The Southport School has been re-awarded the Excellent rating

Date re-awarded: 26 November 2019

Valid until: 25 November 2022

The Southport School has been re-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 Gold Coast based service was recognised for its collaborative partnerships with professional, community or research organisations,  inclusive partnerships with children and families, and practice and environments that enhance children’s learning and growth.

Examples of exceptional practice at the service include:

  • Developing a supported playgroup that uses the Abecedarian approach to support children’s communication skills. The weekly playgroup provides an early childhood education program for children and guest speakers for families to discuss topics such as nutrition, speech, child health and early literacy. The format of the playgroup provides an early educational experience for the children as well as providing support and learning for families.
  • Dental Health Education Project was created with a partnership with Griffith University students who provided the children with activities and experiences to increase dental health awareness and care. The dental students gained valuable experience treating young children. The service benefited by receiving valuable information on dental health. Families have noted changes in children’s dental health behaviour, including insisting on having a glass of water at the end of a meal and a lack of anxiety when visiting the dentist. 
  • Eye Health Screening Program. The Southport School partnered with a local optometrist who was able to offer bulk billed eye sight screenings. This program began within term 4 of 2017 and has continued each year. The program has diagnosed three children in need of corrective eyeglasses. The optometrist has provided the educators at the service with tips and strategies for eye health. The educators are now aware of indicators for eyesight issues and encourage families to seek further medical assistant should an issue arise.
  • Continued improvements to its outdoor environment. As part of their long term planning and commitment to creating a more in-depth nature play and exploration space, the service created a bush preschool environment in woodland adjacent to the service. The service consulted with a local Aboriginal Elder to ensure the bush preschool program recognised the significance of land within Aboriginal culture. The service also upgraded their outdoor environment, consulting with children and families to create a space that reflects the beach culture of the local community including installing surf lifesaving totem poles and a watch tower within the sandpit.
  • A wellbeing program was initiated by the service through the employment of specialist staff. The service partnered with the school’s dietician and psychotherapist to deliver a program that included yoga, meditation, and role-play to support the development of social skills and friendships, and learning how to prepare healthy meals. The service utilizes the wellbeing health support pillars of Mindfulness, Exercise, Nutrition, Sleep Relationships, Engagement, Meaning, Accomplishment and Positive emotions (MENS REMAP). The Southport School develops the children’s emotional intelligence by teaching the children skills in to recognise and self-direct emotions and behaviour; to build resilience and to foster kindness and appreciation.
  • Educators reflected on their practices in regards to the provision of physical activity and organised a fitness program incorporating early learning in team skills. These are a large part of the school culture with the program offered as an extra-curricular activity. This has assisted children with skill development as well as teaching them about playing as part of a team. The extra –curricular activities offered to the children also involve swimming, tennis, martial arts, football and cricket.

As a leader in the sector, the service continues to organise network opportunities for early childhood teachers on the Gold Coast as well as the provision of a Reggio Emilia Network.  Since its original 2016 application, these networks have grown to incorporate guest speakers to inform the early learning community on best practice initiatives and shared quality experiences.

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.