Uniting Airlie Preschool Oatlands (UAPO) has been awarded the Excellent rating
Date awarded: 8 March 2023
Valid until: 7 March 2026
Uniting Airlie Preschool Oatlands (UAPO) 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 Greater Western Sydney based service was recognised for its:
- collaborative partnerships with professional, community or research organisations,
- inclusive partnerships with children and families,
- positive workplace culture and organisational values, sustained commitment to professional development and support of educators.
Examples of exceptional practice at the service include:
- Commencing a collaborative partnership with Associate Professor Alma Fleet, focused on practitioner inquiry. Through the partnership, UAPO accessed targeted workshops, which they supported two other services to join. Practitioner inquiry was used to respond to family members concerns that their children were not learning or using key skills such as literacy and numeracy, through their preference of playing football. This involved sitting down with the children and inviting them to ‘play football without the ball’. An educator questioned children about their football knowledge and referenced:
- Building educators football skills and knowledge by children teaching them key player positions and football terminology.
- Supporting children to share their numeracy understandings by counting out how many players were on the team.
- Noting how talkative one child was who had strong physical skills, yet rarely spoke when playing football. During the discussion, the child shared what role they played on the field, the roles of their peers, and corrected other children when they used incorrect player terminology and drove most of the discussion amongst their peers.
- Drawing on the documented discussion to demonstrate to families that literacy and numeracy learning was occurring while football was being played and during related experiences.
- Supporting Associate Professor Alma Fleet to share the service’s practitioner inquiry research more broadly with the early childhood profession and further contribute to early childhood research and data (drawn directly from services) that demonstrates what the active inclusion of children’s perspectives looks like in practice.
- Partnering with families to utilise their expertise within program delivery and policy development. This includes:
- Establishing a ‘Gifted and High Potential’ policy. The family member connected the service with a gifted and talented coordinator at a local school, who provided guidance on wording, policy and plans for an education program.
- Organising an information session for educators and families with Dr Catherine Harrison regarding gifted and talented children. Family survey responses indicated their definitions of gifted and talented were similar to Dr Harrison’s but the term ‘giftedness’ can be very confronting for families.
- Working with educational professionals to implement an education plan that supported a child to share their advanced cognitive skills in group settings and further develop their social skills and positive attitude toward risk taking.
- Supporting educators to implement the policy with a consistent understanding and knowledge base to all work from.
- Undertaking training on anti-bias approaches to support staff in communicating respectfully with the service’s diverse families and perspectives. This included:
- Respectfully responding to a family members concern regarding their child learning about cultural and religious celebrations different to their own. This was in relation to children expressing curiosity at an educator fasting for Ramadan. UAPO educators explained to the family member that when various celebrations are explored within the service, the focus is on learning about the values rather than the related practices. For example, UAPO educators explained children learn about the value of family and giving with Christmas and Ramadan providing an opportunity to explore values around relationships and helping others.
- Explaining to families that children have a right to learn about differences and to learn about valuing and accepting differences, so they learn to make informed and respectful choices for themselves.
As a leader in the sector, UAPO enthusiastically shares its practice through research projects with education professionals and provides strategic guidance to other education and care services and early childhood teachers new to the profession, helping to ensure 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 to ACECQA for the Excellent rating. The Excellent rating is awarded for three years. After this time services have the option to re-apply.