Preparing for a successful year ahead

The start of the year is an exciting time to welcome families to your service and plan ahead so you can best support children’s learning and wellbeing.

A male guardian in corporate attire sits with a female educator, who wears a yellow sweater, in an outdoor reading area. Both adults are laughing. A young child sits on the mans lap and holds a toy tool. A bookshelf filled with colourful childrens books, floor cushions and a colourful tree artwork and visible in the background. A male guardian in corporate attire sits with a female educator, who wears a yellow sweater, in an outdoor reading area. Both adults are laughing. A young child sits on the mans lap and holds a toy tool. A bookshelf filled with colourful childrens books, floor cushions and a colourful tree artwork and visible in the background.
Image: Reviewing your service’s enrolment and immunisation records is an important part of new year planning to ensure they’re up to date and contain all required details and documentation, including authorisations and medical management plans.

From reviewing policies and procedures to coordinating professional development opportunities for educators, these tips will help you navigate annual planning and ensure you’re prepared for the months to come.

1. Engage in self-assessment and improvement planning

Reviewing your service self-assessment and quality improvement plan (QIP) early in the year is a good starting point for reflecting on recent achievements and reviewing your service philosophy and practices, with the intention of setting new goals.

Under the Education and Care Services National Regulations, approved providers must develop a QIP that includes an assessment of their service philosophy, practices against the regulations and National Quality Standard (NQS), and identified areas for improvement (regulation 55). 

The recently launched Self-Assessment and Quality Improvement Planning Portal and the NSW Self-Assessment Working Document (PDF 1.7 MB) have been designed to meet the requirements of regulation 55. Services can choose a format for recording their QIP that works best for them.

2. Create a regular policy and procedure review schedule

Consider developing a monthly audit timetable for reviewing and updating policies, procedures and risk management actions to ensure they are current, effective and fit for purpose. This includes records relating to safe sleep and rest, transportation and emergency planning and management.

Consider incorporating a team review, such as at staff meetings. Encourage your educators to reflect on learnings from the previous year and suggest improvements to better manage and mitigate potential risks of harm to children. Also consider new regulatory requirements, updates to the Approved learning frameworks, and any changes or circumstances that may impact children’s health, safety and wellbeing.

Remember to schedule your emergency and evacuation rehearsals, which must be conducted at least every 3 months. Ensure your emergency and evacuation procedures and floor plan are displayed together, at a prominent position near each service exit.

3. Check enrolment and immunisation records

Review existing enrolment records to ensure they capture all required information and are current (regulation 160-162). This may include, for example, ensuring family contact details are correct, authorisations have been completed and that medical management plans are up to date.

Your review should include an initial audit of children’s immunisation records, which supports compliance with regulation 162(h). This will allow your service to track each child’s immunisation status and support families who may need a gentle reminder of when updated immunisation documentation is required to be provided. 

Read our article Compliance spotlight: effective record keeping for a refresher on your obligations under the National Law and Regulations.

4. Review staff records

Ensuring that your educators’ records are up to date is an important part of your new year planning. For example, check that educators actively working toward a qualification have provided evidence of satisfactory progress. Each staff record should also contain a valid Working with Children Check.

Complete an audit of relevant mandatory training, including CPR, first aid, asthma and anaphylaxis management, and child protection. Book courses for educators well in advance of their credentials expiring or for staff who require a refresher.

5. Seek input on your service calendar

Begin the year with a fresh outlook on your service calendar. Encourage your team to reflect on the frequency, location and delivery type of staff meetings and offer suggestions on how they could be more effective and productive.

Once any adjustments have been made, schedule and record the meeting details for the year ahead in your service calendar, diary or display them in a shared space. This allows staff to plan their personal and professional calendars with these dates in mind.

6. Identify development opportunities for staff

Allocate time to researching what professional development opportunities are available for early childhood education and care professionals in the year ahead. You might also consider conducting a skills and interests audit to identify who in your team would benefit from further learning or would like the opportunity to upskill.

Advance planning will also enable service leaders to plan for staff absences and educators to complete any required pre-work.

Free professional development opportunities and resources are offered by a number of NSW government agencies and national authorities, including ACECQA, Office of the Children’s Guardian, Kids and Traffic and Red Nose.

  • Explore ACECQA’s Supporting materials page, which features eLearning modules, videos, educational games and information sheets for educators and service leaders.
  • Invite staff who’ve recently completed professional learning to share their newfound knowledge, insights and reflections with the team.

7. Browse resources and training offered by the department

An array of support materials, training and guidance are available on the department’s website, including on our Safety and Quality Practice Program and ECE resource library pages. These resources are designed to drive quality improvement in services across NSW, and support educators to continue to develop and enhance their practice.

Our online and on the road ECE Connect sessions will also return this year. Stay tuned to our Facebook page and read our newsletters for updates on the ECE Connect series and other resources being released in the months ahead.

Browse our Professional learning catalogue to find out what opportunities and support is available.

  • News
Return to top of page Back to top