Bermagui Preschool has been re-awarded the Excellent rating
Date awarded: 30 July 2021
Valid until: 29 July 2024
Bermagui Preschool 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 regional New South Wales 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
- positive workplace culture and organisational values, sustained commitment to professional development and support of educators.
Examples of exceptional practice at the service include:
- Creating a Bermagui Preschool Mental Health and Wellbeing Program, in light of recent catastrophic drought, brushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic. The project is recovery focused and aims to build on the community’s resilience, healing and capacity building by offering comfort, reassurance and assistance. It also acknowledges that children process trauma in varied ways and that without appropriate support, this can have long term effects. The service created a Reframing Fire Program to acknowledge the traumas caused by the bushfires and also to highlight the benefits of fire. Through creative art learning experiences the children can smell smoke, see flames and feel the heat from fire in a safe, controlled and purposeful way.
- Building and maintaining a community garden, called the Moodji Cultural Garden Project. This project is inspired by the evidence that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples used domesticated plants, sowing, harvesting, irrigating, as well as living in permanent dwellings, and using simple machinery such as fishing traps, storage, and watercraft. The Moodji Cultural Garden Project provides an accurate model for an alternative understanding of Australia’s rich history. There is a focus on connection, biodiversity and conserving the traditional agricultural and scientific knowledge of the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- The development of the Bermagui Preschool Menopause policy to acknowledge the natural phases of each woman’s life. The policy’s goal is to improve the working conditions for women at the service and to provide informed guidance for every staff member.
- The children advocated on behalf of the marine ecosystem and sea creatures to express their dissatisfaction with single-use plastic straws within the community. During excursions, children took turns to explain their advocacy work to stop using single use plastics to cafés, restaurants and other businesses. The children encouraged their local businesses to support them and to consider removing plastic straws from their shop counters and to only make them available on request. As a result, the regional community now declares itself free from plastic straws after all of the local businesses decided to support the children’s project and their belief that big change can be made through small everyday actions.
- Applying for and receiving a grant to create a play therapy and counselling room and also space for children, families, staff and community members to work with speech and occupational therapists and psychologists. This will ensure that the community has access to mental and physical health support within their community. The service is working with several organisations to ensure that this space will embed meaningful practices that positively impact on the whole community.
As a leader in the sector, Bermagui Preschool continues to critically reflect and respond to the specific and complex needs of their children, families and community. The service also proactively seeks opportunities to share its practice and is open to training and mentoring educators in 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.