AIS Caretaker’s Cottage Child Care Centre has been re-awarded the Excellent rating

Date re-awarded: 23 December 2020

Valid until: 22 December 2023

AIS Caretaker’s Cottage Child Care Centre has been re-awarded the Excellent rating by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA), the highest rating a service can achieve under the National Quality Framework. The service has been awarded the Excellent rating for the third time.

The Canberra based service was recognised for its:  

  • collaborative partnerships with professional, community or research organisations
  • inclusive partnerships with children and families
  • positive workplace culture and organisational values, sustained commitment to professional development and support of educators.

Examples of exceptional practice at the service include:

  • After attending professional development on the need to visualise the connection families have with their child, the service developed the ‘Stay and play’ and ‘Leave and play’ sessions into their transition program. The sessions support educators to observe family dynamics and care practices, view personalised rituals and routines, and observe the way language and communication is used by families. The sessions have resulted in:
    • Supporting children to see their family is building a trusting relationship with educators, and are comfortable staying within the service environment.
    • Families and children developing a greater sense of belonging within their own time, as they choose how many sessions they need.
    • Children experience consistency of ritual and routine practices within the service between family members and educators, which promotes the service as an extension of the home environment.
    • Establishing secure educator moments once the child begins to feel confident.
  • The service introduced the Nourish Baby program into the service to support families within the service. Nourish Baby is a suite of online courses focused on supporting families to enjoy a healthy pregnancy, positive labour and birth, and early parenting success.
  • The service has developed a partnership with the Department of Child Studies at the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT).  The service hosted CIT early childhood students as part of a mentoring project and expanded the collaboration to include bi-weekly visits by small groups of children to the Bruce CIT playroom for playgroup sessions. The sessions have resulted in:
    • Sharing its philosophies and modelling best practices with future early childhood educators regarding interactions with children. The service philosophy has also been incorporated within CIT course outlines to promote continuity of language for its students.
    • Service educators and children supporting early childhood students to apply their theoretical knowledge within their practices with children.
    • Providing children with new experiences, resources and interactions through the opportunity to play and learn in an environment external to the service and in extending and transferring knowledge and experiences from the playgroup into the service.
  • Supports during the COVID-19 pandemic include:
    • Creation of a remote learning coordinator role which assisted a service teacher to continue working while being unable to teach face to face due to family circumstances. The role supported children’s ongoing learning and continued relationship building between children and educators accessing the service onsite and online.
    • Supporting staff to take short term roles across the organisation to experience employment opportunities outside of the service. The service references a staff member who returned after a four month experience within the IT department and communicated feeling refreshed as they had the opportunity and space in which to develop and meet their personal and career needs.
    • A toy library was placed outside the service to provide all families with contactless access to resources and to support their involvement within service learning challenges online and within the home environment.
    • A resource library was made available for families to access activities and resources to undertake within the home. This included puzzles, books and games for adults to support whole of family wellbeing.

As a leader in the sector, AIS Caretaker’s Cottage Child Care Centre inspires and contributes to the practice development and improvement of outcomes for early childhood education students, and the staff, children and families of local and national services through:

  • Participating within advisory Councils and consulting on future education initiatives to influence early childhood strategy and policy.
  • Presenting to early childhood students and various sector representatives on the topics of the key educator approach, respectful relationships and excellence in early childhood education.
  • The director has been an active member of the ACT Community Childcare Director's Association for 30 years and has provided numerous service leaders with guidance on governance review, preparing for the assessment and rating process and effective teamwork.

About the Excellent rating

Services that receive ‘Exceeding National Quality Standard’ in all seven quality areas can apply to ACECQA for the Excellent rating. The Excellent rating is awarded for three years. After this time services have the option to re-apply.