Frequently Asked Questions
Choosing the best childcare for you and your family can be a little confusing and daunting. Our FAQ section aims to provide answers to questions that are frequently asked that you should know the answers to.
How are Schools of Early Learning (SOEL) different from other child care centres?
Our children are at the absolute centre of everything that happens within our spaces and are active participants in their own learning at every age level. They assist in re-setting their environment after using it and truly contribute to the direction of the programme and the activities that they will undertake. They have a real voice in the rules and limits (Agreements) made about how they use a space, and every investigation and interaction has direct links to the children’s interests, crafted to extend their learning, sense of wonder and Agency within their environment.
Our philosophy and practice are based on the premise that all children are capable and competent individuals who have the right to have ownership of their environments and the investigations and learning that happens within them. To enable this, children are assisted to acquire and practise the skills necessary to be proactive and productive community participants. Using an inquiry based approach, the educators research in collaboration with the children and value and extend their emerging ideas and interests.
How do I enrol?
Complete the form here to register your interest in enrolling in one of our services, or just call our friendly enrolments team today between 9:30am and 5:30pm on 6314 1199. There is no cost or obligation attached to this registration.
Why can't my child start tomorrow?
SOEL insists on a settling process which consists of three or more scheduled ‘visits’, usually lasting 30 minutes, before the first official day of care. Like everything else we do, this is in the best interests of your child, and supports you, your child and the educators to get to know each other’s rhythms and cues. It is also a time for everyone to exchange information and ask questions, and for you to see what happens on a day to day basis in your child’s room.
What are the routines in the rooms?
All of our routines are child focused and their needs are the sign-posts that dictate the day. Our Babies eat, sleep and play as their rhythms suggest, with ample time to explore, discover and learn.
All of our children participate in inquiry based learning through our Small Group Policy, where intimate groups interact with educators and each other. This philosophy is extended to routines like lunch time or rest/sleep, where children take a major portion of the responsibility for their wellbeing by accessing their own placemat, bowl, utensils or bedding, and self-serving food. This also gives them opportunities to help each other with tasks, mentor younger children, participate in various child/educator groupings, and build on their developing sense of Agency, being able to have a real impact on their world.
What food does the centre provide?
Our food is sourced locally and where possible we use organic produce. Our chefs prepare meals daily, which includes snacks and a two-course lunch, with a variety of cultures represented in our menus. All special dietary requirements are catered for.
We believe that eating together in small groups provides opportunities for meaningful conversations, with educators and children taking on equal roles. Our designated dining rooms promote a culture that values slowing down and encourages children to appreciate and enjoy beautiful, nutritious food, that also supports good health and wellbeing.
What qualifications do your staff have? Are they trained?
All of our staff have post-secondary-school education, with a minimum Certificate 3 Childcare qualification, through to Diploma and Advanced Diploma Childcare qualifications. In addition, our culturally diverse staffing pool draws on the skills of employees with Certificate 4, Degree, Masters and Doctorate level qualifications in Childcare, Teaching, Training, Facilitation, HR and Management. In addition, all of our Atelieristas (Studio Educators) are Fine Art Degree trained, giving them a deep insight into the world of the visual arts, so they can facilitate children’s and other educator’s learning through a wide variety of artistic techniques and mediums.
SOEL also provides monthly in-house training across a number of topics for our staff outside of hours, where we provide a meal for them and pay them for their time (being paid for outside of hours work is a fairly rare practice in the sector). We see this ongoing professional development as a direct investment in the quality and pedagogy of our staff, which translates to better care and education outcomes for the children.
How does SOEL communicate with Families?
We communicate with parents in many, many ways at SOEL! Please help us to make each of these forms of communication as helpful as possible for you and for us.
Making it useful for educators: Conversations in the settling period are essential so that we can learn as much as possible about your child and your family.
Making it useful for families: While we have a checklist of things we need to speak to you about, you are welcome to ask questions of us and to find out about SOEL, our centre and our team.
Making it useful for educators: A smile and a greeting go a long way and we know that! We will try to smile at and greet you and we love it when you smile at and greet us!
Making it useful for families: We are a multicultural workforce and community. We know it is not customary for all cultures to smile at or greet each other. Help us to know how best to communicate non-verbally with you.
Conversations in the morning
Making it useful for educators: A quick chat in the morning helps us to hear how the child has slept, what they have eaten for breakfast and how their morning has been. This helps us to plan their routine for the day and identify any extra support they might need.
Making it useful for families: We want you to be confident that we care about your child. In settling periods, we know that both your child and you need support and reassurance. Our policy is that Lead Educators and very experienced Assistant Educators speak to families about children’s development. If an Assistant Educator seems reluctant to speak with you, this is because of our policy! Please find a Lead Educator or Manager if you have deeper questions!
Making it useful for educators: These books help us to know what is happening for you and for the child. Information about their night and morning helps us manage the routines of the day and adjust meal and sleep times to meet your child’s needs.
Making it useful for families: We endeavour to write a few lines about each child’s day and that helps us to reflect on what the child has done and pass information to you – especially if you are arriving after the Lead Educator/s finish their day. We try to highlight the learning your child has engaged in so that you have a conversation starter and can find out more about what your child has done during the day.
Making it useful for educators: These quick, live messages aim to support you and your child to be part of SOEL.
Making it useful for families: During settling periods, we will send you a text message and/or a photo to show you that your child has settled into the room.
Making it useful for educators: Photos are one of the tools we use for observations of the children, their learning and the development of investigations.
Making it useful for families: Photos of your child are taken throughout the day, especially when they are a ‘focus child’. These images are available as soon as they are loaded onto the parent portal. They can be shared with your family and are a wonderful way for you to connect with your child, reflect on their day and see their learning. They are treasures for your family memories.
Annotated work samples
Making it useful for educators: Sometimes the children want to take something they have created home to show families. When we can, we place a sticker on the back of the sample explaining a little about the process of its creation. For kindy and pre-kindy children, work samples are collected in a portfolio.
Making it useful for families: Samples of the children’s work will showcase the children’s thinking and learning, as well as show you something of what they children are doing. Don’t be alarmed if there are not very many of these! Our focus at SOEL is on the process of the learning and the development of thinking and skills, not on pieces of paper! Collecting these in a portfolio at home will help you see the progression of the children’s skills and thinking over time.
Making it useful for educators: Photo journals help us to communicate with families and provide another way for children to reflect on their day and to build on their experiences. They show the process of the learning and capture the persistence, concentration, curiosity, confidence, involvement, commitment and cooperation of the children.
Making it useful for families: Sequences of photos depict some of the learning of the day. You may see areas of the educators own passions as well as the progress the children are making.
Conversations in the evening
Making it useful for educators: A quick chat in the evening helps us to pass on messages and tell you about your child’s day. It can be quite busy at times, so it helps us if you have a look at the Communication Book (if you have one), at the photo journal and around the room. Your child can tell you about their day more easily with the prompts of the photo journal and room!
Making it useful for families: Conversations with educators help you to feel connected to your child, the experiences of their day and SOEL. We are happy to answer questions about your child. If we don’t have the answers, we can find someone to help or refer you to an outside agency.
Making it useful for educators: Towards the end of the week, educators meet with some of the children to reflect on the week and the children’s learning. These reflections help us to evaluate our programme and environment and to plan for the following week.
Making it useful for families: Highlights of the week will help you see that the programme is being implemented. You will be able to see our plans in the programme on display in the room and then have an insight into the learning through the weekly reflections.
Making it useful for educators: Photos, quotes from the children and work samples are displayed near the places where children are investigating ideas and developing skills. They help us to see the progress of the investigation, which supports our programming. We can revisit the photos and recall the learning both with our team and with the children.
Making it useful for families: Walking through the centre with your child, you will be able to see the interests and strengths of the children, including your child. You can be sure that your child is engaged and learning when your child is prompted by a visible display to tell you about their work and play.
Making it useful for educators: Photos, quotes and work samples are collated in a portfolio for kindy children. We and the children love to look over them because it helps us to see the learning and growth of the children, see their developmental levels and celebrate the results and progress of the children’s hard work.
Making it useful for families: Portfolios track the learning, creativity, growth and development of the child. During the year, you are always welcome to look at the portfolio. Reviewing their learning can support you in completing a Child Profile and helping us to set goals for the following three months. Each Child Profile is a snapshot in time, so comparing these over the year showcases the children’s development.
Dialogues of Learning
Making it useful for educators: Three and Four Year Old Kindy Families will be offered an opportunity to have a conversation with the Teacher/Lead Educator in order to review the children’s learning and development in June and July. These dialogues give us an opportunity to discuss the children’s growth and development and hear any concerns you might have.
Making it useful for families: Dialogues of Learning are at a deeper level when you already know what your child is doing at the centre, so taking some time to talk with them and seeing the investigations in the room will help you to frame the questions you have.
End of year concerts
Making it useful for educators: The three and four year old children will also prepare a summary of their learning in the form of a short play and peppered with songs they have learned through the year. This is presented at a concert which is held in the middle of December. Families are invited to join us for a meal afterwards. The event is professionally videotaped and it helps the educators and the children if you enjoy the concert rather than focusing on filming it.
Making it useful for families: Please invite grandparents and parents. The children love that you are interested in their learning. Performing in front of hundreds of people can, however, be daunting. The children practice being a performer and it helps them if you practice being a member of an audience.
We sure do! You can find it here.