Old MacDonald’s Child Care (OMCC) is privately owned and operated by Mark Sharp in a unique semi-rural natural setting in Orchard Hills. Our service culture is unique. Within our OMCC community, we have the privilege of embedding the farm life of caring for the animals, growing and eating what the land has to offer and caring for the environment through sustainable practices. These practices complement our healthy and nutritionally balanced meals that are prepared daily by using high quality, locally sourced fresh ingredients.
While in our care at OMCC the children’s health, safety and wellbeing are paramount. It is best practice to maintain, promote and implement high-quality standards of hygiene, infection control, monitoring risks, cleanliness, healthy eating, food safety and safety practices. All incidents, emergencies, illness and injuries will be recorded and communicated to families in a timely manner.
Secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships are established through consistent interactions between educators and children. Educators consider each child as a unique individual with feelings, opinions and values. Through positive interactions and a variety of settings, educators acknowledge that children have rights and view each child as capable and able as they establish a solid base for exploration and learning. When children develop secure relationships, are protected from the elements, feel safe and supported by educators in a nurturing environment they feel more confident and are able to learn.
Educators are sensitive, attentive, responsive, nurturing and affectionate to children’s needs. Warm emotional relationships provide children with a sense of security and belonging. Warmth and affection in secure early attachment relationships with familiar adults influence children’s ability to regulate their emotions and support future wellbeing by developing a positive self-identity and self-esteem.
Children interact with and develop a secure relationship with people outside the home. When connections form with the broader community children are increasingly able to recognise and respond to the feelings of others and behave in socially acceptable ways. Children also become aware, respect and recognise that others have different feelings and ideas to their own. Educators have a clear understanding of acceptable behaviours. When mistakes are treated as learning opportunities, children are motivated to persevere and explore new opportunities. Classroom expectations are developed in conjunction with children to set guidelines and establish limits while developing problem-solving and conflict resolution skills.
Through daily interactions, children learn how feelings and emotions are labelled, interpreted, expressed, understood, managed and regulated. Children are given encouragement and support to talk about feelings and why they and others might feel and act the way they do. Role modelling encourages children to interact, develop relationships and take on a variety of roles within their environment. Educators promote and extend children’s independence and development through collaboration, teamwork, positive guidance and encouragement.
Partnerships between families, children, educators, supportive professionals and the broader community achieve high quality, positive outcomes that enhance children’s well-being, experiences and learning. Partnership with a sense of belonging for families is achieved when welcomed, valued and listened to with appropriate two-way communication. Being welcomed is; a quick smile, friendly conversation or the exchange of information with staff and educators. By participating in the service, a shared decision making process occurs between educators and families and fosters a sense of joint responsibility and accountability, which benefits the children, families and the service. A professional partnership with families will be maintained for the duration of a families enrolment by educators not linking or accepting connections with families on any platform of social media.
Families are the most influential teachers in a child’s life and development journey. Positive relationships with family and OMCC develop a sense of trust, personal identity, autonomy and independence for children.
Valuing, trusting and sharing each other’s information, concerns, opinions and knowledge of the child commences with our enrolment and orientation process. During orientation communicated expectations and attitudes from all parties are discussed, and families are informed about the service and how they can participate and receive information through formal and informal methods. Families are encouraged to provide feedback through direct communications, surveys, policy reviews and maintaining personal information. Our customer’s feedback is used to reflect on and improve our service delivery. Family information will be handled with confidentiality. At times during the partnership, sensitive issues need to be discussed and will involve giving and receiving critical messages. Ideas should be communicated freely and respectfully in ways that are easily understood, relevant, meaningful and open to each other’s perspectives and ideas. Open communication is critical for maintaining a trusting relationship with continued shared decision making approaches.
Productive partnerships within OMCC are achieved by management and educators working collaboratively as a team and have regular opportunities to meet together to share curriculum goals, appreciate each other’s views, opinions, skills and knowledge.
Partnerships with the local community such as community elders, support workers and other allied organisations are essential to optimise children’s learning and development and to respect and support individual families and children.
Child protection is a shared responsibility within our OMCC community. Educators as mandatory reporters are committed to attending child protection training to be advocates for all children in our service.
High expectation and equity recognise and value different types of knowledge, skills and ways things can be done regardless of circumstances or abilities. When achieved through partnership with families all children are more likely to reach their learning potential.
Providing individualised, modified or additional support to children who are vulnerable or experiencing difficulty is vital for inclusion. Children are intelligent, capable and able to progress to achieve their potential when encouraged to think, explore, problem solve, and help make connections with what they already know and can do.
Children are unique in their way and rate of learning, developing and exploring. A child’s sense of agency is fostered through their right to express ideas and opinions and share in the decision-making process throughout the day while exploring a safe and secure environment.
Everyday routines and activities are flexible and are used to meaningfully engage children to participate, develop and learn culturally and contextually important behaviours and ways of interacting with people and everyday situations. Educators will assist in developing independence while assisting with meals, dressing, toileting and nappy changes while allowing adequate time for relaxation, meals and rest.
OMCC has a high expectation of effective supervision and interactions of children from our educators to reduce potential harm and manage the risks.
OMCC Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) reflects our commitment to continuous improvement through reviewing our practices for service delivery, curriculum, policy and procedures in partnership with families, educators, staff and management.
Respect for diversity underpins curriculum and pedagogy decisions. Australia is a culturally diverse country with a wide range of beliefs, values, traditions, rules and group cultures, which influence belonging, being and becoming.
We are all born belonging to a culture, which is not only influenced, by traditional practices, heritage and ancestral knowledge, but also experiences, values and beliefs of individual families and communities. We wish to bestow pride in all children for our country Australia; by singing Australia’s National Anthem ‘Advance Australian Fair’ and engaging and exploring learning experiences on Australian. Children have the right to have their culture, identity, strengths, and capabilities acknowledged and valued to develop their own unique individual cultural identity.
Children learn to interact with and relate positively to people from diverse backgrounds as well as children and families from other countries. Importantly, this includes appreciating and promoting a greater understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, values, traditions, histories and experiences.
Responding to diversity impacts a child’s attitudes and their ability to recognise and respond to unfair and unjust behaviours, as children are aware of differences in people and social attitudes from a very early age. Children learn about fair and just treatment, positive valuing of difference, and respect by observing people they encounter, the spoken and unspoken language of adults and other children.
Educators hold different and various theoretical perspectives and beliefs on children’s learning and development, professional qualifications, backgrounds, experiences and characteristics. Through these skills, educators acknowledge and encourage a positive attitude to difference, foster tolerance, reduce prejudice and develop cultural competence.
Communication between families and educators acknowledges and respects the diversity of knowledge, values, beliefs, aspirations and child-rearing practices and the reasons for them, and use these to inform a strong working partnership, curriculum decisions and pedagogy. Our curriculum values and connects with practice, beliefs of children’s culture and communities, when there is continuity between home and OMCC; it motivates children to learn.
Ongoing learning and reflective practice involves engaging with questions of philosophy, emerging theories, ethics and practice in a respectful atmosphere to gather information and gain insights that support, inform and enrich decision-making about children’s learning.
OMCC’s educational curriculum reflects the Belonging, Being and Becoming- The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) through play. Play-based learning involves children exploring literacy, numeracy, science, art and technology individually or in partnerships with children to revisit and build on past experiences while making choices and being co-constructors in their learning. Learning incorporates children progressing to transition to their formal schooling within the local community.
Children are knowledgeable, intelligent and competent learners and partners in the learning when educators listen to their conversations, observe their actions to find out what they know and are interested in, have sustained conversations that value their ideas and opinions, and use the information to make meaningful curriculum decisions.
OMCC curriculum reflects an ongoing planning cycle that is documented and incorporates observing, assessing, interpreting/ analysing, planning and reflecting. Information obtained is used by educators to reflect on their own values, beliefs and teaching practices and to communicate about children’s learning with families on how their child is participating in the educational program. Our cycle is completed in partnership with educators, children and families while reflecting the 5 learning outcomes, developmental areas, interests, experiences to plan for each child’s individuality to ensure learning experiences are meaningful.
Pedagogy, practice, observation and assessment are adapted to facilitate children to build on previous and current experiences as well as what they are familiar with, to maintain high expectations and enable children to progress and experience success.
Educators work in partnership with colleagues, children, families and other professionals to share decision-making, engage in conversation and critical reflection about different theoretical and philosophical approaches to the pedagogy they adapt.