapped without two weeks’ notice.
At Little Gems we believe that excursions are an essential part of any child care programme. We organize 2 major excursions during the year, as well as a variety of local outings, walks, and instances where we bring various resources into the centre. Excursions are planned to maximize both the children’s developmental experiences and their safety; reflect the age, capability and interests of the children; and have fully informed parental permission. We encourage family participation on all excursions and outings. The costs of excursions are additional fees subject to the event.
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE PROCEDURES
At Little Gems we believe that every child has the right to be greeted and welcomed. This makes the ‘hand-over’ procedure easier for parents and the child, and helps set a positive tone for the remainder of the day. Upon arrival, the children are greeted and welcomed by educators by either being physically held, being involved in a conversation, or by being invited to take part in something that interests the child. Little Gems believes reducing separation anxiety makes the process of using our centre much more positive for children and families.
Responsibilities of parents upon arrival (See ‘Safety and Security Policy’)
– Sign the Attendance Record Form This enables educators to be aware of the children at the centre on any particular day in case of emergency. If this is not signed, families will not be entitled to Childcare Assistance on those days. Sick days must also be accompanied by a doctor’s certificate for the same reason. Similarly, any days absent or on holidays must also be signed in as such. Also sign the Daily Attendance Register (see sample)
– Place child’s lunch box directly in the refrigerator in the kitchen, and put his/her bag in the appropriate locker. Ensure all items are clearly labeled with your child’s name.
– If any part of your child’s lunch needs refrigeration, please ensure that your child’s name is on all items, and place it in the refrigerator. Remember the kitchen is a DANGER ZONE. Children are not permitted inside at any time.
– Place your child’s water bottle clearly labeled with their name on the trolley outside the kitchen
– Little Gems provides hats at a charge of $10 and is kept at the premises at all times, and are dry cleaned weekly.
– Place your child’s bed linen clearly labeled with their name in the cot room
– At Little Gems, we provide nappies and wipes for all children.
– Apply sunscreen to the exposed areas of your child. Sunscreen is located on the sign-on bench for your convenience.
– Inform educators that you are leaving so they are aware that they are now responsible for your child.
– Say goodbye to your child.
– Ensure all gates and doors are closed behind you on your way out.
– Do not park in or across the driveway at any time, as this area must be clear of obstruction in case of emergency.
Responsibilities of parents upon departure
–To inform educators of their arrival at the centre and accept responsibility of their child.
– To sign out on the Attendance Record Form and Daily Attendance Register.
– To collect children’s lunch boxes and other belongings.
– To ensure bed linen is taken home and washed weekly
– To inform educators of the child’s departure.
– To ensure all gates and doors are closed on their way out.
– To openly communicate with parents about the details of the respective child’s day, changes in mood or temperament, eating and sleeping particulars, any special instances or occurrences.
– To farewell the child and parents warmly and genuinely.
PARENT AND STAFF PARTNERSHIPS
Establishing a partnership with parents and families allows us to maintain a high quality of child care. At all times we aim to incorporate families’ contributions into our programme. Communication with parents and families is fostered in many ways, including daily verbal conversations, messages on the whiteboard, notice boards, daily diary and suggestion book. Parents are expected to contribute to the programme through their programme sheet and weekend sheet. Regular newsletters and Parent/Staff meetings also ensure a high level of communication. Where possible important information is translated into home languages. A Parent Committee is set up as a means for parents to have a voice within the Centre.
The Centre holds regular social events where parents are invited. This is a perfect opportunity to get to know staff, other children, parents and families. Parents are always welcomed to spend time at the Centre and join in the activities or discuss their child’s progress.
If you have any questions as to any aspects of our programme or procedures, please do not hesitate to speak with educators. We are here to answer all of your queries. We understand that placing your child in care for the first time can be a difficult and agonising decision, but one which is made easier at Little Gems. We hope you choose to become a part of our family at Little Gems Child Care Centre and enrol your child with us. We look forward to getting to know you better. J