Choices Family Day Care (CFDC) has been awarded the Excellent rating
Date Awarded: 20 September 2021
Valid until: 19 September 2024
Choices Family Day Care (CFDC) 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 Queensland 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:
- CFDC established the Early Years Health & Wellbeing Program (EYHWP) to help improve its local communities’ performance against the domains of the Australian Early Development Census. Two university dietitian students, CFDC staff, educators and families developed a suite of EYHWP resources and have shared them with other children’s education and care services, schools, and private and government agencies. The resources include:
- A PowerPoint presentation for educators that focuses on EYHWP’s key objectives and how to implement the program within their home environments.
- A healthy lunchbox resource for families that contains information about the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating and a guide to creating a healthy lunchbox and reading nutritional labels.
- Nutrition milestones posters and factsheets for families and educators.
- An activity eBook for educators that includes nutrition-related learning experiences and recipes to incorporate into their program.
- As part of their commitment to sustainability, CFDC introduced Sustainability Passports for children. Each child is given a stamp for completing a sustainable practice highlighted within their passport and they receive a certificate from CFDC stating that they have helped save the planet.
- Each year, the service employs Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high-school students as trainees. Each trainee is introduced to all educators and they work alongside staff in head office while completing a Certificate III in Business Studies.
- CFDC operates through a distributed leadership model to ensure that every educator has the autonomy to make decisions and to feel empowered through their work with children and families. Educators are supported and encouraged to develop and organise their own programs, including connecting with community members and organisations to support and extend on the children’s interests, strengths, and capabilities.
- CFDC meetings are based on the Aboriginal 8 Ways of Learning and are known as Yarning Circle meetings. During the meetings educators come together to share stories, exceptional practice and to mentor one another. CFDC is aware that educators may feel isolated when working within their home environments, and the yarning circle approach focuses on ensuring that all educators feel supported, included and heard. To commence these meetings, an educator will share their own practice and facilitate conversations to encourage a sense of belonging and to feel safe and secure to share their knowledge and practice. These meetings are held in the educator’s local community, to support access for those who work and live in rural and remote areas.
- CFDC has developed a comprehensive induction process for new educators:
- An educator reference guide handbook has been developed to support educators to thoroughly understand their roles and responsibilities within the National Quality Framework and CFDC’s organisational structure. All educators have access to the handbook, and it is used during the induction and training of all new educators.
- Eight sessions run by CFDC staff to explore the National Quality Standard, including the elements, and to learn from CFDC case studies. The training content is based on the Guide to the National Quality Framework.
- Peer mentoring that is supported by the coordinators who invite new educators to be mentored by an experienced educator to showcase CFDC’s values, beliefs, philosophy, and team culture in practice and within an already established CFDC home environment.
As a leader in the sector, Choices Family Day Care demonstrates how a service leads and inspires the wider education and care sector, advocating for and demonstrating high quality practices in family day care services through information sharing to guide and inspire other services to critically reflect and improve practice.
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.