December 2012
Q&A - Gwynn Bridge
President of the Australian Childcare Alliance and CEO of Childcare QLD
Gwynn Bridge As a part of our monthly newsletter for child care providers we are running a series of profiles designed to further educate our readers about Australia's most important government departments, community and industry organisations and how they work to support the child care industry, and also to put a face to the names of these organisations.

This month we feature a Q&A with Gwynn Bridge, President of the Australian Childcare Alliance and CEO of Childcare Queensland.

What is your professional background and what does your current role entail?
For the past 20 years of 25 years as a licensee in the sector, I have been an active member of state and national long day care association committees. Three years ago while remaining as a committee member I was also appointed as CEO of Childcare Queensland. I currently am also President of the national association, the Australian Childcare Alliance.

The National Bank of Australia was my first point of entry into the workforce and BC (Before Child care) I also worked in an Accountancy firm and for a national building company – balancing figures. Twenty-five years ago I became exhausted from worrying about other people's finances and my husband suggested that I find something that would be more personally rewarding. My desire to ensure the wellbeing of children was my driving force. We purchased our first child care centre and although regulations were very scant in Queensland I was very thankful that we had Diploma qualified educators.

I cried for the first 12 months. Being totally responsible for children's lives and wellbeing, meeting staff wages, learning a completely new operation and exhausted by the work load of being in private enterprise was overwhelming. Interest rates were at 17 per cent and the pressure was immense. We had a sticker on our refrigerator, "Tough times don't last, tough people do." It is still my motto to this day.

I embraced my new career and in subsequent years I gained my early childhood qualifications. Whilst operating four child care services, I also dedicated nine years as Treasurer to the Gold Coast Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and woman's refuge groups.

» Read the rest of the article here…
A Special Invitation
to view our Child Care Parent Rating System
Star Rating has a long and successful history of working with child care providers to deliver a range of services designed to connect you with parents looking for care, help you fill vacancies and build your reputation as a great place for child care.

A Parent Rating System is the latest addition to our suite of services and is due to launch shortly.

Before going live with the Rating System,we would welcome the opportunity to demonstrate the rating system to you.

This session will advise you how the Rating System operates and will ensure you know how to make the most of the unprecedented opportunity it offers to build your services reputation as a great place for child care.

At the information session we will discuss:
  • The increasing importance of user reviews for building business
  • How to harness the Parent Rating System to drive business and enhance your service’s reputation
  • How child care services can manage parent ratings and comments to their own advantage
  • The safeguards built in to ensure unqualified negative reviews do not go live, including a delay mechanism and a 12 month minimum attendance requirement
  • How the rating system will assist your members with the Quality Improvement Plan
The demonstration will be via online web conference so please let us know via return email whether you are interested in attending along with dates convenient and we can schedule a session in.

We look forward to the opportunity of profiling the parent rating system to you.

» Register your interest here…
UK Think Tank Advocates for Danish Child Care Model
Danish Child Care In response to increasing costs and lack of availability, UK public policy think tank IPPR argues that the UK should be looking at Denmark as a role model for its child care system.

In Denmark parents are entitled to a child care place from their child's first birthday until they start school and the system emphasises quality and not cut cutting.

The cost of child care has risen by six per cent in the last year and a family with both parents working at the average wage can expect to spend more than a quarter of their net family income on child care.

The think tank takes issue with the arguments put forward by Elizabeth Truss, the new childcare and education minister, who favours the Dutch model of childcare as a means of making childcare more affordable for parents.

The report suggests that cutting the child care benefit (similar to the CCB offered here in Australia) and reducing some benefits for pensioners would free up enough money to have a significant impact on the quality and affordability of child care.

The IPPR is urging UK Child Care Minister Elizabeth Truss to use the Danish example as a template for the UK system claiming it has many positive features which would work well in the UK, such as:
  • A national entitlement to a child care place with a high quality provider once a child turns one until they start school
  • Capped costs to parents with fee-relief available for low-income families. Parents pay a maximum of 25 per cent with a sliding scale of subsidies. Parents typically spend 7-10 per cent of their net income on child care.
  • A level playing field on funding and regulation, with a mix of centre-based care and child minders.
  • Generous parental leave provisions with parents eligible to take a full year off work after the birth of a child. Most parents receive at least six months leave at full pay which is co-funded by employers and the Government.
  • A highly qualified early education work force with the majority of Danish child care workers holding degrees in child development. Child care professionals also receive high wages ($AUD 38,000-$61,000).
  • An early childhood union which upholds professional standards and a promotes  training and development
  • Less statutory regulation and, and less emphasis on inspections and curriculum as a result of high quality staff.
IPPR director, Nick Pearce says the UK needs to look at different ways of doing things because the current system of child care is more expensive and more variable in quality than many other European countries.

"…we would do better to look to Denmark, where parents benefit from high quality, affordable child care but there is no additional cash payment akin to Child Tax Credit. Denmark spends only a slightly greater share of its national income on children and families than Britain, but it devotes a much greater proportion to parental leave and child care," he said.

» Post your comments here…
457 Visas for Child Care Workers?
457 Visa Leading Australian child care provider, Guardian Childcare Alliance has called on the Federal Government to offer 457 visas to child care workers with appropriate qualifications.

Guardian has called on the Government to overhaul the system to help child care providers cope with new staffing requirements set to take effect in 2014.

Speaking to The Australian Guardian's chief executive Tom Hardwick says significant changes are needed.

"At the moment child care workers are not eligible to come to Australia on the 457 visa and as such we are experiencing a shortage in the country," he said.

Guardian has asked that diploma qualified child care workers be added to the list of eligible professions on the 457 visa. Currently only bachelor qualified workers are eligible to be included.

"We are losing good staff because of the working holiday rules and even if we want to sponsor an employee we cannot," he added.

A spokesperson for Early Childhood Minister Peter Garrett told The Australian that the proposal would be considered.

» Post your comments here…
How Green Are You?
Simple ways to improve your environmental performance
environmental performance As environmentalism and an increasing awareness about sustainability become mainstream, so an increasing number of child care providers are looking at ways to 'green-up' their operating practices.

The advantages of going green are manifold and include reduced costs, improved operational efficiencies, preferential status among families who value environmentalism, reduced waste, a rich source of education opportunities and of course a public commitment to the global cause.

In the USA child care centres are able to complete a checklist to see how eco-healthy they are.  The checklist also offers some useful ways of assessing your environmental performance in areas which you may not have considered such as pest management and cleaning products.

Even if you can't go completely green, there are ways to incorporate sound environmental management policies in the day-to-day operation of your service. However, it is important to take a whole of service approach to making changes so that the benefits are experienced across the board.

Some simple examples of easy changes you could make include going paperless in the back office, or at the least paper recycling, starting a scraps bucket and a worm farm in the kitchen, incorporating environmental education in your teaching program, encouraging parents to pack lunches with little or no wrappings for services which don't supply lunch and buying a rain water tank for the yard.

Initiating Change
The first step in going green is to develop a sustainability management plan; this involves reviewing your current practices to evaluate where you might be able to make improvements.

According to information on the ACECQA website the following steps could be undertaken when developing a sustainability management plan for your service.

» Read the rest of the article here…
Nominate Now
2013 Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards
Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards Nominations for the Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards for 2013 are now open.

If you know an outstanding educator, carer or child care service, nominate now to ensure they receive the recognition they deserve in next year's awards.

Winners will be announced at an Awards Dinner in May 2013.

For more information or to make a nomination click here.
Cathy Bell
Prospect Early Learning Childcare Centre
Adelaide SA
Cathy Bell Child care professionals share a commitment to improving society by creating dynamic and nurturing care environments for Australia's youngest learners.

This month we feature an interview with Cathy Bell from Prospect Early Learning Childcare Centre in Adelaide South Australia. Cathy recently won the Macleans Early Childhood Educator of the Year Award for SA/NT in the 2012 Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards.

» Read about Cathy…
If you or someone you know deserves to be featured in this section drop us a line at

Each child care person we profile will receive a selection of DVD's for their service courtesy of Roadshow Entertainment.
Keeping Count
Strategies for keeping kids safe
Keeping count Recent media reports about two four year old boys who escaped from a child care centre in Lane Cove NSW highlight the importance of keeping track of kids at all times.

The boys were found by a bus driver walking along a busy road and were taken to a local police station. The matter has now been referred to the Department of Family and Community Services for investigation.

When parents drop their kids off with you each day there is an assumption the child will be safe and supervised all day. There is no excuse for losing a child and ensuring it doesn't happen requires you to be mindful of the vulnerabilities in your service. Preventing children from leaving your service and monitoring numbers requires constant vigilance. If you haven't reviewed your safety measures in some time consider the points below.

Vulnerable times and places
Child care providers should carefully review the physical environment in and around centre and the daily routine to determine the problem areas and when the most vulnerable times for losing a child are. For each of these, you must consider what people should know and what physical aspects of the situation need to be addressed.

» Read the rest of the article here…
Water Safety Syllabus for Child Care Centres
Water Safety In the wake of yet another backyard pool drowning in NSW this month, Olympic swimming coach and Kids Alive founder Laurie Lawrence has secured funding to develop a mandatory water safety curriculum to be taught in child care centres.

The water safety program will be offered at around 10,000 early learning centres across Australia in an effort to reduce child drownings.

The Australian Government has given Mr Lawrence $429,000 to develop the water safety syllabus, which Mr Lawrence said would include books, songs, posters and DVDs designed to educate children under five about the dangers of water and how to stay safe.

Mr Lawrence told the Goldcoast Bulletin that despite the fact children under five are most susceptible to backyard pool and bath drownings they often miss out on education about water safety.

"The teaching has been ad hoc and now we want to get a specific water safety message out to young children," he said.

"The program will teach all aspects of water safety for the beach, pool, rural and home.

"They'll learn to swim between the flags and not to go into deep water in the surf, not to go venturing down near the dam on rural properties, not to climb over the backyard pool fence and to be careful around baths and fish ponds at home."

Mr Lawrence said the water safety program would be developed in conjunction with university professors to ensure teaching methods are sound, but he highlighted the fact that the program will teach water safety and not swimming.

"Parents still have a huge responsibility to take their children to swimming lessons, because by going to swimming lessons it teaches them respect for the water at a very early age.

Mr Lawrence told the GoldCoast Bulletin that the water safety program would eventually be available in every early learning centre across Australia.

"If we can get into the early learning centres and educate all the kids there about water safety, we'll make the kids more aware of the dangers in and around water and less likely to wander into life-threatening situations," he said.

The water safety curriculum and associated resources are expected to be completed by mid 2013.

Visit the Kids Alive website for more information.
Christmas Craft Ideas and Colouring Competition
Christmas Craft Ideas Christmas provides plenty of opportunities for clever crafters. This month we have some ideas to decorate your service as well as a few simple projects which the kids can make as gifts for their family.

Also make sure you enter our Christmas Colouring Competition Simply download your favourite picture from the selection below, have the kids colour it and send the the completed entries back to us.

We have three Christmas DVD Packs from Roadshow Entertainment to give away.

Handprint wreath - A colourful craft idea which can be personalised with the addition of a photo

Paper plate wreath - Another wreath, this project is suitable for very young children.

Puzzle piece pictures - A great gift idea which uses old puzzle pieces.

Decorative gift bags - This activity can be scaled up or down depending on the age group of the kids you are working with.

Hand/foot print ornaments - This is lots of fun to do and results in a memento parents will treasure.

Pine cone tree ornaments - The painted pine cones in this activity make lovely tree decorations.

Poinsettia - These gorgeous flowers will quickly get the walls of your service looking festive.

Christmas collages - Have the kids practice their scissor skills while they make these Christmas themed collages.

Homemade Christmas cards - A few simple resources will result in some wonderful cards.

Felt stockings - A simple sewing project which supervised 3-4 year olds should be able to accomplish.

These craft ideas were originally sourced on and
Christmas Colouring Competition
Grab all of Santa's helpers and get them colouring in, we have a stack of pre-schooler friendly DVDs to give away* courtesy of Roadshow Entertainment.

Just print off any of the Christmas themed colouring pages below have the kids colour them in and then send them back to us by Friday December 16, 2012. The three (3) best will be chosen by our expert panel of elves.

Christmas tree



Fax to (02)9235 3111 or scan & email entries to


Post your entries to:
PO Box 543

Don't forget to include your contact details.

Happy Christmas.

* Terms & Conditions
National Quality Framework
National Quality Framework FAQSNQF fact sheet

Guide to the NQF

Guide to the National Quality Standard

Guide to Developing a Quality Improvement Plan

Guide to National Law & National Regulations
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July 2012

Roxanne Elliott

Hello everyone and welcome to the final issue of Child Care Industry News for 2012.

Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a peaceful and relaxing holiday season with your family and friends. It has been quite a year for the child care sector and I am sure you are looking forward to your well deserved break.

We have plenty of good reading for you this month including an article on how to improve your service's environmental performance.

Undoubtedly you've heard of Gwynn Bridge CEO of Childcare Queensland and President of the Australian Childcare Alliance. This month we are delighted to offer you a detailed interview with Gwynn including her vision for the child care sector and her views on current challenges.

Cathy Bell from Prospect Early Learning Childcare Centre is in the spotlight this month. Cathy was recently recognised as an Educator of the Year in the 2012 Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards and her wonderful approach to child care is a breath of fresh air.

We also invite you to a special preview of our Parent Child Care Rating system which will be going live very soon.

Finally, make sure you have the kids in your service enter our Christmas Colouring Competition. Simply download a picture from this month's craft section, have the kids colour it in and send the completed pictures back to us. We have three Christmas DVD Packs from Roadshow Entertainment to give away which we know the kids in your service will love.

All this and loads more so happy reading.

Roxanne Elliott®
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