Hello Everyone,

Welcome to Childcare Conversations for September 2014. After last month’s edition, I received many emails and calls. One reason was that I had overlooked that Western Australia has enacted its own version of the Early Education and Care National Regulations – the only state or territory to do so. The amended section on the National Regulations is below. Another reason for so many responses was my request for services to send in a photograph of their indoor dramatic play spaces. Thank you to those services who responded and agreed for me to reproduce them here. I also received a number of requests that I adjust the format of Childcare Conversations so that it can be printed to share with other educators in the service. Hope you like the new format.

September 2014

Correction – National Regulations

 In the previous edition of Childcare Conversations, I suggested educators check if they were using the latest version of the Education and Care Services National Regulations (National Regulations) dated 1 June 2014. I provided the web link to download a pdf version from http://www.slp.wa.gov.au/legislation/statutes.nsf/main_mrtitle_12929_subsidiary.html

I went on to explain that athough it has NSW on the cover, it is the National Regulations that apply to every Australian state and territory. However, I neglected to highlight that Western Australia has its own Western Australian Education and Care Services National Regulation and these can be downloaded from http://acecqa.gov.au/Article.aspx?pid=301&gcpid=2&acpid=372#sthash.2bawzyeJ.dpuf I apologise for this oversight, especially to the services in Western Australia.

Developmental Milestones and the NQS

 When the NQS and the learning frameworks – EYLF and MTOP – were introduced, many educators were unsure whether to continue to use developmental checklists. The ACECQA resource Developmental Milestones to the Early Years Learning Framework and the National Quality Standards is only 20 pages long, but is an informative and easy read. It clarifies the links between development and learning outcomes, and can be downloaded from https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/developmental-milestones.pdf


Working with Children Checks

In Queensland, Blue Card Services is auditing education and care providers between July 2014 to June 2015. If your service is selected to be audited, you will receive a letter and be asked to provide a copy of your child and youth risk management strategy and your blue card employee register.   http://www.vision6.com.au/em/message/email/view?a=684&id=1016573

While this audit applies to Queensland services only, services everywhere would do well to ensure their relevant paperwork and systems are in order, as it is my experience that the states and territories often follow each other in matters such as this one.


Children's Books

As educators, we are always searching for books to support us in with intentional teaching, particularly in areas such as the environment and sustainability. Michael Recycle is being used by many educators at the moment. This link has more books on these topics.


You might like to look at a series of four books by an emerging author, Cathy Bauman. Cathy imagines what life would be like as a drip of water, an egg, a strand of hair and a leaf. Her writing style is intriguing as she brings each of these to life. Children enjoy this type of imaginitive approach. The set or single books can be obtained directly from the author by emailing cathy.bauman@bigpond.com

Global Handwashing Day

Reminder, Global Handwashing is almost here. If you have not already taken a close look at the handwashing signs and practices in your service, you still have time. It could also be timely to share the importance of thorough handwashing with families, as part of the NQS requirements to develop collaborative partnerships.


Free Resources on Cultural Competence

While preparing a workshop on cultural competence, I found resources you may find useful. The first is a Multi-Cultural Environmental Checklist. It lists questions that are consistent with the NQS requirement for reflective practice.


The second was a factsheet on the 8 Aboriginal Ways of Learning – brief but interesting and informative. A perfect addition to the service’s educator and parent resource libraries.

The third resource is the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) videos on how educators can embed cultural competence in everyday practice within the early childhood sector. The link provided here is to a number of these videoshttp://acecqa.gov.au/national-quality-framework/nqf-video-resources#e1j

The video on Documenting children’s learning and development by Rhonda Livingstone http://acecqa.gov.au/national-quality-framework/nqf-video-resources#e1j is also worth watching in light of the following discussion.

Photo Courtesy of
Kids Cottage Early Years Learning Centre

Outdoor Play Space Makeovers

We all like the emphasis that is now on natural playgrounds. Of course, those of us who have been in early childhood for a few years have experienced directions from the regulatory authority to have  less natural spaces with risk-taking minimised.  Now many services are giving their fantastic plastic outdoor play spaces makeovers. The results can be amazing. If you would like to share some before-and-after photographs of your outdoor play spaces to inspire others, I’d love to receive them. One lucky contributor will receive an Investigating Creatures in the Garden poster set.  Just email me before-and-after photos to be in the running. 

We will also add a selection of photos to our online "Inspirations" Gallery. 
Click HERE to view this months "Inspiration Gallery".

Dramatic play

In the last edition, I included a brief article about unimaginative dramatic play areas, and invited you to email me photographs of your dramatic play area. I offered a free set of Values of Play posters to one lucky contributor. However, I simply could not separate the three front runners so I will send each a poster set.  You can also view the photos online HERE in our Inspirations Gallery.

Photos courtesy of Alexandra-Mooloolaba Community Kindergarten and Preschool, Shine Early Learning Centre and Trinity OSHC



Electronic Documentation

More educators are using electronic programming or a mixture of electronic and hard copy programming. Page 117 of the Guide to the National Law and Regulations states: 'Records may be kept in hard copy or electronic form, provided that they are accessible as required'   A word of caution, however. It will be up to the individual educator to convince the assessor that using an electronic program does not limit parents’ and children’s contributions.

QikKids Help

Occasionally, I come across services experiencing difficulty with their CCMS software or with submitting their claims. Sarah Edmiston from Custom Data Solutions supports services with every aspect of QikKids. She also identifies missing Government entitlements, and after that sets in place weekly checklists. You can contact Sarah on 0423 529 779 or email her at sarah@customdata.com.au   If you use another CCMS software and know someone who possesses expertise with that system, please let me know so that I can pass their details on to services who may need their help.


When I was teaching, I used something like these pencil/crayon/scissor holders in my classroom. I still use the one that sat on my desk. These come from https://www.facebook.com/pages/Down-to-Earth-Practical-Solutions-Pty-Ltd/302508123233980?fref=photo but, of course, you can make your own simply enough.

Dolls Clothes

Homecorner Handmade makes dolls clothes which are easy for children to dress and undress their dolls. The clothes are colourful, easy to wash and don’t have to be ironed. Email Karly Hounsell at homecornerhandmade@outlook.com

Gibbon Funline

The NQS details very specific requirements for physical activities. One of these, Element 3.2.2 states that assessors will observe ‘Children using a range of equipment and resources to engage in energetic experiences that help them to develop movement, coordination, balance, flexibility and strength.’ The areas of balance and flexibility can often be overlooked because they are not as easy to address.
The Gibbon Funline could help here. It is surprisingly affordable, easy to assemble and, if set up lower than 50cm from the ground, does not need softfall. Access http://gibbonslackline.org/kids-gibbon-funline/ to see a demonstration video.  

Healthy Banana Cookies


  • 3 ripe bananas

  •  2 cups rolled  oats

  •  1 cup dates, pitted and chopped

  •  1/3 cup vegetable oil

  •  1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Stir in oats, dates, oil, and vanilla. Mix well, and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly brown.  (Makes 3 dozen cookies)  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/healthy-banana-cookies/

Essential Green

I have previously raised my concerns about services’ management of cleaning products (i.e. maintaining a list of products used, colour-coded cloth charts being consistently followed, clearly labelled decanted bottles, and easy to retrieve MSD sheets clearly linked to the labels on the bottles).  
Two companies which tick all the boxes in these areas are Essential Shield http://www.essentialshield.com/green-cleaned-2/ and Complete Resources www.CompleteResources.com.au Both companies sell products that  are clearly colour coded, and have matching coloured cleaning cloths and labels.

Their MSD sheets are also easy to follow. Grant from Essential Shield can be contacted on 0411 750 250  or naturally@essentialshield.com Marisha from Complete Resources on 08 9467 1477 or marisha@completeresources.com.au   


If you have any ideas or photographs for the next edition of Childcare Conversations, I would love to hear from you. In addition, please feel free to contact me about my consultancy services and resources, or just to have a general chat about child care.

Visit www.childcarebydesign.com.au to see the many ways I can support you in your quality care journey.

Dr Brenda Abbey

Principal Consultant
Childcare by Design
M: 0419 661 921
E: info@childcarebydesign.com.au
W: www.childcarebydesign.com.au