Welcome to the Family!

The management and staff of Pelicans Early Education Centres welcome you to the family. We trust that the time your child spends at our centre will be a happy and fulfilling experience. We look forward to partnering with you, in creating the very best opportunities, fun-filled moments and precious memories that will remain with your children for life.

Our centre provides:

  • Educational long day care
  • Before and After School Care (school age—12 years)
  • Vacation Care (school age—12 years)
  • Air Conditioning
  • Courtesy bus service – pick up/drop off to home/work and school*
  • Nutritious meals for breakfast, morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea*
  • Nappy service*
  • Development and extra-curricular programs including yoga and fitness
  • An extensive Active-Prep program, including ongoing projects, cooking, science, language, literacy and mathematical concepts.
  • Computer based learning
  • Extensive list of extra-curricular programs and classes such as language, swimming lessons, fitness and yoga, dance classes and gardening and sustainability (classes vary per centre)

*Please note—services differ for each centre.

We are open Monday to Friday, 52 weeks a year (apart from gazetted public holidays). Hours vary between 6:00am and 6.30pm for your convenience. Please note the hours at your centre may be different.

Our staff are always available to discuss any questions or respond to any concerns you may have during the orientation process and beyond.

Please take the time to read through this handbook as it will give you an insight into the philosophy, goals and routines within our centre. It will also explain our policies to aid in the smooth transition into the centre.

We aim to develop in each child the ability to:

  • Feel confident
  • Be independent
  • Use his or her body skills
  • Communicate well with others
  • Learn to co-operate as part of a group, to share and take turns
  • Express oneself through speech, movement, music and art
  • Observe, explore, question, reason and problem solve
  • Share ideas and opinions
  • Be eager for new experiences

Settling in

Our first priority is that your child enjoys a seamless transition from home-life into our centre. In order to achieve this, we tailor our “settling in program” according to your child’s individual needs so that we may provide them with a consistent routine and high level of care.

Our educators play an active role in this process, by gathering information from you ahead of time so that we are fully prepared to meet any special requirements or expectations that you and your child may have.

Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by a primary educator, who will assist in settling your child. They will also help alleviate any feelings of uncertainty or anxiety that may arise.

In addition, we have developed a BUDDY SYSTEM, whereby new children are paired with a child who shares similar interests or traits. This is a great way to develop friendships and to help each new child feel instantly connected with their peer group.

We understand that the initial separation period can be equally unsettling for parents, and so we encourage you to spend time with your child so that you both feel relaxed and comfortable within our centre. You are more then welcome to phone us during the day to check on your child’s progress, and we will contact you directly if any issues arise.

Our philosophy

At Pelicans Early Learning Centres, our guiding principal is that all children deserve to be happy, healthy and confident. As such, we are committed to providing a premium service that encompasses high quality care, a progressive early education programme, plus specifically tailored extra-curricular activities aimed at developing the natural talents, skills and passion within every child.

Our goals

Our goal for every Pelicans child is that they are:

  • Cared for in a happy and healthy environment, by highly qualified staff, who recognise their unique talents and requirements.
  • Enabled to learn at their own pace and style, thanks to educators who successfully integrate individual needs into the daily program.
  • Supported through gentle and reassuring daily routines that remain flexible enough to accommodate differing needs and growing levels of independence.
  • Safe within a nurturing, home-like environment that supports their developing self-confidence and innate desire to discover and explore.

Our goals for our families:

  • To provide comprehensive support to families through the provision of high quality care, resources and education.
  • To involve parents in decision making about centre policy development, staffing, and general centre management to as great a degree as possible.
  • To provide services to families with different economic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds, preventing segregation on the basis of any of these factors, and always respecting the individual rights of all families.
  • To support regulations governing children’s services.

Our goals for our staff:

  • To promote ongoing training and professional enrichment to all staff with opportunities for career advancement wherever possible.
  • To provide secure, supported employment through sound industrial rights, conditions and personal practices.

Our goals for our community

  • To welcome representatives from local interest groups, sporting teams and essential services into our centre so that our children can actively develop a sense of connection, understanding and belonging to their wider community.
  • To be recognised within our local community as a centre of excellence in childcare and early education, supporting the needs of families and working parents in our area.
  • To liaise with Federal, State and Local Government regarding funding, licensing, guidelines and the responsibilities of Child Care providers.

Our centre policies

Fees

All families are required to pay their fees one week in advance upon enrolment (this includes current week plus one) in order to maintain a consistent credit balance.

It is recommended that fees be paid via Direct Debit or Centrepay for both ease and convenience. Your Centre Manager will be happy to explain the payment methods to you and help you activate you account upon enrolment.

Child Care Benefit

Child Care Benefit (CCB) is a payment made by the Commonwealth Government to help families with the cost of quality child care. A family’s eligibility is subject to an income test, which is administered by the Family Assistance Office (FAO).

It is the responsibility of the parent to register for Child Care Benefit . Information and forms can be accessed from the Family Assistance Office (through Centrelink) or families can call direct on 136 150.

With the introduction of the Governments Child Care Management System (CCMS), families will receive a CCB fee reduction only if they have registered with Centrelink, are eligible for CCB, have a formal enrolment at the centre and the centre has received confirmation from the Government pertaining to the percentage of CCB they are eligible for. If parents are not eligible for CCB, full fees must be paid.

Holiday notification

Holiday Application Forms can be obtained from the office. If you are planning holidays we highly recommend that you submit this form to your Centre Manager as soon as possible.

Pelicans Early Education Centres offer a discounted rate for holiday absences, with half-price fees available for four weeks throughout the year on a pro rata system subject to the number of attendance days booked per week – this includes public holidays taken as approved holiday discount.

A minimum of two weeks notice must be received in order to comply with the terms of this discount, plus your family’s account is required to be one week in credit.

Public holidays

If your child’s pre-booked day falls on a public holiday, the full fees still apply and must be paid in order to retain your booking.

Withdrawal from the centre

Two weeks’ notice is required if you wish to cancel your child’s regular booking. Failure to provide the Centre Manager with this two weeks notice will result in an additional charge of two full weeks fees to your final account. All accounts must be finalised by your child’s last day at the centre, as any outstanding accounts will be forwarded to debt collection agencies.

Signing a child into and out of the centre

Each child must be signed in and out of the centre every day they attend. This is a legal requirement that we must follow. These records are used in case of emergencies and for the calculation of the Child Care Benefit (CCB). If a child is away, ill or on holidays the corresponding days must be signed by parents/guardians.

Failure to sign for any booked day/absence will result in an administration fee charged of $5.00 per week where there is missing signatures.

On Arrival at the centre you are asked to do the following:

> Document the time, sign and print your name

> Present your child to the Educator in charge

Before you leave the centre you are asked to do the following:

  • Come into the room and greet your child
  • Collect child’s belongings
  • With your child, say goodbye to the Educator in charge of the group
  • Document the time, sign and print your name

Collection of children

No child will be released into the care of any persons not known to team members. If team members do not know the person by appearance, the person must be able to produce some form of photo identification to prove that they are the person authorised to collect the child on the enrolment form.

In the event that a child has not been collected 15 minutes after closing time then the parents/guardians will be contacted on the emergency telephone numbers. If the child has still not been collected 30 minutes after closing time then staff will follow the Department of Communities Abandoned Child Procedures including contact the Child Protection and Crisis Centre 24 hour service.

Additional fees will be charged for a child that remains in the centre after the centre closing time.

Absences

Parents are requested to phone the centre if their child is unable to attend their session for any reason. Notice is also required in the incidence of infectious or contagious diseases in the family. Families receiving Child Care Benefit are allocated 42 absent days for each child per financial year. These absences can be taken for any reason and also include

Public Holidays. Once the child has reached 42 absent days, CCB is not paid for any further absences, unless the absences are taken for an additional absence reason such as:

  • Illness (with a medical certificate)
  • Non-immunisation
  • Parent with rostered day off (Statutory Declaration signed by a J.P required)
  • Parent with rotating shift (Statutory Declaration signed by a J.P required)
  • Temporary closure of a school or pupil free days
  • Periods of local emergency
  • Court ordered shared custody
  • Attendance at pre-school

There is no limit on the number of additional absence days a child’s family may claim providing they are taken for the above reasons and have documentation/evidence. In the event of prolonged illness, half fees may be charged once a medical certificate has been obtained.

Our commitment to your child's health

Accidents and incidents

Our educators organise both the indoor and outdoor environment to promote safety and allow for maximum supervision, in order to prevent any accidents to children and staff.

In the case of an accident involving your child whilst at the centre, staff will immediately administer First Aid. If the injury requires further medical treatment, you will be contacted and a plan of action organised.

If a parent or emergency contact cannot be reached, the Centre Manager/person in charge will act on behalf of the parent and proceed with whatever medical treatment is required. An Educator known to the child will accompany the child to the Doctor/Hospital and stay with them until the parent arrives. Documentation of the accident will be made on an Incident Report Form.

Health

To minimise the spread of infection in our centres, children suffering from certain infections are excluded from attending child care depending on the infection.

The exclusion periods are displayed in the parent information area. If a child in care has a suspected infectious condition the parents will be contacted and asked to collect the child as soon as possible. Parents are encouraged to seek medical advice and contact the centre to inform them of the outcome.

Children with a suspected infectious condition must produce a medical certificate before the child returns to care. The centre will inform all families of any infectious outbreaks and post signs which include symptoms and exclusion time from the centre.

The Authorised Director will not accept a child into care if they are not well enough to participate in normal activities, or require special attention because of ill health.

In the case where a child has a high fever, staff are only able to administer Children’s Panadol where the parent’s permission has been obtained on the enrolment form. Parents will be informed of this and documentation will be kept on file.

Immunisation

Immunisation is not compulsory, however, it is important that parents and team members encourage immunisation. Parents must supply up to date immunisation records to the centre. Any child who has not been fully immunised may be excluded from care in the event of a breakout of a vaccine preventable disease for the duration of the outbreak. They may also not be eligible for Child Care Benefit.

Medication

If your child requires medication whilst at care, a medication form must be filled in by a parent. The medication must be accompanied by a prescription label or doctors letter which states who the medication is for and the dosage. Medication must be handed to a staff member and will be stored in a locked cupboard. Under no circumstances is any type of medication to be left in children’s bags.

We are partners

At Pelicans Early Learning Centres, we value the great benefit to children when parents and educators work together as a collaborative team. Our ‘open-door policy’ greatly facilitates this important partnership, as does our full calendar of family events, including; Christmas parties, family barbeques, graduation ceremonies, sports days and cultural excursions.

So how can educators and parents work in partnership?

There are many things parents can do at home. Encouraging a positive attitude towards learning is one of the biggest favours a parent can do for their children.

Educators appreciate it when parents:

  • Help their children understand that learning is important
  • Set reasonable expectations for learning, by taking into account their child’s ability
  • Show an interest in what their child is learning and what is happening at the centre. Remember that at this age, playing is learning too!
  • Reading the memos and information sheets that are sent home with their child
  • Take note of important dates on the calendar
  • It is important that educators and parents get to know each other to develop trust and respect. Children succeed when there is an open exchange of information that links the home with the centre.
  • Exchange ideas about the child’s special talents and hobbies. We can then focus the child’s learning through interests, strengths and weaknesses.
  • Inform the teacher if the child has a medical condition that may affect the child at school - asthma, allergies, or diabetes, for example. Educators are not medical practitioners, and parents should discuss arrangements they have made for emergency situations.
  • Talk with the child’s teacher about what is being taught.
  • Discuss things like expectations and discipline. Explore ways that the parent and teacher can help the child meet those standards and needs.
  • Let the teacher know about situations which might affect the child’s interest in the centre. A seriously ill grandparent, the arrival of a baby, or changes in a work situation can be upsetting to a child. Educators are better able to provide learning experiences for children if parents let educators know what is happening.

Parent-educator communication

Information regarding your child’s day will be documented daily for you to view. This includes details of sleeping habits, toilet practices, child’s response to the day and any health and safety issues that may have arisen.Our staff will also speak with you informally upon collection of the child or through phone calls if any issues arise during the day.Throughout the year we also offer parent/teacher interviews as a more formal time for a parent and a teacher to talk. They are often held shortly after report cards are sent home so that achievements and concerns can be discussed. Just like every child is different, so will each parent/teacher interview. This will reflect that individuality. However, the following matters are often discussed:

  • All areas of development for the child - samples of work may be shown.
  • The parent’s and teacher’s expectations for the child.

Your child’s “Learning Journey”

Evaluating your child’s progress

Our highly qualified educators are constantly assessing the development of each child, by monitoring their level of engagement in various activities, as well as discovering their particular areas of knowledge and interest.

This ongoing assessment enables us to provide your child with appropriate activities and experiences so that they may continue to develop and expand their knowledge and skills within a positive and fully supported learning environment.

Your child’s “Learning Journey” will serve as a comprehensive portfolio that clearly illustrates their experiences and progress throughout the year. Our Educators personally compile each child’s Learning Journey by including photos and anecdotes along with actual examples of your child’s art and activities.

What do we do if a problem arises?

Children at times run into a roadblock or two. This is where communication is vital to solving these problems. When a parent has a concern, the first person to talk to is always the teacher. This is a matter of protocol and a company policy called “The Grievance Policy”, as well as courtesy. In almost all cases parents and educators can find a solution together.

If, for some reason, parents and educators are not able to resolve the problem, it may be helpful to have a joint meeting with the Centre Manager and maybe even the Operations Manager. However such action is not always necessary, especially if parents and educators are committed to working together.

When good things happen?

Tell us! Compliments reinforce the good things that are happening in the child’s life, either at home or, at the centre. Keeping in touch and working together is the best way to ensure a high quality education for our children, and to help ensure their success not only in the centre and the early years, but also in life.

Clothing

Dress your child in play clothes that wash easily, so that your child may enjoy all the activities. In choosing what your child should wear to the centre, please consider the following:

  • Your child will be working with messy materials such as paint, glue, water and sand so must be able to stand a little wear and tear.
  • Clothing must provide some protection and be comfortable for both indoor and out door experiences.
  • They will be climbing, running, jumping and swinging so they will need clothes that neither restrict their activity nor reduce their safety (e.g. Slippery shoes, long skirts)
  • Will need clothes which allow them for growing independence i.e. pants that can come off easily for toileting.
  • Please name all clothing and footwear.

Parent participation

We encourage parents to actively participate in the care of their children through involvement in decision making with regard to their child’s care and education.

Parents are welcome to spend time in the centre and share special occasions with their child. You can become involved by joining the parent committee, fundraising committee or helping out in the centres daily routine. Please speak with your child’s teacher for more information.

Parent grievances 

Our staff are here to ensure that your child is happy and healthy in their care. If there is a problem that arises that you feel you need to resolve with our staff, then please let us know.

Our grievance policy is displayed in the centre foyer, however if you do have a grievance, the first point of contact should be the Educator in charge of your child’s room. They will work with you to resolve the problem.

If you feel that further resolution is required, then please speak to the Centre Manager of the centre who will work with you and the Educator to resolve the problem.

If failing this and you are not satisfied with the outcome, please contact the Operations Manager for the centre. You can obtain these contact details from your centre.

All grievances will be taken seriously and our best effort will always be forth coming. All outcomes will be discussed with the parent who is concerned.

Behaviour management

Children are encouraged to develop social skills that will allow them to resolve conflicts and meet their needs without the use of aggressive or destructive behaviours. Children are encouraged to respect themselves and others. When team members guide a child’s behaviour they should aim to provide the child with clear guidelines as to why a particular behaviour is unacceptable. Children are to be given realistic limits to follow while they are in care.