Bellambi Point Community Preschool (BPCP) has been awarded the Excellent rating
Date Awarded: 16 December 2021
Valid until: 15 December 2024
Bellambi Point Community Preschool (BPCP) has been 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 Illawarra region based service was recognised for its:
- collaborative partnerships with professional, community or research organisations
- commitment to children that respects, reflects and celebrates culture and diversity, including place of origin
- 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:
- BPCP collaborated with staff from a local primary school to increase the participation of families and children in the school’s orientation program, after observing a very low participation rate. The program includes:
- case conferences with school staff including the K-2 coordinator, school counsellor, kindergarten teacher, support workers and Assistant Principal to create an individual plan of support for the children and families transitioning the following year.
- school staff visiting BPCP to observe children, meet with families and develop cognitive assessments for children who may have additional needs.
- working closely with the school’s Aboriginal Education Officer to increase the educators’ capacity to provide support to families and meet their needs in culturally safe ways.
- key educators attending the orientation sessions alongside families and children to support collaboration between families and the kindergarten teacher and to remove barriers to participation and children’s learning.
- providing guidance to the school to create a sensory room that resembles the sensory room at BPCP to enable a successful transition to school for children with additional needs who benefit from the continued access to familiar resources and environment design.
- BPCP is an Engagement Centre in partnership with Early Start, University of Wollongong. As an Engagement Centre the service takes part in collaborative research aimed at supporting educators’ professional development and strengthening children’s outcomes. The nominated supervisor attends monthly network meetings facilitated by Community Engagement Co-ordinators from Early Start and educators take part in research such as a year-long Preschool Situational Self-Regulation Toolkit (PRSIST) Coaching and Mentoring Project to build children’s self-regulation skills. During 2020 and 2021 educators continued to engage in regular Community of Practice opportunities including virtual learning workshops and reflective discussions with other Engagement Centres in NSW and the ACT.
- BPCP has an established relationship with the Corrimal Rotary Club which provides referrals to the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Program of Australia. The program aims to increase children’s literacy outcomes and posts monthly age-appropriate books free of charge to registered children until they turn five. The service successfully advocated for each child to receive registration to the program when they enrol at the service. The nominated supervisor also attends the Imagination Library Illawarra meetings alongside several key stakeholders from the community to keep up to date with the latest information on the current literacy data for children in the Illawarra as a way to inform the children’s program.
- Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into service operations. BPCP continues to collaborate with Ngroo Education Incorporated to establish goals and improve engagement with families after identifying several barriers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children enrolling at the service. The service has a written statement that guides their practice: “At Bellambi Point Community Preschool, we have agreed, through our cultural education training and cultural audit, to actively work towards improving engagement with our local Aboriginal community. We believe the following strategies will achieve this outcome; more local cultural training, improved connections with the local community, an increase in visuals and improve information to the community”. In collaboration with community members, including the local schools Aboriginal Education Officer, the service has implemented the focus on Country in its curriculum and increased visuals throughout the service environment to highlight its commitment to respectfully implementing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives. An educator of Cook Island background has led the development of each educator’s understanding of the structure and cultural protocols of families from the Cook Islands which has resulted in the development of relationships with families and children that are stronger and based on trust. As well, this has resulted in an increase in enrolment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children into the service.
As a leader in the sector, Bellambi Point Community Preschool shares its practice and learnings with other education and care services, helping to ensure their positive impact reaches beyond the children and families who access their service. The service proactively seeks opportunities to share its practice and is open to training and mentoring new and emerging educators working and studying within the sector.
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.