New providers for early childhood education and care services in Cardinia Shire

Published: 3 July 2017

From 2018, new providers will deliver early years education and care at Council-owned facilities across Cardinia Shire.

Introduction

We have recently concluded a comprehensive Expression of Interest process to select the providers to deliver early years education and care at Council-owned facilities across Cardinia Shire, including kindergarten facilities.

The successful providers will commence in 2018 for a five-year period.

Why choosing the best providers is so important

Evidence shows that high quality early years education and care is vital to the long-term development of children and over recent years there have been significant policy reforms aimed at improving the access and quality of the service.

While we do not directly deliver early years education services, we are obligated to ensure the service is the best it can possibly be for our community, now and into the future.

Your new service providers

Bestchance has been selected to manage:

  • Andrews Community Kindergarten
  • Avonsleigh Preschool
  • Bayles Preschool
  • Bunyip Kindergarten
  • Emerald Preschool
  • Garfield Kindergarten
  • Homegarth Community Kindergarten
  • Koo Wee Rup Preschool
  • Lang Lang Preschool
  • Nar Nar Goon Kindergarten
  • Pakenham Heights Kindergarten
  • Pakenham Kindergarten
  • Upper Beaconsfield Kindergarten
  • Upper Beaconsfield Kindergarten (pre-kindergarten)
  • Hollins Child and Family Centre Centre
  • Lakeside Child and Family Centre
  • Pakenham Springs Child and Family Centre; and
  • Henry Family Child and Family Centre

They also currently operate at Arena Child and Family Centre where they have a licence to operate until 2019.

ECMS will manage:

  • Gum Scrub Creek Child and Family Centre

Background

In 2014, Council entered into a 3-year licence agreement with a provider to deliver early years education and care at a number of Council-owned facilities. Those licences expire at the end of this year. At the time of issuing the licences, it was agreed that an open Expression of Interest process would take place in early to mid-2017 to issue licences beyond 2017. It was also agreed that licences issued for 2017 and beyond would be 5-year licences. We have now completed the process that was agreed to in 2014 and have selected providers to deliver services at 19 locations across the municipality.

Information sessions 

Council will facilitate a range of information sessions for current Parent Advisory Group representatives and families whose child/ren will be registered in 2018 to meet with the new providers over the coming weeks. More info to come. 

Why we undertook the Expressions of Interest (EOI) process for the provision of Early Childhood Education services

  • The largest growing population in Cardinia Shire is children aged 0-4 years and the EOI process was undertaken to ensure that children and families continue to have access to high quality, inclusive services that are responsive to their needs, both now and into the future.
  • The EOI process ensured that the very best providers in Australia had an opportunity to express their interest in delivering high quality services for families in Cardinia Shire.

What benefits will the new providers deliver?

The new providers will have a range of new and enhanced services available to families, including a mix of:

  • Before and after kindergarten programs
  • Facilitated playgroups
  • Outreach family support worker
  • Range of allied health workers
  • Scholarship fund (fee waivers)
  • NDIS services
  • Literacy programs
  • Bush kindergarten
  • Parenting programs
  • FISH (Family Information Support Help)
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Pathway to employment / Learn Local (accredited training)
  • Placement for Early Childhood Development training
  • Community action research
  • Strong cultural awareness

How will this affect the early childhood educators that are currently in place?

Our staff will work closely with the new providers to ensure a smooth transition for both parents and teachers.

We acknowledge the strong relationships between teachers and their local communities and will ensure interested teachers have the opportunity to consider employment options with the new providers beyond this year.

How will fees be determined for 2017 and beyond?

Each provider sets its own fees according to the programs, running costs and funding from the Department of Education and Training. We will work with the providers to ensure fees are consistent with the current fee structure. As is the usual practice, the provider will determine fees in the July-September quarter.

What role will parents and committees play?

Parents (including Parent Advisory Groups) will continue to play an integral role in decision making, representing the needs and aspirations of their local community.

We will facilitate a number of information sessions and meetings between the new providers, parents and current Parent Advisory Groups during July. 

Parents whose child/ren will be registered with kindergarten services in 2018 and representatives of current Parent Advisory Groups will receive a personal letter of invite to the sessions.

What is the role of providers? 

The providers lead and manage early years education and care services that are focused on improving outcomes for children.

There is demonstrated evidence that providers deliver many benefits for the community, including:

  • children benefit from high-quality, inclusive services provided by professionals who are well supported to adopt contemporary and evidence-based practices;
  • parents can focus their involvement on supporting their children’s learning free of the compliance, industrial, financial and operational obligations required of approved early childhood service providers; and
  • staff benefit from organisational structures and processes that support them in their day-to-day work, but also have a view to the future creating career pathways and professional development opportunities that align with their aspirations.

They are responsible for:

  • Strategic planning (consulting and collaborating with Council and the community)
  • Engaging with local communities to understand the needs of families and to collaborate with local government to ensure responsive services are provided
  • Ensuring access for all children and being proactive around the participation of particular children experiencing vulnerability, newly arrive, Aboriginal children and those with a disability or developmental delay
  • Engaging families in decision making
  • Recruitment, management and development of staff
  • Sound financial management
  • Providing continuous service improvement

What is our role?

The Victorian Government has developed an Early Years Management Framework that clearly articulates the roles and responsibilities of each partner involved in the delivery of this vital community service. The framework describes the local government role as:

Local Government is the third tier of government and plays a key legislative role in strategically planning and coordinating early years’ services within a municipality. Its role is to understand and represent the interests of the local community, and be a major provider of early years’ facilities and services.’ 

We fulfil this role in various ways:

  • Collecting data through our services
  • Community surveys
  • Collating statistics and trends;
  • Working closely with a range of local service providers to determine what outcomes are being achieved for children in Cardinia Shire.