Goodstart Early Learning Clayton (GELC) has been awarded the Excellent rating
Date awarded: 24 October 2022
Valid until: 23 October 2025
Goodstart Early Learning Clayton (GELC) 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 Melbourne based service was recognised for its:
- 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
- practice and environments that enhance children’s learning and growth.
Examples of exceptional practice at the service include:
- GELC’s Community Pantry is a welcoming place for all members of the community experiencing food insecurities and hardship to stock up on food supplies. The pantry was initiated in response to family feedback, and family and community members can take what they need and give what they can to support one another. The pantry holds a broad range of items including cereals, tuna, pasta, rice, tinned vegetables, soup, biscuits, and fruit and vegetables. Additionally, there are toiletries and occasionally food for pets. Every two months, a large supermarket chain donates packaged food items to the service’s community pantry.
- There are 11 champion roles at GELC made up of a lead educator and a second in charge educator. Each educator champion and second in charge role involves a twelve-month commitment and educators nominate themselves to fill roles annually. Examples of these leadership roles include:
- Wellness and Wellbeing Champion research and shares information with staff, educators and families and conducts wellness sessions during staff meetings.
- Health and Safety Champion encourages educators to share safety experiences and to critically reflect as a group on how to resolve safety and health concerns. Additionally, the champion enables and empowers children to identify risks and how to reflect on how to manage them safely.
- Community Connections Champion collaborates with community organisations, individuals, businesses and schools and tertiary institutions to achieve mutual goals.
- During the orientation process of new educators, they are provided with a buddy who becomes their mentor. GELC embeds five key pedagogical practices as part of its buddy program including:
- Role modelling exceptional practice with educators in all areas across the service. This involves modelling successful two-way communication with children, families, and educators and demonstrating stimulating and engaging experiences, where children’s learning is scaffolded.
- Ensuring all educators are supported in their study and that they are managing their work/study load, this may range from certificate III to university qualifications.
- Spending time in each other’s learning environment, to provide support with programming and to support each other in tracking children’s learning outcomes, including crucially reflecting on each other’s observations of children and follow-ups. Follow-ups involve holding regular conversations regarding the extension of children’s learning and the setup of learning environments.
- Keeping each other up to date with current research articles, book summaries and any innovative ideas that the service could incorporate, and continually reflecting on these new learnings.
- Supporting the wellbeing of all individuals and striving to ensure that all team members have a healthy work/life balance as a priority.
- Family feedback suggested that more excursions should be held as families struggled to take their children out within the community due to work commitments. The service now has daily excursions for the children in every room, including the nursery and toddler room, based on the interests and needs of the children, families, and the wider community. The weekly bush kinder program at a local park reserve incorporates experiences for all children, including nursery and toddler aged children.
- GELC hosted state-wide education and care professionals for an open night of discussions to increase exposure to connecting with nature and reflective practices. The purpose of the night was to impart knowledge on engaging environments across all age groups and to discuss the values of sustainability, agency, equity, and inclusion.
As a leader in the sector, GELC shares its practice and learnings through its reciprocal partnerships with its local community to extend on opportunities for ongoing quality and best practice within the children’s education and care 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.