Carrum Family and Children’s Centre (CFCC) has been awarded the Excellent rating

Date first awarded: 2 June 2023
Valid until: 1 June 2026

Carrum Family and Children’s Centre (CFCC) 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 south-east Melbourne based service was recognised for its

  • inclusive partnerships with children and families
  • positive workplace culture and organisational values
  • sustained commitment to professional development and support of educators
  • practice and environments that enhance children’s learning and growth.

Examples of exceptional practice at the service include:

CFCC’s healthy eating and nutrition initiatives:

  • CFCC has two full time chefs and a kitchen coordinator who works across all three of its approved provider’s services. In 2019, a kitchen supervisor role was established after CFCC advocated for extensive consultation with the chefs and team members to identify operational needs of all services. In 2023, the kitchen supervisor position was superseded by the kitchen coordinator role after a consultation period to identify tasks that supported the leadership of the kitchen teams across the three services. The position supports CFCC to provide nutritional menus, to support families with diverse needs, allergies and dietary needs and to implement the Stephanie Alexander Garden Project within the services.
  • In 2022 and in collaboration with its local Community Health Services, CFCC established the Veggie Heroes Project in response to Australian Bureau of Statistics highlighting that only 8.5 per cent of children ate the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables in 2020–2021. As part of the team making vegetables into a ‘hero’, the kitchen team developed a healthy food focused activity space with books and learning experiences such as vegetable bingo, spot the veggie, food sorting activities and mystery box food guessing games.
  • Each month, a kitchen newsletter is sent to families that shares the service’s curriculum, including tips and tricks for making vegetables ‘heroes’ at home too.
  • Each menu cycle is shared with the families, alongside each recipe for families to be inspired to make nutritious meals at home. Throughout the year, the service will collect recipes from its families and staff and will include them into its menu cycles. All the recipes are collated and shared with families both online and in a physical book.

CFCC’s professional learning and reflection:

  • CFCC created and hosted a two-session professional development program titled Introduction to Embedding Indigenous Perspectives in Early Childhood that was attended by 50 professionals from the education and care sector.
  • CFCC held an open day for external education and care professionals and community members. The service notes that they were able to showcase their practices and programs and answer any questions the external members had. They plan to offer the open day for external education and care professionals as an annual event for CFCC.
  • CFCC is currently supporting 17 staff members with the process of completing their professional qualifications, 15 are upskilling within the education and care sector and two are studying external interests.
  • In preparation for applying for the Excellent rating, the service had a living document titled Towards excellence that was addressed during staff brainstorming sessions. Each brainstorming session reflected on different themes and criteria, and the service staff reflected on the various themes and how they feel they contribute to the community, the sector and their children and families. Different subheadings that correlate to each criterion and theme were considered, including examples of exceptional practice, program or partnership and the positive outcomes achieved.
  • As a leader in the sector, CFCC incorporates its children and families’ voices into all decision making and actively hosts external education and care professionals through professional development sessions and service open days.

About the Excellent rating

Services that receive a rating of ‘Exceeding National Quality Standard’ in all seven quality areas can apply to ACECQA for the Excellent rating. From 1 July 2023, the Excellent rating is awarded for five years. After this time services have the option to re-apply.

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