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Frequently Asked Questions


What is Uniting Early Learning?

Uniting Early Learning is the third largest provider of children’s services in NSW, with over 55 services in NSW and the ACT. We provide quality education and care services to over 6,500 children and families each year.

This service is directly managed by Uniting Early Learning management team to ensure accountability and sustainable service delivery.

Our purpose is to nurture resilient and confident children through inclusive and sustainable services, in partnership with families and community. Uniting Early Learning aims to nurture the confidence and development of children, enabling them to have the best start in their critical formative years. We value and advocate for positive early childhood experiences that lead to opportunities throughout life for all children.

 

Has UnitingCare Ella being assessed by the Department of Education and Communities?

Yes, Uniting Ella is rated at Exceeding National Quality Standard.  Our Certificate is displayed in the foyer at Uniting Ella.  

What orientation process is available to my family? What will happen on my child’s first day?

Orientation

Families are encouraged to spend some time at the service with their child pre-enrolment to support transition to the service. This gives your child time to play, become comfortable with the routine and environment and build trusting relationships with the teaching team with your support. It also offers you the opportunity to meet the educators, understand the program and develop a partnership with the team so that you are confident that your child will be cared for, nurtured and have their educational needs met.

What to expect

Each child’s first day is different and children require different periods of time to settle into what is often the first experience away from family and home. We recognise that this is an important transition and we will do all that we can to make it a positive experience.

 

What do I bring each day?

A bag or back pack

At least two spare changes of underwear including socks and clothes appropriate for changes in weather (all clothing and shoes to be clearly labelled with your child’s name)

Resting children will need a top and bottom sheet or a cot sheet set (including a fitted bottom sheet) - brought on the first day of care each week and taken home to be washed on the last day of each week

Any medication the child needs should be labelled with your child’s name, given to an educator on arrival and a medication form completed

Comfort items such as pacifiers, soft toys, etc.

Formula should be provided in formula dispensers and corresponding bottles are to be provided for children as needed

How can I help my child settle into the service?

Some ways you could help your child settle into the service on their first day include:

Help your child get to know the service and our staff by planning visits prior to commencing care.

Show your child that you feel comfortable at the service by greeting and talking to staff and other families.

Develop a familiar ‘good bye’ routine implemented each morning so that your child can easily predict what is going to occur. This routine may include things like putting their bag in their locker, spending some time playing with them or reading a story before you leave.

Always say goodbye to your child.

If possible bring a photograph of yourself or your family so that the educators can talk with children using the photograph as reference

You are most welcome to ring us if you are concerned and we will contact you if needed.

In the first days at the service, the focus of the program is to provide the children with a caring and secure environment where they will become confident and independent. We introduce basic routines and assist the children to establish a safe and cooperative play environment.

What is Ella's curriculum informed by?

 At Uniting Ella our curriculum is developed with the following aims:

To respect the rights of children as active contributors in their own learning as well as participants in a community of learners

To provide experiences and an environment that acknowledges that care and education are interwoven

To develop within the child a sense of self as an effective learner and develop positive dispositions about learning

To provide educational and caring experiences in response to children’s interests, ideas and abilities

To follow and extend on children’s interests, ideas, and abilities individually and in small groups

To provide children with meaningful and relevant choices wherever possible

To organise and set up an environment that promotes and supports hands on exploration, experimentation and investigating possibilities

To organise and set up an environment that promotes and supports discovery, creative thinking, problem solving, making meaning and connections

To respect and celebrate diversity of culture, language, religion, gender, family groups and abilities

To develop programs and individual goals for children in partnership with families

To develop programs which are informed by observation, documentation, evaluation and critical reflection

To set up holistic programs founded in play and are process focussed

To ensure children are supported in each of the learning outcomes

What is the service practice for Sustainability?

We believe early childhood is the starting point to involve young children in environmental education for sustainability and develop lifelong practices to ensure the respect and protection of each other and our planet. Our services have a strong commitment to environmental education and we promote a sense of responsibility, respect, empowerment and active participation to make a positive difference.

Within our curriculum we focus on connecting with nature; maintaining gardens and animals; environmental health, eliminating chemicals and pesticides; responsible use of water and energy and waste minimisation.

The children are supported to learn of the importance of reducing, reusing, recycling and caring for our environment. As well as sustainability practised through daily actions staff guide the children to develop an awareness of the natural environment, living things and animals.

What skills do the educators focus on?

Playing cooperatively, sharing, following preschool rules

Learning to participate in group activities for songs and stories

Early literacy and language, including opportunities to draw, write, recognise some words, listen to and tell stories

Number counting, recognition of numbers, shapes, number concepts and patterns, puzzles and constructions

Physical activity and gross motor skills such as throwing, catching, climbing and outdoor games

 

How does the service group children?

Children experience different group situations throughout the day. Prior to 8.30am and after 3.30pm children are grouped together which enables children to interact with siblings and other age groups. Mixed age grouping provides opportunities for sibling interactions and assists in fostering empathy, positive role modelling and cooperation amongst the different age groups.

A child moving to the next age group depends on the vacancy being available. Fees are dependent on groups, not ages.

How are policies and procedures developed in the service?

The service has a variety of policies and procedures that help guide our quality care and practice. They are available for you to read at any time. If you would like a copy of our policies please feel free to ask the Director.

Policies are developed and reviewed by Uniting Early Learning regularly. We encourage parent collaboration so please feel free to give feedback on our policies at any time. Your feedback will also be requested throughout the year by way of policy feedback sheet.

Educators support non English speaking families by organising a buddy system for the translation of this information. For a more formal service parents are able to contact the Department of Immigration and Citizenship on 131 450 for translation services if required.

Here is a short summary of the most pertinent policies:

Hygiene

Hygiene is a large factor in staying healthy. At the service both educators and children wash their hands on a regular basis throughout the day. Gloves are worn whilst handling food or whilst changing an individual child’s nappy. These hygienic procedures assist with minimising the spread of infectious diseases at the service, and we encourage families and children to adopt these practices whilst inside and outside the service.

We encourage you to wash your child’s hands on arrival at the service.

Parents and educators should wash their hands - on arrival to and departure from the service; after blowing noses; before and after nappy changing; before and after preparing food for feeding children; after handling mouthed toys; before and after changing and toileting children; after dressing children, particularly shoes and socks; after cleaning and before and after attending to a sick child or dealing with cuts, abrasions, nose bleeds etc. 

Does the service have a Transition to School program?

Transition to School

Educators have created a school readiness program to assist children with learning, and transitioning into kindergarten for the following year. This program is based on the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (EYLF) and NSW Board of Studies, Outcomes for all K-6 Key Learning Areas (Early Stage 1 in particular).

While the EYLF focuses on children from birth to five years, the NSW Board of Studies, Early Stage 1, Key Learning areas specifically focus on enriching children’s learning in the first two years of formal schooling.

What are the learning outcomes for children?

Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of identity 

Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world

Outcome 3:  Children have a strong sense of wellbeing

Outcome 4:  Children are confident and involved learners

Outcome 5:  Children are effective communicators

 

 

Does the service provide and encourage sun safety?

We are a SunSmart service as approved by the NSW Cancer Council. We ask that you dress your child in sun appropriate clothing i.e. short or long sleeves (no shoestring straps or singlet tops) and apply sunscreen prior to arrival at Uniting Ella. Minimising children’s exposure to the sun will protect them from skin damage and the risk of skin cancer.

All children, educators and visitors will apply SPF30+ broad spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen 20 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every two hours. If sunscreen has been applied prior to arriving, please record this on arrival. If you child has reactions to our sunscreen we ask that you provide a suitable labelled sunscreen for their exclusive use. The service aims to educate children in effective long term sun safe behaviours. Our outdoor environment is very well protected with shade covers and trees.  Our program and routine is planned so that children are not exposed to the hot sun in the middle of the day.

What happens if my child requires medication?

If your child requires medication to be administered at the service it must be a prescribed medication in its original container with the child’s name and a clear expiry date on the label. Upon providing staff with the medication parents must sign a medication form, giving educators authority to administer this medication to their child.

 

For children's protection, no medications are to be left in your child's bag. Dosage and frequency details on the authority must not contradict doctor’s directions.

For children who have allergies, asthma or require long term medication, an emergency action plan completed by your child's doctor is required upon enrolment and is to be updated as required.

What happens if my child is involved in an accident?

In the event of an accident or injury an Incident Report will be completed by educators. Parents are informed of the incident at pick up or if urgent, as soon as possible. Parents are asked to sign the report which is then kept in the Injury Register. In the event of an accident requiring hospital or medical treatment parents are informed and an ambulance is called. Educators, volunteers and students are informed of and follow Uniting Early Learning polices and injury procedure. At all times, there is at least one educator on duty with a current first aid qualification.

If the parent proceeds to seek medical attention after departing the service, the service must be contacted as this needs to be notified to Uniting Early Learning and the Department of Education and Communities within 24 hours.

How will my child be assisted with nappies and toilet training?

Ella provides disposable biodegradable nappies for children who are not toilet trained. Nappies are changed every two hours, before and after rest and as necessary. This information is recorded on the nappy change chart.

Helping your child start to use the toilet is a big and very exciting step for both of you. The secret is to wait for signs that your toddler is ready.

 

What happens if my child has anaphylaxis?

An increasing number of children are now experiencing anaphylactic reactions to a variety of items. Anaphylaxis is the most severe form of allergic reaction and can be potentially life threatening. To safeguard the children attending our service

 

we exclude all foods containing nuts or nut related foods and products.

A notice is posted at the entry to the service if any other items need to be excluded from Ella. 

What are the sleeping arrangements for my child?

A rest or sleep time during the day can be beneficial for young children to assist them to fully participate in the day's program. Children are given the choice to sleep or rest and quiet activities are provided for children who do not wish to sleep.

Your child may bring a soft toy and/or blanket for comfort at rest time and/or a pacifier. Please ensure all rest materials and comforters provided are clearly marked with your child’s name.

 

 

What is the National Quality Framework and the National Quality Standard?

National Quality Framework

The service is assessed and rated against the National Quality Standard and the National Law and Regulations

The National Quality Standard  

The National Quality Standard is designed to help services provide the best possible level of early education and care by outlining the factors that best support a child's development.  There is an emphasis on continuous improvement.

The National Quality Standard is divided into seven Quality Areas:

Staffing arrangements; Relationships with children; Children’s health and safety;  Physical environment; Collaborative partnerships with families and communities; Educational program and practice and Leadership and service management.