Policies and procedures
Policies and procedures support the effective management and operation of early childhood services and support practice being embedded across the service.
Preschools are required to have policies and procedures in place (regulation 168). The department's policies, procedures and guidelines relate to both the school and the preschool. However, it is necessary for preschools to develop local procedures that support the practical implementation of these in their setting.
- support educators to understand their role and responsibilities
- ensure consistency of approach and embedded practice
- enhance effective management and teamwork
- guide high-quality practices
- promote collaboration and partnership with families.
Local procedures should:
- be underpinned by the Early Years Learning Framework and Early Childhood Australia Code of Ethics
- accurately detail current preschool operations and practices which address the associated
- quality standard/s
- department policy, procedure or guideline
- be written simply to be easily understandable by staff and families
- be informed by best practice from relevant, recognised authorities, for example, Cancer Council, KidSafe
- document updates and changes through version control.
Preschool teams should critically reflect on how each procedure supports:
- consistent practice by all staff
- meaningful engagement with families
- implementation of the National Quality Framework
Procedures should be reviewed annually following a schedule. The schedule should document who was involved in the review, and how staff members not present were made aware of any changes. The appendix to the Leading and operating department preschool guidelines contains template scaffolds and sample documents to support preschools in the review process, see this link to word versions.
Procedures may also require review in response to particular situations:
- to rectify a recurring problem
- an incident or injury
- to address a complaint
- a change in legislation
- as directed by an authorised officer from the regulatory authority (ECED).
Preschools may develop additional, non-mandatory procedures, for example:
- bus travel
- continuous improvement
- nappy changing
- nature play/bush school
- physical activity
- primary school children visiting the preschool
- programming and documentation
- screen time
Family input and access
It is recommended that where appropriate the children's families are consulted in the review of procedures. Strategies to do this include:
- Inviting families to meetings where procedures are reviewed
- Inviting opinions and ideas from families about the preschool's procedures through
- everyday conversations
- family information sessions
- an interactive parent board
- suggestions box
- emails or newsletters.
Regulations 171 and 172 note that procedures must be made available for inspection by families and the regulatory authority upon request and that families of enrolled children must be notified at least 14 days prior to making any significant change to a procedure.
Strategies preschools use to address these requirements include:
- storing a hardcopy set of procedures in the preschool entrance or foyer
- posting procedures on the school website
- summarising relevant procedures in the family orientation or information handbook
- noting procedural changes in a newsletter, electronic message, or in the preschool foyer.