Element 6.1.1: Engagement with the service

Families are supported from enrolment to be involved in the service and contribute to service decisions.
National Law & Regulations

National Law and National Regulations underpinning Element 6.1.1

Regulation 157 Access for parents

What Element 6.1.1 aims to achieve

Families’ first major engagement with the service occurs during the enrolment process. The enrolment process presents an opportunity for services to share information about its operations, philosophy and governance with families. Services can also encourage families to express their preferences about how the orientation of their child into the service will occur. This helps families to feel supported from the beginning and to understand that the service values their input about what is best for their child.

When families are given the opportunity to provide information about their children that will assist educators to get to know them and help them settle into the program, families feel that their suggestions are clearly valued and that they are regarded as partners in their child’s experience at the service. This partnership between the service and the family strengthens when educators seek further information from families while assessing children’s progress and planning their individual goals.

Services encourage families to become involved in ways that suit their current commitments, availability and skills. For example families can contribute to service processes, such as reviewing the service philosophy and self-assessments, revising policies and procedures, and identifying goals for the Quality Improvement Plan.

When services seek and encourage families’ meaningful involvement in the service, families are included as co-contributors to decisions and are able to influence service programs, policies and planning processes. Services may use a range of strategies to cater to the diversity of family preferences on information sharing and engagement.

Assessment guide for meeting Element 6.1.1 (for all services)

Enrolment and settling-in process


Assessors may observe:

  • prospective families being:
    • invited and encouraged to visit and become familiar with the service before their child starts
    • encouraged to talk with service staff about the values and expectations they hold in relation to their child’s time at the service before, during and after the enrolment process
    • encouraged to share information about other child-related services accessed by the family
  • families being encouraged to:
    • stay with their child for as long as they choose during the settling-in period and on an ongoing basis
    • contact the service, and in particular their child’s educator/s during the day if they wish
  • educators assisting families to develop and maintain a routine for saying goodbye to their child
  • each child being offered comfort and reassurance in a way that is suited to the child during separation from their family
  • educators sharing honest information with families about how their child is settling into the service
Family day care
  • a principal office that is well signposted, and accessible and welcoming to families and children
School age children
  • services acknowledging and respecting children’s prior learning from school.

Assessors may discuss:

  • how the service identifies the individual education and care requirements of each child and their family
  • the provisions made to support families during the enrolment and orientation process
  • how the settling-in process is tailored to meet the needs of individual children and families
  • how information is gathered from families to support continuity of care between home and the service
School age children
  • how currently enrolled children are involved in the orientation of new children and their families
  • how links and communication with schools can be established and maintained
Family day care
  • how co-ordinators:

    • determine the best placement for a new child and how families are involved in the selection of an educator best able to support the child’s wellbeing, learning and development
    • collaborate with educators and families to settle new children into the service
    • work with educators to make decisions about the placements of children from diverse cultural backgrounds and/or children requiring additional support
  • the educator’s approach to interviewing prospective families and settling their children into the service.

Assessors may sight:

  • the service’s enrolment and orientation procedures and documentation
  • evidence that families seeking a place at the service are provided with easy-to-read information about how the service operates and what it can provide (including information about inclusion and learning)
Family day care
  • documented information provided:
    • to new families about the role of the principal office, including how co-ordinators:
      • monitor each child’s placement
      • provide ongoing support for educators, families and children
      • assist families in finding an alternative placement when the child’s educator is unavailable
      • assist families to access service policies and procedures
    • by the educator to new families about themselves and their family, and their philosophy, expectations, routines and experiences offered to children.

Family involvement and contribution to service decisions


Assessors may observe:

  • a culture of open, respectful communication, characterised by friendly conversations between families, their child’s educator and other members of the service
  • educators and families sharing information about children’s progress, relationships, interests, strengths and experiences while participating in the service and within their family
  • the service:
    • creating a welcoming environment for all families
    • communicating respectfully and sensitively with all families
    • recognising and valuing diversity when engaging with families
    • responding to families’ questions, concerns and requests in a prompt and courteous way
    • implementing a range of strategies to share information and engage families in decision-making processes.

Assessors may discuss:

  • processes in place to communicate with families in ways that are convenient for them
  • opportunities provided for families to:
    • talk with the approved provider, educational leader, nominated supervisor, co-ordinators and educators about their participation in the service and any issues or concerns
    • provide regular feedback and input about all aspects of the service
  • how families, including extended family members, are able to contribute to the operation of the service and be involved in an advisory, consultative or decision-making role
  • how families are encouraged to contribute to the development and review of the service’s programs, philosophy, policies and procedures
  • how the service involves families and uses their suggestions during self-assessment, planning for quality improvement and development of the Quality Improvement Plan (see Element 7.1.2)
Family day care
  • how the principal office collaborates with and seeks contributions from families about service decisions
  • how educators and co-ordinators maintain two-way communication with families about children’s placements and their progress
  • how co-ordinators:
    • work with educators to facilitate family involvement
    • support the involvement of families in the service
    • support and involve families who have difficulty accessing the principal office due to their geographical location and/or lack of transport.

Assessors may sight:

  • evidence that:
    • the service has strategies in place to communicate with families with varying literacy skills, or where English is not a first language
    • the service provides resources that are available to families in a range of languages
    • families are able to share their understanding of their child’s strengths, interests, abilities and needs
    • families have easy access to the service’s policies and procedures
    • families, including extended family members, are invited and supported to participate in the program and events at the service
    • families are invited to participate and become actively involved in decision-making at the service, and are asked for feedback on service decisions
    • families have opportunities to contribute to the development and review of the service’s programs, statement of philosophy, policies and Quality Improvement Plan
  • information available to families about the range of opportunities they have to participate in the service
School age children
  • evidence of regular communication between co-ordinators and families.