Excellent news for Essex Heights Juniors ELC with newly minted ACECQA rating
The team of educators and leaders at Essex Heights Juniors Early Learning Centre (EHJELC) finished off January on a high, learning that they had been successful in securing an Excellent rating from the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA).
Awarded on 25 January 2022, the Melbourne based service was recognised for its:
- collaborative partnerships with professional, community or research organisations;
- inclusive partnerships with children and families; and,
- positive workplace culture, organisational values, support of educators and sustained commitment to professional development.
A number of examples of exceptional practice at the service were remarked upon by ACECQA.
Established school transition processes
EHJ collaborates with preparatory teachers from a local school, providing mentoring and assistance to teachers to support children and families transitioning to school. Due to COVID-19 related disruptions to learning and attendance at the service, the preparatory teachers highlighted specific areas for EHJ to focus on to support children’s literacy and language skills and overall wellbeing.
In response, EHJ tailored professional development sessions to build educators’ capacities to provide support to children in those areas. The teacher in the four year-old children’s early childhood group collaborated with the Essex Heights Primary School Prep Coordinator to continue supporting transitioning children and their families throughout 2020 and 2021.
This included holding virtual meetings between educators, EHPS staff and children at various times during the year to build connections, exchange information and familiarise children with the preparatory teacher and classroom environment. To further build relationships, the ECT co-presented at the School Readiness Family Information Night in 2021 held at the school.
Long-term partnerships with its local council
As a way of connecting and building relationships with community organisations and members beyond its service EHJ has established partnerships that go across council operations. This partnership has seen the implementation of two network groups that connect local education and care service leadership teams and educational leaders, which continued virtually throughout 2020 and 2021.
The Director’s meetings are led by EHJ and include members of the leadership teams for 30 education and care services within the local area. The network supported services to navigate through the continuously changing regulatory, operational and health and safety requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic and are considered as highly valuable for new leaders who benefit from having additional support from experienced leaders in the sector.
The Educational Leader Meetings were established in 2018 following recognition that educational leaders require a separate professional space to engage in discussions about their role and engage in specific professional learning and networking.
Health and wellbeing support
A visiting doctor service was established eight years ago based on family feedback which identified that families were finding it challenging to consult with doctors about their child’s and own health, due to work commitments and limited surgery hours. A local general practitioner visits the service fortnightly, providing the opportunity for families and staff to book an appointment and consultation.
As a result families are better able to plan their child’s regular check-ups and consult the doctor about their child’s health, allergies, immunisations and vaccinations.
During 2020 and 2021, the educators’ health and wellbeing remained a priority as they were able to consult with the doctor when needed. During a staff meeting an information session about COVID-19 and the vaccination requirements addressed the educators’ questions and concerns.
As a leader in the sector, EHJ maintains mutually beneficial and collaborative partnerships with professional organisations that improves outcomes for children and families throughout their educational journey.
For more information the Excellent rating process, please see here.
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