Keithcot Farm Children’s Centre for Early Childhood Development and Parenting has been awarded an Excellent Rating

Date awarded: 19 September 2019

Valid until: 18 September 2022

Keithcot Farm Children’s Centre for Early Childhood Development and Parenting 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 Australian based service was recognised for its collaborative partnerships with professional, community or research organisations, inclusive partnerships with children and families; and positive workplace culture and organisational values, sustained commitment to professional development and support of educators.

Examples of exceptional practice at the service include:

  • At the end of 2017, the service completed building redevelopments which were achieved as a result of its governing council lobbying for and receiving $2 million dollars of state government funding. Family consultation and feedback influenced the inclusion of a consultation room, a community room for facilitating parenting programs, a flexible space for crèche use, and a separate kitchen for families to socialise in.
  • In January 2018, the service employed a family member, who is a qualified midwife, to provide a midwifery clinic. This was in response to limited antenatal and postnatal support within the local community. Families, as well as members of the local community, access weekly sessions on feeding, mothercraft, settling skills and wellbeing checks. The midwife and service Community Development Coordinator also deliver targeted programs with an antenatal to preschool age focus. One example is the ‘Post Natal Connect’ program, introduced to support families and their babies with mental health challenges arising from pregnancy, birth trauma or postnatal experiences.
  • Out of hours events were introduced in response to family feedback about social isolation during weekends and school holidays. Events include family yoga sessions, twilight stay and play sessions, a pyjama storytime during National Simultaneous Storytime and a picnic event to celebrate National Families Week celebrations. Event feedback acknowledges families are now better connecting with other families and building relationship within the service community independently of the service.
  • The service contributes to Department for Education and South Australia Health initiatives through its partnership with Allied Health South Australia. This led to the ‘Allied Health in Children’s Centres program’ including weekly in-service access to a speech pathologist and occupational therapist. Provisions include tailored across age programs, sessions and webinars on toileting, meal times, music and movement, emotional supports, and emerging literacy skills.
  • The service schedules team meetings during operation hours to assist staff in achieving a positive work-life balance. The Governing Council developed a budget supporting the use of permanent relief staff to release staff during work hours. This includes coverage for weekly programming time, program review meetings every three weeks and team overview meetings once a term. Preschool, long day care, Allied Health and Community Development Coordinator staff attend together for equal access to information and collaboration across all programs.

As a leader in the sector, Keithcot Farm Children’s Centre for Early Childhood and Parenting has organised and co-facilitated presentations and training to representatives from the early childhood and primary school sectors. The service has used funding grants to provide large scale free and cost reduced community events, including guest speakers such as Dr Justin Coulsen and Mark Le Messurier. In response to community requests, the service introduced ‘What’s the Buzz’, a school age social skills program and regularly hosts multi-age and family sessions such as ‘Kid’s Cooking Club’. These measures ensure their positive impact on quality outcomes for children reaches beyond only 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.