Assessment and rating for family day care service providers
The assessment and rating process can be a nervous time for educators and providers.
To coincide with National Family Day Care Week earlier this month, we chatted to Eugenia Gabbiani, a family day care educator at the City of Casey in Victoria, about her experience being assessed and rated and her advice for other educators.
Tell us a little about your service
The City of Casey Family Day Care commenced in 1995 following amalgamations of family day care services in surrounding local government areas that created the largest family day care service in Australia! Our service remains the largest, currently operating at an average level of 800 equivalent full time places with around 235 educators offering care in their homes to over 2500 children with help from 18 very supportive members of our coordination unit.
How did you prepare for your assessment and rating visit?
The City of Casey has been preparing educators since the commencement of assessment and rating by providing training, advice and information to ensure we are aware of the expectations. Before the visit, I talked to children in my care about the people coming to see us that day and also spent some time making sure all my documentation was up to date and easily accessible for assessors.
Did you have any concerns or were you nervous about your assessment and rating?
On the day of the visit, I did get nervous. I think it is natural for anybody being assessed on their work performance to be a little nervous. Though once the assessors arrived and the process started, my nerves eased quickly as we were able to show them our service. Overall I was confident, as we offer high quality education and care every day regardless of being visited.
Do you have any advice for family day care service providers that are due to be assessed and rated?
All educators, not just family day care, have a responsibility to provide the best quality of care every day. When preparing for an assessment, my advice would be to have all your documentation up to date, easily accessible and ensure children's files are readily available as the assessor will ask to see this documentation. Make sure that you know what you do – this means know your emergency procedures. Take time to familiarise yourself with regulations as the assessor could ask you questions about this. Have your activities ready to reflect your program and what your children have chosen for the day. Have your observations available. We are a multicultural society; include diversity in your activities. I know that children in our service enjoy learning rhymes in other languages. If you have children from other cultures, learn basic words in that language and greet children and families with "good morning" in their mother tongue. Document this so that assessors know you are doing this.
Importantly, be proud of the fantastic job you do as an educator. Display your certificates, diplomas, awards and commendations. Not just for the assessor, but for everyone who comes into your service. Display your children's artwork as they too are very proud of their work. Have photos of children doing some of the activities planned by you and the spontaneous ones initiated by them. You can also have a ‘community board’ where you can place pictures of the places you frequent with the children. These recommendations are not just for the assessment and rating process but for your practice. My main advice for family day care educators, and all educators, is to ensure your service is a high quality one all the time, not just when you are being assessed and rated. Treat assessment and rating as an opportunity to show off your practice to the assessor, let them see that you are prepared and proud of the education that you provide.
You might also like to read our Embracing the assessment and rating process interview from last year with Vashti Hicks, an Authorised Officer with the Queensland Department of Education and Training.