FAQs

We welcome all religions and non-religious families and staff members who align with our Christian values of trust, honesty, inclusion and respect. 

Some policy direction may be influenced in alignment with our values e.g. we promote honesty and integrity when dealing with our families and educators, we do not celebrate Halloween, we welcome same sex families and we celebrate Christian events such as Easter and Christmas in the traditional sense while also celebrating other significant religious events e.g. Ramadan, Chinese New Year etc.

Please trust we have the well-being of your child as our priority! We want all children to be happy and settled into our care. We have all sorts of distractions and fun activities to develop a connection and a long-lasting bond with your child. You will be their forever favourite so also don’t worry if eventually they then don’t want to go home!

More information can be found by clicking here

No, you do not have to be a Christian and it gives no weight to your enrolment request.

How many of us ask this question “what did you do at nursery today?” and get a “can’t remember” or a “nothing!” in reply? After a busy day spent away from your child it’s only natural that you’ll want a blow-by-blow account of everything they’ve done since you dropped them off earlier. Children live in the moment and we hope to share those moments with you via our online portfolios, the reflections book and through handover at the end of the day.

Spoiler alert: no day is typical! This is because we like to be able to respond to the interests of our children and have the flexibility to incorporate spontaneous activities wherever we see fit. 

To give you an idea of the routines throughout the day please click here to go directly to the ‘routine times’ section of the website, consider that routines are individual to children (particularly 0-3yrs old), however routines are beneficial, it gives children security to know what to expect next; and for children approaching school age it’s good practice!

Often the children are busy creating craft and artwork which may not always have an ‘end product’ to show you and other days they need a semi-trailer to carry off their creative bounty. Sometimes, just like us adults, your child may simply be content to chat with friends, read, rest and relax!

It is perfectly normal for children to refuse foods and even more so eat foods in early learning but not at home (I know, annoying isn’t it!). We use many and varied positive strategies to encourage eating and we never use food as a punishment or ‘settle’ for an unhealthy option. For more information and guidance, please click here.

All services under the regulations which cover early years’ services must display a menu accessible to parents which accurately describes the food and beverages provided each day (Reg. 80). We have access for children to safe drinking water at all times (Reg. 78), offer food and beverages on a regular basis throughout the day, that it is nutritious and adequate in quantity (Reg. 79) and chosen having regard to the dietary, cultural, religious or health requirements of the children.

We encourage water as the only drink, no need to bring drinks from home and the milk we use is half fat as recommended by the Healthy Eating Guidelines.

To find out more information on healthy eating and the guidelines we use, please visit www.eatforhealth.gov.au.

Information about the Education and Care Services National Regulations can be found at http://acecqa.gov.au/national-regulations.

Play clothes only please. They will get muddy, paint (even if wearing an apron!), food mess, holes and wet. We are committed to a ‘good’ time not a ‘tidy’ time so expect the worst and buy sturdy shoes, no ‘designer’ wear and a few changes of clothes is a must, especially when toilet training.

Leave a bag of spare play clothes (X3), hat, drink bottle and any medication in a small ruck sack and daily check / restock as needed when you have wet or soiled clothes to wash, shoes to replace e.g. with boots. Bring in weather appropriate clothing daily as we will play and learn outside for much of the day, go exploring on nature walks and visiting our local community.

Email us on centreadmin@nextstepselc.com.au or call us directly on (03) 5244 8650.

Please click here and this will take you to the right page on our website.

Please click here and this will take you to the right page on our website.

Please talk directly with your educators, we all wish to help you and there are ‘no silly questions’. You are encouraged to do this as soon as possible, don’t put yourself through unnecessary anguish! Even if you want to pop it in an email…we respect confidentiality, encourage feedback in ANY form and you can contribute to making our service even more fantastic than it already is!

Email us at centreadmin@nextstepselc.com.au or call us directly on (03) 5244 8650.

More serious issues can be brought to the attention of the 2IC, the wellbeing officer or the Director, especially if it is in regards to the health, wellbeing and safety of the children or staff. First please give us some time to try to resolve the issue.

We have protocol to follow and this may trigger a notification to the Department of Education and Training (DET). Don’t be worried, we are open to external scrutiny and sincerely committed to continuous improvement!

If you still have concerns, you can contact the department directly at any time with a concern about the health and wellbeing of the children on;

Website: www.education.vic.gov.au/childhood/providers/regulation

Email: licensed.childrens.services@edumail.vic.gov.au

Phone: 1300 307 415

Address: GPO Box 4367, MELBOURNE VIC 3001

Department of Social Services 

The Department of Social Services is responsible for helping to support Australian families and children. The Families and Children section of this website provides detailed information on the various forms of assistance available including programs, services, benefits and payments.

Department of Human Services 

The Department of Human Services is responsible for the development of Australian Government service delivery policy and offers a range of social, health and other payments and services. Support is available through Medicare, Centrelink, the Child Support program, CRS Australia and Australian Hearing. You can go directly to the Medicare program or the Centrelink program.

Services are assessed and rated against seven quality areas of the National Quality Standard:

1. Educational program and practice
Your child is supported to participate in play and learning

2. Children’s health and safety
Your child is protected from illness and hazards

3. Physical environment
Your child plays in a safe and well maintained environment

4. Staffing arrangements
There are enough qualified staff to give your child the attention they need

5. Relationships with children
Your child is made to feel supported and welcomed

6. Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
Local community involvement and respect and inclusion of all beliefs and values

7. Leadership and service management
Your child is cared for in a positive environment

Services receive a rating for each of the quality areas and an overall rating based on these results. Services must display their ratings. These ratings range from Working towards to Exceeding the National standards. for more information go to the ACECQA website.

A child will be exposed to colds and viruses at home, going shopping, or to the toddler gym as well as in an Early Years setting. It is widely believed that exposure earlier in life will develop a stronger immune system and it is less likely for a child to become sick in his or her later years, we are still careful and ensure we are protecting our children as they are developing their immune systems.

Some experts still say more exposure to germs is better. The use of hand sanitizers and excessive cleanliness are blamed for the increase in asthma, allergies and autoimmune disorders in a theory called the “hygiene hypothesis.” We believe that our curriculum designed around reasonable and safe practices such as outdoor nap times (2-5yrs), mud kitchen, sand play, water play and regular nature outings pedagogy will support building our children’s resilience while keeping them safe and healthy. Common sense will guide our assessment of risk benefit analysis, such as, if a child is unwell they will be asked to be collected and not to return until non infectious and able to ‘cope with their day’, children building their strength after illness may not rest outside initially etc.

Yes, it is our policy that an enrolment with Next Steps will not be considered ‘active or confirmed’ without a full up to date vaccination record. Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR) records your child’s vaccinations and they cannot attend without this record. Your immunisation provider sends the record of immunisation to the register. It is important for your child to be enrolled in Medicare as soon as possible so that your child’s immunisation records are accurate. For more information, please follow the following link http://www.education.vic.gov.au/childhood/parents/health/Pages/immunisation.aspx 

‘No Jab, No Play’ is the name of legislation that requires all children to be fully vaccinated unless they have a medical exemption to be enrolled in childcare or kindergarten in Victoria. For more information read the frequently asked questions about the ‘No Jab, No Play’ legislation.

Everyone is welcome to attend the service, we will assist you in calculating the cost of attending and be clear of all the costs to enable you to make an informed choice which meets your circumstances. Try our fees calculator here.

We are a fully inclusive service which welcomes children and adults of all abilities and needs. We will work with you to plan what is needed to support your child to fully integrate into our service supporting our dedicated team to ensure your family’s experience is one of pure delight!

Easy… just click here and it will whiz you straight through to the right place!

As with all children and families applying for a place in our fabulous centre, there is a government led ‘priority of access’ process. Click here to go to the government website.

In Victoria, the ratios for appropriately qualified staff working directly with the children is (Reg 121):

x4 Children 0-3 yrs. : x1 Adult

x11 Children 3+ yrs. : x1 Adult

Not currently, but we will consider this in the future!