Forrest Out Of School Hours Care has been awarded the Excellent rating
Date awarded: 15/01/2019
Valid until: 14/01/2022
Forrest Out Of School Hours Care 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 service is the first Outside School Hours Care service in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) to receive the Excellent rating.
The Canberra based service was recognised for its collaborative partnerships with professional, community or research organisations; practice and environments that enhance children’s learning and growth; and positive workplace culture and organisational values, sustained commitment to professional development and support of educators.
Examples of exceptional practice at the service include:
- The service was instrumental in the creation of a Parents and Citizens run professional network for Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) services in the ACT. The professional network provides immersion experiences, joint professional development opportunities and termly meetings to support critical reflection, and resource and practice sharing.
- Children, in an acknowledgement of their right as stakeholders, interview prospective staff members. Since 2017, applicants for staff to work at the service are interviewed by a panel of children who are given agency to develop their own questions, take notes and have input into the decision making in the selection of new educators.
- The service supports children’s evolving loose parts play through a partnership with The Green Shed, a resource management organisation. Donated goods are accessed and returned fortnightly at no cost. The service also shared its Playwork approach through mentoring participants in a community ‘Playful Endeavour Project’ as part of the City Renewal Authority plan to make Canberra a more playful city.
- The service supports Forrest Primary Schools ‘Culture Club’, which was established to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children within the school community. It redesigned an outdoor area as a dedicated meeting space and the Culture Club named the space ‘Meetyamate.’ The service and the Culture Club relaunched the joint space in 2018.
- The service is committed to a Playwork approach. Two Playworkers were in-residence for two weeks during 2017 and 2018 and the service’s educational leader went on a nine week Playworks study tour overseas in 2017. The service has hosted family information nights on Playwork and supports its families to understand the play cycle and to observe children undertaking their own benefit risk assessments.
- ‘The standard you walk past is the standard you accept’ is an overarching statement for all service staff that has been adopted by the service. The service attributes the commitment to this statement as empowering educators to speak up in challenging situations, to role model for one another, to engage in critical reflection, and in being continuously accountable.
As a leader in the sector, Forrest Out Of School Hours Care has developed and delivered information sessions to early childhood tertiary education staff and educators, and OSHC educators in addition to providing mentoring, presentations and professional discussions around loose parts to ensure their positive impact reaches beyond the children and families who access their service.
About the Excellent rating
Services that receive ‘Exceeding National Quality Standard’ in all seven Quality Areas can apply for the Excellent rating. The Excellent rating is awarded for three years. After this time services have the option to re-apply.
More information is available on the ACECQA website.