How to build a Child Care Service and make education great.

 
 

How to use this book

Many of the sections of this book are from my own personal experiences.  Building a childcare service is relatively straightforward if you follow the Annexes in the back of this book. What is not so straight forward is everything else.

I would love this book to be an active reference—something you can flip through to find useful guidance on specific topics when you need some perspective or advice.

I’ve included a checklist in each chapter to help you  through certain situations. Like you I am still learning and although I am relatively successful in my own right, my experience is far from exhaustive.

When there are online references that might prove useful, I’ve included a footnote pointing to my website, where you can find more direct links to these resources.

 

Introduction

Every time I read a management or self-help book, I find myself saying, “That’s fine, but that wasn’t really the hard thing about the situation. The hard thing isn’t setting a big, hairy, audacious goal. The hard thing is laying educators off when you don’t get enough enrolments. The hard thing isn’t hiring great teachers. The hard thing is when those “great teachers” develop a sense of entitlement and start demanding unreasonable things. The hard thing isn’t setting up an organisational chart. The hard thing is getting people to communicate within the organisation that you just designed. The hard thing isn’t dreaming big. The hard thing is waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat when the dream turns into a nightmare.

The problem with these books is that they attempt to provide a recipe for challenges that have no recipes. There’s no recipe for really complicated, dynamic situations. There’s no recipe for building a great education service; there’s no recipe for leading a group of people out of trouble; there’s no recipe for making a series of hit songs; there’s no recipe for playing NFL quarterback; there’s no recipe for running for president; and there’s no recipe for motivating teams when your business has turned to crap. That’s the challenge with challenges—there is no formula for dealing with them.

Nonetheless, there are many bits of advice and experience that can help with the hard things.

I do not attempt to present a formula in this book. Instead, I present my story and the difficulties that I have faced. As an entrepreneur, a CEO, and now a school principal, I still find these lessons useful—especially as I work with a new generation of teachers and educators. Building a company inevitably leads to tough times. I’ve been there; I’ve done that. Circumstances may differ, but the deeper patterns and the lessons keep resonating.

For the past several years, I’ve encapsulated these lessons in a series of blog posts that have been read by millions of people. Many of those have reached out to me wanting to know the backstory to the lessons. This book tells that backstory for the first time and includes the related lessons from the blog. I’ve also been inspired by many friends, advisers, and family members who have helped me throughout my career and also by hip-hop/rap music. Because hip-hop artists aspire to be both great and successful and see themselves as entrepreneurs, many of the themes—competing, making money, being misunderstood—provide insight into the hard things. I share my experiences in the hope of providing clues and inspiration for others who find themselves in the struggle to build more then a childcare service but to make education great.

 

1

This will be hard, you will struggle and that's ok

Every entrepreneur (you are one now) starts his or her company with a clear vision for success. You will create an amazing environment and hire the smartest educators and teachers to join you. Together you will build a beautiful service that delights parents and children and makes the world just a little bit better. It’s going to be absolutely awesome.

Then, after working night and day to make your vision a reality, you wake up to find that things did not go as planned. Your company did not unfold like the Steve Jobs story that you heard one day when you started. Your centre has issues that will be very hard to fix. Your finding it hard to get enrolments. Your educators are losing confidence and some of them have quit. Some of the ones who quit were quite smart and have the remaining ones wondering if staying makes sense. You are running low on cash and can’t pay the rent. You lose a competitive battle. You lose a loyal parent. You lose a great employee. The walls start closing in. Where did you go wrong? Why didn’t your company perform as envisioned? Are you good enough to do this? As your dreams turn into nightmares, you find yourself in the Struggle just like I was.

The Struggle is when you wonder why you started the company in the first place. The Struggle is when people ask you why you don’t quit and you don’t know the answer. The Struggle is when your employees think you are lying and you think they may be right. The Struggle is when food loses its taste. The Struggle is when you don’t believe you should be CEO of your company. The Struggle is when you know that you are in over your head and you know that you cannot be replaced. The Struggle is when everybody thinks you are an idiot, but nobody will fire you. The Struggle is where self-doubt becomes self-hatred. The Struggle is when you are having a conversation with someone and you can’t hear a word that they are saying because all you can hear is the Struggle. The Struggle is when you want the pain to stop. The Struggle is unhappiness. The Struggle is when you go on vacation to feel better and you feel worse. The Struggle is when you are surrounded by people and you are all alone. The Struggle has no mercy. The Struggle is the land of broken promises and crushed dreams. The Struggle is a cold sweat. The Struggle is where your guts boil so much that you feel like you are going to spit blood. The Struggle is not failure, but it causes failure. Especially if you are weak. Always if you are weak. Most people are not strong enough to do what you do.

Every great entrepreneur from Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg went through the Struggle and struggle they did, so you are not alone. But that does not mean that you will make it. You may not make it. That is why it is the Struggle.

Let me be very clear. The Struggle is where greatness comes from. The Struggle is good.

 

Checklist

There is no answer to the Struggle, but here are some things that helped me:

  1. Don’t put it all on your shoulders. It is easy to think that the things that bother you will upset your people more. That’s not true. The opposite is true. Nobody takes the losses harder than the person most responsible. Nobody feels it more than you. You won’t be able to share every burden, but share every burden that you can. Get the maximum number of brains on the problems even if the problems represent existential threats. When I ran Woodland Education and we were losing enrolments, I called an all hands and told the whole company that we were getting our asses kicked, and if we didn’t stop the bleeding, we were going to die. Nobody blinked. The team rallied, delivered an incredible educational programme, and saved my sorry ass.

  2. This is not checkers; this is motherfuckin’ chess. Education businesses tend to be extremely complex. The competition moves, education moves, the people move. As a result, like playing three-dimensional chess on Star Trek, there is always a move. You think you have no moves? How about building indoor space and getting it licensed as natural outdoor space. I made that move in 2010 and it changed the industry. There is always a move.

  3. Play long enough and you might get lucky. If you survive long enough to see tomorrow, it may bring you the answer that seems so impossible today. I remember sitting around a child’s table telling my mum that we did not have enough cash to last the rest of the month and we would have to close the centre. Well the end of the month came and then another and another and another.

  4. Don’t take it personally. The predicament that you are in is probably all your fault. You hired the people. You made the decisions. But you knew the job was dangerous when you took it. Everybody makes mistakes. Every CEO makes thousands of mistakes. Evaluating yourself and giving yourself an F doesn’t help.

  5. Remember that this is what separates the women from the girls; the men from the boys. If you want to be great, this is the challenge. If you don’t want to be great, then you never should have started a company.

When you are in the Struggle, nothing is easy and nothing feels right. You have dropped into the abyss and you may never get out. In my own experience, but for some unexpected luck and help, I would have been lost.

So to all of you in it, may you find strength and may you find peace.

 

2

The People

Almost everyone who builds a childcare service knows that educators are the most important asset. Properly run services place a great deal of emphasis on recruiting and the interview process in order to build their talent base. Too often the investment in educators stops there.

There are four core reasons why it shouldn’t:

Productivity

I often see childcare services keep careful statistics of how many educators they’ve screened, how many have made it to the full interview process, and how many people they’ve hired. All of these statistics are interesting, but the most important statistic is missing: How many fully productive educators have they added? By failing to measure progress toward the actual goal, they lose sight of the value of training. If they measured productivity, they might be horrified to find that all those investments in recruiting, hiring, and integration were going to waste. Even if they were made aware of low productivity among new employees, most CEOs think that they don’t have time to invest in training.

Andy Grove does the math and shows that the opposite is true:

Training is, quite simply, one of the highest-leverage activities a manager can perform. Consider for a moment the possibility of your putting on a series of four lectures for members of your department. Let’s count on three hours preparation for each hour of course time—twelve hours of work in total. Say that you have ten students in your class.

Next year they will work a total of about twenty thousand hours for your organization. If your training efforts result in a 1 percent improvement in your subordinates’ performance, your company will gain the equivalent of two hundred hours of work as the result of the expenditure of your twelve hours.

Performance management

When people interview Room Leaders or Educational Leaders, they often like to ask, about qualifications. This is fine and there are regulations to meet, but often the right question is the one that isn’t asked: How do you know with certainty that other educators understand your expectations? The best answer is that the Room Leader clearly set expectations when he or she trained the employee for the job. If you don’t train your people, you establish no basis for performance management. As a result, performance management in your company will be sloppy and inconsistent.

Programme quality

Often founders start childcare services with visions of, beautiful education that will solve most of the problems in the world. Then, as their company becomes successful, they find that their beautiful educational service has turned into a Frankenstein. How does this happen? As success drives the need to hire new educators at a rapid rate, companies neglect to train the new educators properly. As the educators are assigned tasks, they figure out how to complete them as best they can. Often this means replicating existing ideas from other services who may not have the same focus you do on education, which leads to inconsistencies in the curicullum, performance problems, and a general mess. And you thought training was expensive.

Employee retention

During a time of particularly high attrition at Woodland Education, I decided to read all of the exit interviews for the entire company to better understand why people where leaving. After putting economics aside, I found that there were two primary reasons why people quit:

 

  1. They hated their manager; generally the employees were appalled by the lack of guidance, career development, and feedback they were receiving.

  2. They weren’t learning anything: The company wasn’t investing resources in helping employees develop new skills.

An outstanding training program can address both issues head-on.

 

Checklist

IMPLEMENTING YOUR TRAINING PROGRAM

Now that we understand the value of the training and what to train on, how do we get our service to do what we want? The first thing to recognize is that no business has time to do optional things. Therefore, training must be mandatory. The first two types of training (functional and management) can be easily enforced as follows:

  • Enforce functional training by withholding new employee requisitions. As Andy Grove writes, there are only two ways for a manager to improve the output of an employee: motivation and training. Therefore, training should be the most basic requirement for all educators in your organization. An effective way to enforce this requirement is by withholding new employee requisitions from managers until they’ve developed a training program for the TBH, “To Be Hired.”

  • Enforce management training by teaching it yourself. Managing the company is the CEO’s job. While you won’t have time to teach all of the management courses yourself, you should teach the course on management expectations, because they are, after all, your expectations. Make it an honor to participate in these sessions by selecting the best educators on your team to teach the other courses. And make that mandatory, too.

Ironically, the biggest obstacle to putting a training program in place is the perception that it will take too much time. Keep in mind that there is no investment that you can make that will do more to improve productivity in your service. Therefore, being too busy to train is the moral equivalent of “being too hungry to eat. Furthermore, it’s not that hard to create basic training courses.

When I ran Woodland Education, I became extremely frustrated that everybody on the team I inherited had a completely unique and different interpretation of their job. Finally, I had an epiphany that nobody in the industry had ever defined the role educator. The checklist below was my attempt to do that and bring down my blood pressure. Amazingly, people still read it today. If you can answer the questions below you are ready to hire.

Recruiting and Hiring

  • Do you sharply understand the skills and talents required to succeed in every open position?

  • Are your interviewers well prepared?

  • Do your managers and employees do an effective job of selling your company to prospective employees?

  • Do interviewers arrive on time?

  • Do managers and recruiters follow up with candidates in a timely fashion?

  • Do you compete effectively for talent against the best companies?

Compensation

  •  Do your benefits make sense for your company demographics?

  • How do your salary and stock option packages compare with the companies that you compete with for talent?

  • How well do your performance rankings correspond to your compensation practices?

Training and Integration

  • When you hire an employee, how long does it take them to become productive from the perspective of the employee, her peers, and her manager?

  • Shortly after joining, how well does an employee understand what’s expected of her?

Performance Management

  • Do your managers give consistent, clear feedback to their employees?

  • What is the quality of your company’s written performance reviews?

  • Did all of your employees receive their reviews on time?

  • Do you effectively manage out poor performers?

Motivation

  •  Are your employees excited to come to work?

  •  Do your employees believe in the mission of the company?

  •  Do you have any employees who are actively disengaged?

  •  Do your employees clearly understand what’s expected of them?

  •  Do employees stay a long time or do they quit faster than normal?

  •  Why do employees quit?

 

3

The most difficult thing about being a CEO

By far the most difficult skill I learned as CEO was the ability to manage my own psychology. Organisational design, process design, metrics, hiring, and firing were all relatively straightforward skills to master compared with keeping my mind in check. I thought I was tough going into it, but I wasn’t tough. I was soft.

Over the years, I’ve spoken to hundreds of CEOs, all with the same experience. Nonetheless, very few people talk about it and I have never read anything on the topic. It’s like the fight club of management: The first rule of the CEO psychological meltdown is don’t talk about the psychological meltdown.

At the risk of violating the sacred rule, I will attempt to describe the condition and prescribe some techniques that helped me. In the end, this is the most personal and important battle that any CEO will face.

Generally, someone doesn’t become a CEO unless they have a high sense of purpose and cares deeply about the work they do. In addition, a CEO must be accomplished enough or smart enough that people will want to work for them. Nobody sets out to be a bad CEO, run a dysfunctional organization, or create a massive bureaucracy that grinds their company to a screeching halt. Yet no CEO ever has a smooth path to a great company. Along the way, many things go wrong and all of them could have and should have been avoided.

The first problem is that everybody learns to be a CEO by being a CEO. No training as a manager, general manager, or in any other job actually prepares you to run a company. The only thing that prepares you to run a company is running a company. This means that you will face a broad set of things that you don’t know how to do that require skills you don’t have. Nevertheless, everybody will expect you to know how to do them, because, well, you are the CEO.

I remember when I first became CEO, an investor asked me to send him the “cap table.” I had a vague idea of what he meant, but I didn’t actually know what the format was supposed to look like or what should be included or excluded. It was a silly little thing and I had much bigger things to worry about, but everything is hard when you don’t actually know what you are doing. I wasted quite a bit of time sweating over that stupid spreadsheet.

Even if you know what you are doing, things go wrong. Things go wrong because building a multifaceted human organisation to compete and win in a dynamic, highly competitive market turns out to be really hard. If CEOs were graded on a curve, the mean on the test would be 22 out of 100. This kind of mean can be particularly challenging because nobody tells you that the mean is 22.

If you manage a team of ten people, it’s quite possible to do so with very few mistakes or bad behaviors. If you manage an organisation of one thousand people, it is quite impossible. At a certain size, your company will do things that are so bad that you never imagined that you’d be associated with that kind of incompetence. Seeing people fritter away money, waste each other’s time, and do sloppy work can make you feel bad. If you are the CEO, it may well make you sick.

And to rub salt into the wound and make matters worse, it’s your fault.

When people in my company complain about one thing or another being broken, such as the expense reporting process, I would joke that it was all my fault. The joke was funny, because it wasn’t really a joke. Every problem in the company was indeed my fault. As the founding CEO, every hire and every decision that the company ever made happened under my direction. Unlike a hired gun who comes in and blames all of the problems on the prior regime, there was literally nobody for me to blame.

If someone was promoted for all the wrong reasons, that was my fault. If we missed the quarterly earnings target, that was my fault. If a great engineer quit, that was my fault. If the sales team made unreasonable demands on the product organisation, that was my fault. If the product had too many bugs, that was my fault. It kind of sucked to be me.

Being responsible for everything and getting a 22 on the test starts to weigh on your consciousness.

 

Too much broken stuff

Given this stress, CEOs often make one of the following two mistakes:

1. They take things too personally.

2. They do not take things personally enough.

In the first scenario, the CEO takes every issue incredibly seriously and personally and urgently moves to fix it. Given the volume of the issues, this motion usually results in one of two scenarios. If the CEO is outwardly focused, they end up terrorizing the team to the point where nobody wants to work at the company anymore. If the CEO is inwardly focused, they end up feeling so sick from all the problems that they can barely make it to work in the morning.

In the second scenario, in order to dampen the pain of the rolling disaster that is the company, the CEO takes a Pollyannaish attitude: It’s not so bad. In this view, none of the problems is actually that bad and they needn’t be dealt with urgently. By rationalizing away the issues, the CEO feels better about themself.

The problem is that they don’t actually fix any of the problems and the employees eventually become quite frustrated that the chief executive keeps ignoring the most basic problems and conflicts. Ultimately, the company turns to crap.

Ideally, the CEO will be urgent yet not insane. They will move aggressively and decisively without feeling emotionally culpable. If they can separate the importance of the issues from how they feel about them, they will avoid demonising their employees or them self.

 

It’s a lonely job

In your darkest moments as CEO, discussing fundamental questions about the viability of your company with your employees can have obvious negative consequences. On the other hand, talking to your board and outside advisers can be fruitless. The knowledge gap between you and them is so vast that you cannot actually bring them fully up to speed in a manner that’s useful in making the decision. You are all alone.

Choices like these cause migraine headaches are normal. A tip to aspiring entrepreneurs: If you don’t like choosing between horrible and cataclysmic, don’t become CEO.

At times like this, it’s important to understand that nearly every company goes through life-threatening moments. In fact it has been so common in my life, that there is an acronym for it, WFIO, which stands for “We’re Fucked, It’s Over” (it’s pronounced “whiff-ee-yo”). Every company goes through at least two and up to five of these episodes (although I’m pretty sure that I went through at least a dozen). In all cases, WFIOs feel much worse than they are—especially for the CEO.

 

Checklist

Techniques to calm yourself

In a previous life I was a psychological Examiner in the Australian Army and the problem with psychology is that everybody’s is different. With that as a caveat, over the years I developed a few techniques for dealing with myself. I hope you find them useful, too.

Make some friends.

Although it’s nearly impossible to get high-quality advice on the tough decisions that you make, it is extremely useful from a psychological perspective to talk to people who have been through similarly challenging decisions.

Get it out of your head and onto paper.

When I have to make hard decisions  I write down a detailed explanation of my logic. The process of writing that document separated me from my own psychology and enabled me to make the decision swiftly.

Focus on the road, not the wall.

When someone learns to drive a race car, one of the first lessons taught is that when you are going around a curve at 200 kmh, do not focus on the wall; focus on the road. If you focus on the wall, you will drive right into it. If you focus on the road, you will follow the road. Running a company is like that. There are always a thousand things that can go wrong and sink the ship. If you focus too much on them, you will drive yourself nuts and likely crash your company. Focus on where you are going rather than on what you hope to avoid.

Stop complaining and get on with it

As CEO, there will be many times when you feel like quitting. Many times this stress is dealt with by in different ways, even by checking out and even quitting.  In each case, the CEO has a marvelous rationalization about why it was okay for him to punk out or quit, but none of them will ever be great CEOs.

Great CEOs face the pain. They deal with the sleepless nights, the cold sweats, and what I call “the struggle.” Whenever I meet a successful CEO, I ask them how they did it. Mediocre CEOs point to their brilliant strategic moves or their intuitive business sense or a variety of other self-congratulatory explanations. The great CEOs tend to be remarkably consistent in their answers. They all say, “I didn’t quit.”

 

4

Final Lesson

There is no question that I learn a great deal everyday and I am pretty embarrassed about how I conducted myself in the early days, but each day I get better and am  pretty good at running a company. There is plenty of evidence supporting this view.

When I first became a CEO, I genuinely thought that I was the only one struggling. Whenever I spoke to other CEOs, they all seemed like they had everything under control. Their businesses were always going “fantastic” and their experience was inevitably “amazing.” But as I watched my peers’ fantastic, amazing businesses go bankrupt and sell for cheap, I realized that I was probably not the only one struggling.

As I got further into it, I realized that embracing the unusual parts of my background would be the key to making it through. It would be those things that would give me unique perspectives and approaches to the business. The things that I would bring to the table that nobody else had.

When I work with people today, this is the main thing that I try to convey. Embrace your weirdness, your background, your instinct. If the keys are not in there, they do not exist. I can relate to what you are going through, but I cannot tell you what to do. I can only help you find it in yourself. And sometimes you can find peace where I could not.

Of course, even with all the advice and hindsight in the world, hard things will continue to be hard things. So, in closing, I just say peace to all those engaged in the struggle to fulfill their dreams.

 

Mark

 

Appendix 1

Legislation

National Regulations

The Education and Care Services National Regulations (National Regulations) support the National Law by providing detail on a range of operational requirements for an education and care service including:

  • the National Quality Standard (schedule 1)

  • application processes for provider and service approval

  • setting out the rating scale

  • the process for the rating and assessment of services against the National Quality Standard

  • minimum requirements relating to the operation of education and care services organised around each of the seven quality areas

  • staffing arrangements and qualifications

  • fees for a range of transactions.

  • jurisdiction-specifc provisions

National Law

The National Quality Framework (NQF) operates under an applied law system, comprising the Education and Care Services National Law and the Education and Care Services National Regulations.

The purpose of the applied law system is to set a national standard for children’s education and care across Australia. In effect it means the same law is applied in each state and territory, but with some varied provisions as applicable to the needs of each state or territory.

In this case Victoria passed the Education and Care Service National Law Act 2010 and other jurisdictions adopted that law through an Application Act or passed corresponding legislation.

View the legislation that applies in each state or territory, and if applicable, the corresponding Application Act below:

State or Territory Legislation Application Act

Victoria

Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010

Changes to the National Law were introduced 1 October 2017 in all states and territories, except Western Australia. 

More about the changes.  

New South Wales

Children (Education and Care Services National Law Application) Act 2010

Australian Capital Territory

Education and Care Services National Law (ACT) Act 2011

Northern Territory

Education and Care Services (National Uniform Legislation) ACT 2011

South Australia

Education and Early Childhood Services (Registration and Standards) Act 2011

Tasmania

Education and Care Services National Law (Application) Act 2011

Queensland

Education and Care Services National Law (Queensland) Act 2011

Western Australia

Education and Care Services National Law (WA) Act 2012 

 

Appendix 2

Learning Frameworks

Under the National Law and Regulations, services are required to base their educational program on an approved learning framework. This should focus on addressing the developmental needs, interests and experiences of each child, while taking into account individual differences.

National approved learning frameworks

There are 2 nationally approved learning frameworks which outline practices that support and promote children’s learning:

Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (EYLF)

Approved learning framework under the NQF for young children from birth to five years of age

My Time, Our Place: Framework for School Age Care in Australia

Approved learning framework under the NQF for school age children.

Other state and territory frameworks

There are also the following approved learning frameworks specific to Victoria and Western Australia: 

National Quality Standard

The National Quality Standard (NQS) sets a high national benchmark for early childhood education and care and outside school hours care services in Australia.

The NQS includes 7 quality areas that are important outcomes for children.

Services are assessed and rated by their regulatory authority against the NQS, and given a rating for each of the 7 quality areas and an overall rating based on these results.

REsources

Educators' guide to the early years learning framework for Australia

Educators' guide to the framework for school age care in Australia

2018 National Quality Standard (A4 Poster)

 

Appendix 3

Ratios

The National Quality Framework (NQF) sets out the minimum qualification and educator to child ratio requirements for children’s education and care services.

Educators must be working directly with children to be counted in the educator to child ratios. 

Family day care ratio requirements

  • 1:7 educator to child ratio

  • Maximum of four children preschool age or under.

  • Ratio includes the educator’s own children younger than 13 years of age if there is no other adult to care for them.

Centre-based ratio requirements

Ratios are calculated across the service (not by individual rooms). This gives providers the flexibility to respond to the needs of children.  In a mixed age group of children, maintaining the ratio for each age range of children does not mean the educator to child ratio for the youngest age range must be applied to all children in an older age range. An educator who is caring for one age range of children can also be counted against another age range of children, as long as the ratio for each age range is maintained and adequate supervision is maintained at all times.

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 1.25.16 pm.png

More information 

See the Guide to the National Quality Framework for more information on educator to child ratios and adequate supervision. 

 

Appendix 4

Compliance

Here you can find a bunch of information and a consistently growing library of coaching & implementation packages supporting the seven quality areas of the National Quality Standard.

Each one is designed to help you and your team not only understand the related compliance issues of a given task but also provide simple implementation steps and the ongoing management routine. I provide a description, simple work instructions and necessary templates to help you get the job done in the least amount of time & effort.

Quality Area 1 - Educational Program & Practice

Where does the cycle begin? Reflecting on Belonging, Being, Becoming, we are reminded that a child learns as they participate in everyday life, they develop interests and construct their own identities and understandings of the world.

It’s the role of the Educator to observe these interests and create an environment and opportunity within the Service’s program for the child to scaffold on ideas, experiment with support and negotiate and test ideas as they build on their understanding, thus, their world. Resources in this section (And System QA1) are designed to support Educators delivering the intended outcome.

Programming Cycle

Where does the cycle begin? A child learns as they participate in everyday life, they develop interests and construct their own identities and understandings of the world.

Our Programming Cycle module provides the fundamental methodology and templates to record the experience as required by the National Quality Framework. “You can’t inject your own system & style until you understand the basic process & principles.”

Inclusion Support Management

The guide & forms below have been developed to support Providers in the steps and strategies required to embed and manage 'inclusion support' practices. These are editable drafts giving you the flexibility to amend and align with your own Service’s physical environment & culture.

Observations Cycle Audit

The Observations Cycle Audit is a ‘pro-active' procedure for Supervisors and/or Room Leaders to check that the principles and fundamentals of current Learning Stories are evident. (Supports the concept of 'Observe, Discuss and Sight)

At regular or random intervals use this quick & simple approach to confirm that each room is working to EYLF guidelines and more importantly; Educators can articulate the journey they are taking. (Issues that require attention can be submitted to your Quality Improvement Plan.)

Learning Stories

A good learning story is like a short narrative describing a series of events, decisions & consequences. The key in the early childhood setting is for it to be; child/children focussed, informative and of course, accurate.

The structure and flow of information can be wide & varied but as an exercise in simplicity (and intended time efficiency) we’ve supplied examples and templates that are set up in a logical and repeatable format. They are intended as a guide for you to either build on or compare.

 

Appendix 5

Pre-assessment

Let’s get you rating ready.

Pre-assessment and Rating Checklist

The Pre-assessment & Rating Checklist has been designed as a simple and user-friendly guide to assist in conducting a self-audit prior to your Assessment and Rating visit. It covers all related Elements, what is required to be sighted and where. * Aligned to the revised NQS

Please study our ‘Follow the Steps’ instructions before starting.

Document Organisation Checklist

By following the suggestions provided in our Document Organisation Checklist, not only will your records be organised, they will also stand out as being highly professional and provide a great first impression during Assessment and Rating.

Documents & Records that are easily accessible, presentable and current are a reflection of high quality care and high operational standards. (Recommended to use in-conjunction with the Pre-assessment & Rating Checklist)

 

Annex 6

Childcare Policies

These Policy Libraries span all seven Quality Areas and each is written with reference and consideration to the Early Years Learning Framework, revised National Quality Standard and Education and Care Services National Regulation.

All Long Day Care, Family Day Care and Out of School Hours Care Service policies are in first draft format (WORD) so they can be easily amended to match your own Service’s culture, style and state by state specifications. We review and update our policy drafts on a routine basis or when regulation changes are applied - even so, we still strongly advise that you read thoroughly and ensure each document is aligned to your Service's unique situation.

Quality Area 1 - Educational program and practice

All policy documents are in first-draft format. Please ensure that you carefully read and amend each one to align with your own Service's circumstances, culture and style.

Quality Area 2 - Health and safety

All policy documents are in first-draft format. Please ensure that you carefully read and amend each one to align with your own Service's circumstances, culture and style.

Quality Area 3 - Physical environment

All policy documents are in first-draft format. Please ensure that you carefully read and amend each one to align with your own Service's circumstances, culture and style.

Quality Area 4 - Staffing arrangements

All policy documents are in first-draft format. Please ensure that you carefully read and amend each one to align with your own Service's circumstances, culture and style.

Quality Area 5 - Relationships with children

All policy documents are in first-draft format. Please ensure that you carefully read and amend each one to align with your own Service's circumstances, culture and style.

Quality Area 6 - Collaborative partnerships with families and communities

All policy documents are in first-draft format. Please ensure that you carefully read and amend each one to align with your own Service's circumstances, culture and style.

Quality Area 7 - Governance and Leadership

All policy documents are in first-draft format. Please ensure that you carefully read and amend each one to align with your own Service's circumstances, culture and style.

 

Annex 7

Childcare Letters

Based on the principle that it's much quicker and easier for you to create childcare service letters from 'first-drafts' we have undertaken to grow a library of documents used in all facets of managing a childcare facility, from simple welcome letters to sensitive messages involving fee or structure changes.

Each childcare service letter template is created in a WORD format so editing and 'copy-paste' functions are familiar, easy and fast.

Quality Area 2 - Health and safety

All letter templates are in first-draft format. Please ensure that you carefully read and amend each one to align with your own Service's circumstances, culture and style.

Quality Area 6 - Collaborative partnerships with families and communities

All letter templates are in first-draft format. Please ensure that you carefully read and amend each one to align with your own Service's circumstances, culture and style.

Quality Area 7 - Governance and Leadership

All letter templates are in first-draft format. Please ensure that you carefully read and amend each one to align with your own Service's circumstances, culture and style.

 

Annex 8

Childcare Forms

This area is where you’ll find a growing library of standard forms and templates which can be downloaded, adjusted and branded to your own childcare service.

The majority of templates have been designed to support the facilitation of policies and compliance modules but can also be applied independently. We use WORD format so editing and 'copy-paste' functions are universal, familiar and easy.

Audits & Checklists Library

Sheets & Posters

 

Annex 9

Human Resources

Managing the human resource element in any childcare service business can be complex and challenging. Each one of us is unique - we have our own personality, approach to life and of course, work ethic.

To maximise ‘opportunity’ and ‘productivity’ for each individual person on your team you must take responsibility from the start by providing:

1. Realistic expectations via Job Descriptions and Routine Checklists
2. Effective monitoring via performance reviews & counselling
3. Professional development via self assessment & training

Management Resources

Routine Checklists

Staff Performance Review

Managing Underperformance

Employee Exit Guide & Resources

Job Descriptions - LDC

Internal Support Roles - LDC