Balnarring Preschool awarded Excellent for the third time
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Balnarring Preschool awarded Excellent for the third time since 2017

by Freya Lucas

November 06, 2023

Balnarring Preschool has been re-awarded the Excellent rating for the third time since 2017 by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA), making it the first service to be awarded the Excellent rating under the new time provision, holding the Excellent rating for five years.


The Victorian-based service was recognised for its collaborative partnerships with professional and community organisations and inclusive partnerships with children and families that celebrates culture and diversity. 


It was also recognised for its positive workplace culture and organisational values, sustained commitment to professional development and support of educators, and practice and environments that enhance children’s learning and growth.


Examples of exceptional practice at the service include:


  • The service successfully organising and funding a Little Long Walk event. This event raised awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, culture and knowledge and was part of its multidimensional advocacy project called the Bundjil Nest Project. A total of 200 community members participated, including children and local school students who were carrying banners they had made to bring awareness to racism. The day was promoted on the front page of a local newspaper.


  • The service’s genuine and authentic partnership with author N’arweet Carolyn Briggs, a Boon Wurrung senior Elder. Since 2018, the service’s children have worked alongside Carolyn to illustrate and publish three books. The most recent published book is titled The Time of Chaos. The concepts of harmony, chaos, responsibility, peace, uncertainty and fear are explored in line with Boon Wurrung teachings. The story also encourages the reader to reflect on their own responsibilities towards building respectful relationships.


  • The Nature program has been renamed Ngarnga Biik, meaning Country Learning in the local Boon Wurrung language, under the guidance of a local Elder. As part of the modified program, the three year old group increased their attendance at Ngarnga Biik to 2.5 hours each week. Additional support, including the employment of an extra educator and a comprehensive orientation program, ensured a smooth transition for children and families to the program. This adjustment has ensured that all children can explore the beach and bush Ngarnga Biik, which the service states abound with rich stories and learning experiences, further enriching each child’s educational journey.


  • The service has continued with its annual Bundjil Nest Conferences for external education and care, primary and secondary school educators, teachers and professionals. Additionally, the service has seen significant growth of the Womindjeka Djeka Balnarring Ngargee. The family festival continues to honour and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, perspectives, knowledge and people. During the latest festival, an in-depth report was compiled by an external disability service to assess the festival’s accessibility and inclusion for all community members.


As a leader in the sector, Balnarring Preschool shares its practice and learnings through onsite professional conversations, mentoring, presentations, resource sharing and development. All this ensures their positive impact reaches far beyond the children and families that access their service.


Services that receive ‘Exceeding National Quality Standard’ in all seven quality areas can apply to ACECQA for the Excellent rating. From 1 July 2023, the Excellent rating is awarded for five years. After this time services have the option to re-apply.


Learn more about the Excellent rating here. 

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