Service showcase Wynnum Family Day Care

Published on Tuesday, 31 October 2017
Last updated on Thursday, 21 January 2021

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What is the name of your service and how many staff and children do you have?

Wynnum Family Day Care and Education Service (also known as Wynnum FDC or WFDC).

Our licensing body is Community Childcare Incorporate, operated by a volunteer committee. We have a team of more than 90, seven coordination unit staff and 84 educators providing care for over 500 children.

What is the background of your service?

Wynnum FDC has been operating since 1988 and was the first family day care service to be awarded the Excellent Rating by ACECQA as well as receiving this rating again at our most recent assessment. We have also won awards including Family Day Care Service of the Year and Educator of the Year (Regional and State levels).

Cathy Bavage has been managing the service since its inception and is joined by many long-term staff and educators – we take great pride in our high retention rate as lots of hard work has gone into making this a priority. Just this week we have been awarded the Perpetual Star Award in the Family Day Care Australia 2017 Excellence in FDC Awards, for our ongoing dedication to outstanding early childhood education and care for more than 15 years.

What does a 'normal' day look like for you?

Everything we do is driven by our vision of "Quality outcomes for children – every child, every day in care". On a typical day educators may be taking children to participate in one of the array of experiences that make up our LINK Program, or another excursion within our community, or they may be engaging the children in their program at home, perhaps hosting another educator for a playgroup or having a professional development visit with a coordinator.

In the coordination unit there is never a dull moment, among taking requests for care; placing children and families with educators; doing enrolment interviews with families in our child friendly interview area; having discussions with prospective educators; preparing for professional development visits with educators; administration and weekly processing of timesheets to CCMS; managing our LINK and Child Development programs; networking with peak bodies, government and other services; providing relevant and up to date information to families and educators through a range of media; sourcing professional development resources and staying up to date with legislation and current practices; and participating in research projects or finding other ways to support our sector and community.

What makes your service unique?

Wynnum FDC is known for its innovative programs and "out of the box" strategies for maintaining a viable and successful family day care service in a context that is always evolving.

LINK: Linking Children to the World and Community is our latest innovation. This exciting program was established as a way to improve learning outcomes for all children in care with our service including school aged children. Activities are offered on a daily basis (Monday to Friday) and have proven successful in contributing to children’s developmental progress.

LINK offers a large number of fun, inclusive, play based learning experiences, in a range of community settings, including Boppin Babies Music Therapy, Mindfulness Yoga, Pocket Rocket Multi Sports, Funfit Gymnastics, Art 4 Ages, Bayside Dance, Fitness with Darren, Brisbane Pony Rides and Animal Farm, Nazareth Aged Care, Gundala Kindergarten, Indigiscapes Environmental Education Centre, and ToothFairies on Tour (dental health awareness). Children of all ages are included in these sessions – we often hear comments from people who are amazed at seeing toddlers skillfully using hockey sticks and achieving stillness in mindfulness yoga.

The cost of LINK is completely covered by the service, meaning that it is included in the families' fees, and educators do not pay to attend. Educators and children can go to as many LINK sessions as they wish, Monday to Friday, throughout school terms and school holidays - there is no limit! Experiences are chosen based on educator input and the qualifications of the presenters (all of our LINK experience facilitators are qualified and have early childhood backgrounds) and educators attend based on the interests of the children in care.

What are some of the advantages of working in early childhood education and care?

Seeing the difference that we make in the lives of children, families and the community by working together as a team. Wynnum FDC focuses on inclusive practices, meaning that there is no separation of the coordination unit and educators – we are all equal members of a team in which we work together, make the most of our strengths, and challenge each other to provide a high standard of education and care.

We are not just a family day care service – we are a community within a community. At Wynnum FDC everyone can feel valued and included – educators, staff, children, and families. Genuine caring and support, both at a personal and professional level, benefits everyone who is part of our service.

So often we hear the success stories that happened when we viewed a challenge as a chance to problem-solve and work towards best outcomes.

What are some of the biggest challenges facing the sector?

One of our biggest challenges is how the community views our sector, as we are constantly working towards being seen as qualified professionals providing a high quality education and care service under strict legislation and regulations. Wynnum FDC addresses this through our professional development, advocating for the sector, taking part in research projects, and building relationships with peak bodies and government departments.

How has your service changed to deal with these challenges?

We have adopted business principles that allow us to operate as a community service under a business model. Wynnum FDC is fully self-funded and the support systems offered are constantly reviewed and evaluated to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our community and that we will remain viable. External consultants are regularly engaged to conduct evaluations.

How does the early childhood sector need to change to adapt to these challenges?

The sector needs to speak out and be its own best advocate by constantly seeking to improve professionally, share our success stories, and seek innovative solutions to challenges.

What advice would you offer someone thinking about a career in family day care?

Talk to a range of family day care services and educators in your area and ask lots of questions – it is important to find a service that you can work with long term and whose culture is a good fit for you. Take your time when making a decision.

Family day care is a wonderful career option that will allow you to grow personally and professionally, while building relationships with families and offering an exciting early education and care program.

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