John Brotchie Nursery School has been awarded an Excellent Rating

Date awarded: 30 April 2020

Valid until: 29 April 2023

John Brotchie Nursery School 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 Sydney based service was recognised for its collaborative partnerships with professional, community and research organisations, and inclusive partnerships with children and families. It was also recognised for its positive workplace culture and organisational values, sustained commitment to professional development and support of educators, and practice and environments that enhance children’s learning and growth.

Examples of exceptional practice at the service include:

  • Collaborating with a local school to research and develop projects that give teachers and educators a comprehensive understanding of the transition to school process for every child. Staff from the service and the school shadowed one another to identify differences in teaching pedagogies and develop transitional strategies that are now implemented through play-based learning.

These include buddy programs that focus on developing relationships early and visits to the school support children’s transition between the service and the school. The buddies from the school visit the service to support the children, which also gives them an opportunity to develop their leadership and mentor skills. The service shares information about children who will be attending the school through informal discussions and formal documentation.

  • Mentoring and guiding families through home learning in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, including:
    • producing virtual educational experiences that are based on the service’s pedagogical philosophy
    • developing demonstration videos for families discussing appropriate teaching strategies and how to implement these at home
    • providing children, families and carers with story time videos based on children’s book requests being read by educators
    • educators and teachers regularly contacting each family to support the child and family’s health and wellbeing
    • families informing staff about their children’s learning progress and educators providing an analysis of this learning to help families to extend on the experiences
    • facilitating the opportunity for children to give feedback to their educators
    • acting in response to children’s feedback by recording routines and experiences and sharing them with all their peers to help them stay connected with each other 
    • ensuring families have access to the service’s books, toys, play equipment and resources to encourage and strengthen families and children’s home learning experiences.
  • Annual action research projects that support the professional development of all staff and their Quality Improvement Plan. After critically reflecting on their current practices, the service develops an annual action research project that addresses their current practices and goals for future improvements in practice. These projects impact on their daily curriculum decision making and outcomes for every child, the families and all staff. They include:
    • Mathematics in the Preschool
    • Literacy in the Preschool
    • Embedded Aboriginal Perspectives
    • STEM learning.
  • Maintaining a mentoring partnership with two rural and remote NSW services to incorporate contemporary teaching pedagogies within their face-to-face and distance learning classrooms. The rural and remote services were guided through critically reflective practice and now incorporate:
    • play-based learning experiences based on the approved learning frameworks resources that align with the principles and practices of the approved framework
    • indoor and outdoor learning environments that embed children’s agency, strengths and interests
    • family handbooks that include updates of the services philosophy and teaching pedagogy.

As a leader in the sector, John Brotchie Nursery School celebrates professional development through local network groups, hosting and attending service tours and sharing knowledge and connecting with local, regional and national services and staff through speaking engagements and conferences. These practices ensure that 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.