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EarlyEdition SUMMER 2016

Summer’s perfect for food exploring What is best for our children? Mentor your way to service success 7 Simple steps to sustainable energy

ENROL TODAY! 07 3299 5784 Special discount for ACA Qld members RTO Number: 40933

EarlyEdition SUMMER 2016

Cover Photo: Christmas on the beach.

Contents ACA Queensland

ACA QLD President’s Report


Location: 11/6 Vanessa Boulevard, Springwood Mailing: PO Box 137, Springwood QLD 4127 Telephone: (07) 3808 2366 Fax: (07) 3808 2466 Toll Free: 1300 365 325 (outside Brisbane) Web: Email:

ACA President’s Report


Disclaimer: Articles published in this magazine are published as a service to readers and should not be substituted for specific advice in relation to any issue. While advertising in this magazine is encouraged, ACA Queensland accepts no responsibility for the contents of the advertisements. Advertisements are accepted in good faith and liability for advertising content, goods or services supplied is the responsibility of the advertiser.

What is BEST for our children?


Summer’s perfect for food exploring


Mason’s Law: Mandatory reporting for early years’ educators, family day care and approved providers


Why we need to teach social/emotional intelligence in the early years


Stumbling on sugar? Puzzled by protein? The educators role in child nutrition


Mentor your way to service success


Share the Dignity


Educator in Profile


Quality: It’s on for young and old!


7 Simple steps to sustainable energy for your childcare centre


Have you planned your party properly?


Are you GHS ready?


Associate Member Directory



Committee Members

ACA Queensland Office

President - Jae Fraser

Gwynn Bridge

Debra North

Office Manager - Jen Smyth

Vice President - Brent Stokes

Doug Burns

Rosa McDonald

Office Admin Assistant - Letitia Murphy

Treasurer - Linda Davies

Majella Fitzsimmons Janet Schluter

Acting Secretary - Louise Thomas

Kerrie Lada

Project Officer - Claudette Cabilan



ACA QLD President’s Report What a year it has been, thank you to everyone for your support of ACA Qld throughout 2016. Each year we hope for a less busy year than the previous one but in this sector, it never seems to be the case. Throughout 2016 your committee has been working tirelessly on many issues that we are facing as a sector such as the Modern Award Review, the Jobs for Families Package, ECT qualification requirements and ratio changes that came into effect. It has been an incredibly big year and when you look back on all the work that has been done, there is a real sense of accomplishment and I am thankful to the whole committee and ACA Qld office team who have put in so much time for the benefit of the Queensland ECEC sector. Recently, we held our AGM and I was honoured to be re-elected as President for another term. I would also like to congratulate our Vice President Brent Stokes and committee members Gwynn Bridge and Majella Fitzsimmons on their re-election. Sadly, we farewelled our long-term committee member and past president Peter Price. We thank him for his time and dedication to ACA Qld and wish him all the very best. The ACA National AGM was also held and I would like congratulate our new President Paul Mondo (ACA Vic) and new ACA Executives. As your President, I was also elected as a Committee Member of the ACA National Committee and will continue to advocate for Queensland in the federal space. The ACA National Committee has been working extremely hard with government on the Jobs for Families Package and there has been a lot happening in this area. ACA held a lobby day in Canberra recently, meeting with key politicians from all sides of government to ensure that



we achieve the very best outcome for families and the sector. This year, I have attended several sector forums on your behalf and have held meetings with government to advocate for positive outcomes for children, families and the sector. This will continue in 2017 and we will always work hard for all our members. Our sponsors’ evening was a great success; this is an event that brings together all our major sponsors to thank them for their support in 2016 and the coming years. ECT Qualifications After extensive discussions with ACECQA and other stakeholders regarding the ECT Qualifications, we are pleased to hear that the ACECQA Board agreed to extend a transitional measure that will allow educators to be recognised as equivalent to an early childhood teacher until the end of 2019 instead of 1 January 2018. We have worked very hard to achieve this result. I am continuing to work with the Minister’s office and the Department on the issues we are facing with the transitional change in the ECT requirements in the coming years. PD Opportunities PD is a big focus for the ACA Qld team and CAECE and we are always looking for further opportunities to offer PD to our members. Thank you to all our members who attended our round of workshops this year, we had close to 500 attendees and we are thankful for your support of these events.

2017 Conference The theme for the Australian Childcare Alliance Queensland 2017 National Conference is: Engage. Learn. Inspire. Sharing the Experience. As you know, our conference will return to the beautiful Gold Coast, from 2 – 4 June 2017 at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre. We are planning a very exciting program with some incredible presenters, we have searched far and wide and even internationally to bring you the best program yet. If you have any topics or speakers in mind, please let us know. Your input and ideas are crucial to ensuring that we plan the very best conference for you. Registration will open early next year. On behalf of ACA Qld Management Committee and staff, thank you for your support in 2016. We look forward to another great and busy year in 2017!

Jae Fraser President

ACA President’s Report As many of our members would be aware, there have been some recent changes to the Executive Committee of the Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) at the national level. After nine years of dedicated service as ACA President, Gwynneth Bridge has chosen to retire from the ACA National Executive Committee. Vice President Judith Atkinson, also chose not to renominate for her position as it came to term on Monday 17 October 2016.

to two National Childcare Advisory Councils as well as a Board Member of the National Childcare Accreditation Council for five years. Her expertise in the development of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) policy, along with her industry experience, have contributed greatly to the ACA.

At the ACA’s recent Annual General Meeting, the following new Executive Committee was formed:

Gwynneth remains on the Committee of Australian Childcare Alliance Queensland (ACA Qld) while Judith continues as an Executive Member of the ACA.

• President - Paul Mondo • Vice President - Nesha Hutchinson • Secretary - Ann Marie Chemello • Treasurer - Kerry Mahony • Ordinary Member – Jae Fraser • Ordinary Member – Judith Atkinson On behalf of the Executive Committee, I would like to express my sincere thanks to our former President Gwynneth Bridge, and Vice President Judith Atkinson. Gwynneth has been an active member of state and national long day care association committees in their various forms for over 20 years. She has built open, effective, lasting partnerships with government stakeholders at both federal and state levels and continued to advocate relentlessly for family access to affordable, high quality long day care. We greatly appreciate her dedication, hard work and enormous contribution to the ACA.

Whilst there has been change in the composition of the committee we will ensure that ACA continues to engage with federal government and other key stakeholders to commit to our suggested improvements to the proposed Jobs for Families Package, as outlined in the ACA’s recent submission to government. Go to to view the submission. As we approach the end of 2016, we are acutely aware that the Jobs for Families Bill is likely to be tabled in the Senate in the next few sitting weeks before the end of the year. This is an extremely time

sensitive issue – if the bill is not passed before the end of 2016, it is unlikely that it will be implemented on the proposed July 2018 commencement date. To this end, the ACA is continuing to engage with relevant individuals in federal government throughout November regarding our recommendations to improve the package in supporting the continued provision of high quality, affordable, sustainable and accessible Early Childhood Education and Care. We will continue to share our responses with you, and we encourage you to share our responses with families at your service/s. On behalf of the ACA I would like to wish all our Queensland members a safe and relaxing Christmas break and a peaceful and prosperous New Year. We look forward to working with you in 2017. Paul Mondo ACA President

As Vice President, Judith worked alongside Gwynneth and together they made an incredible team. Judith brought a wealth of experience in the early childhood education and care sector to the role. Previously she had been a prime ministerial appointment



What is BEST for our children? Laurie Morrison > Bare Hands

Developing emotional maturity and social competence for life. What do you wish for the children in your care? As committed educators you undoubtedly hope the children you work with each day will grow to be happy, healthy adults. That they’ll enjoy successful, fulfilling relationships and have the resilience to bounce back from the inevitable adversity they will encounter on the journey of life. Statistics on childhood anxiety and adult depression indicate that still more resources and new approaches are needed to ensure our children experience the best life has to offer.

This study identified that 22% of children are developmentally vulnerable in at least one of five domains and 11% in two of the five.

One in five children are developmentally at risk or vulnerable

According to the data, at risk children find it difficult to: get along with others, play cooperatively, show respect, follow instructions and fit in with routine. They also struggle with taking responsibility and demonstrating self-control and selfconfidence.

The 2015 Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) collected data on more than 300,000 children in their first year of school in five developmental domains: 1. Physical health and wellbeing 2. Social competence 3. Emotional maturity 4. Language and cognitive skills 5. Communication skills and general knowledge.



HOW do we know when children are at risk or vulnerable? To identify children who are developmentally at risk or vulnerable, it is helpful to look at the behaviours that are reported in this group. Essentially, this means asking HOW children demonstrate their vulnerability.

Clinicians see these same issues when treatment is sought for a child with anxiety or behavioural issues. In many cases the adult role models in the child’s life also struggle to get along with others and to engage in respectful communication and conflict negotiations. Sometimes anger and violence are part of the scenario, but

often it is the unrealistic, perfectionist expectations and overly protective behaviours in caring, well-meaning adults that sustain an environment where children do not develop to their full potential. These individuals truly want the best for their child but need support and resources to become more effective role models.

Unrealistic expectations and overly protective behaviours in caring, well-meaning adults can create an environment where children do not develop to their full potential due to a insecurity and a lack of self confidence. Up-skilling adult role models is the solution. Helping families develop habits that help Clinical evidence clearly demonstrates that it is possible to support and educate adults to develop their own emotional maturity and social competence. Additionally, these upskilled adult caregivers are better able to teach effective life skills, by example, to their children. A dysfunctional family unit is a common obstacle to a child’s development, however, if the emotional landscape at home can be positively influenced,

that environment becomes part of the solution rather than the problem.

Creating better outcomes for atrisk and vulnerable children requires community education and collaboration as an adjunct to the existing resources and interventions targeted directly at the child. Example is the best teacher. However, you can only teach what you know. Studying the behaviours of happy, harmonious families and identifying how they cooperate, communicate and create connection, enables the identification of key strategies and skills that have the potential to change the future of at risk and vulnerable children. Targeted early intervention education, particularly in the home, is needed to facilitate positive change. If you’re wondering what you can do, let’s consider five habits that encourage more cooperation, compassion and connection and help children be their best. Perhaps, you can encourage more of these habits within your community. Take time to play Play is the antidote to depression and a wonderful way to create connection. Families that play together, stay together.

Amplify the positive When you take the focus away from what isn’t going so well and focus more on what is, whether in the classroom, the workplace or at home, it’s possible to encourage and experience more of what you want. Practice appropriate self care Unrealistic expectations are driving more and more people into feeling overwhelmed. Teach how important it is to have self-care principles in place and practice them. Manage conflict respectfully Families that can resolve conflict positively, without shaming or blaming, help children learn confident negotiation skills and become courageous communicators. Practice emotional self-regulation Imagine the ripple effect if all children grew up in an environment where emotions were acknowledged and encouraged to be expressed appropriately. Emotional intelligence starts at home. These topics form the basis of five Resilient Families* sample articles, available FREE to all early years educators. You can read them for yourself and share them with your

community by registering for INSTANT access at As educators and clinicians working with young children, we have an amazing opportunity to foster positive futures. Helping children achieve their full potential is much easier when there is a collaborative effort between parents, educators and clinicians, who all want the best for each child. By working together across disciplines, we can influence best practice for families. More happy, functional families giving rise to more socially competent, emotionally mature children. That’s what we wish. *Resilient Families is an educational resource sharing straight talking common sense strategies and skills for happier, more harmonious families. Based on clinical practice and developed by Roxanie Lebsanft and Laurie Morrison, co-founders of Bare Hands, Resilient Families is endorsed by NQF Educational Consultancy to help early years educators meet the requirements of National Quality Standards while developing stronger partnerships with families.



Summer’s perfect for food exploring The Yummies for Little Tummies Team

Hello sunshine! The heat is back in Queensland and with it, a big change in the fresh produce available. The warmer months of spring and summer bring with them the opportunity for kids to blossom on their food learning journey. There’s just so much deliciousness about! What’s great about summer fruits and veggies? 1. Choice: There are so many more of them to choose from than in cooler months! Tropical fruits from North Queensland like bananas, melons and paw paw. Stone fruits like peaches, nectarines, plums and cherries. And berries galore – blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Most veggies are available all year round, but the warmer months are particularly great for deliciously crunchy fresh green beans too. 2. Better Taste: Fresh produce in season tastes better! Fruit in season always has better flavour, and it’s cheaper too. 3. Nutritious: They contain an array of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Importantly, antioxidants such as the “ACE” vitamins: beta-carotene (the plant form of vitamin A), vitamins C and E. When kids (and adults) are exposed to the sun, these three anti-oxidant vitamins work together to prevent cell damage from oxidation. Fruits and vegetables are amongst the richest sources of anti-oxidants



and they don’t only contain the ACE vitamin anti-oxidants, but others called phyto-chemicals. It’s much better to get these chemicals from food rather than a supplement. The more colourful we make our selections, the greater health benefits we’ll get. 4. Hydrating: They’re great thirst quenchers, which is excellent for little ones who struggle to drink enough water. Slurping noises and drips down chins are sure signs that they’re hydrating as well as delicious. Why tasting the food isn’t the be-all and end-all for learning Consulting Dietician for Yummies for Little Tummies, Deb Blakely says, “When it comes to food, tasting doesn’t define learning success. As carers, educators and parents it’s easy to feel the need to apply pressure on kids to taste before they’re ready. Although we love to see kids enthusiastically dive into a plate of fresh foods, that isn’t always the case. And for good reason. We learn differently. Some children are more cautious and need time to warm up to new experiences. Some kids, particularly 2-5 year olds, are quite fearful of trying new foods.” Deb also says that kids learn more effectively when they are not anxious or stressed, when we explore with and delight in them, and when we support their strengths.

The same principles apply when children are learning about food. Simply giving a more hesitant child repeated exposures to a wide variety of this summer’s fresh produce will go a long way in their food learning journey. Give them support to explore using all their senses, and don’t just focus on taste. Help the kids in your care to build independence and food literacy skills by being involved in preparing and serving food. The team at Yummies for Little Tummies are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to weave delicious fresh produce in season into their menus. “As a fresh food business with a brief to source locally, incorporating seasonal produce into our menu is not only easy, it’s fun for us and Yummies’ kids,” commented Darlene Clark, General Manager for Yummies for Little Tummies. Learning about food and eating is like any other major life skill. It takes time, perseverance and practice. And don’t forget to have more than a little fun along the way! Eat happy!

ories e exciting st Do you hav share? you want to ory to st r u Email yo realliance.o @ qld childca

Mason’s Law:

Mandatory reporting for early years’ educators, family day care and approved providers Sasha Goodwin > Bond University

In Queensland, a range of professionals who work and interact with children are mandated by law to report child abuse and neglect or child safety concerns. Mandatory reporting means that there are legislative requirements imposed on certain people to report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect. It is important that we care for and meet our obligations to children, therefore in 2013 Queensland’s mandatory reporting laws were investigated and changes were made to improve mandatory reporting obligations as part of the Child Protection Reform Amendment Act 2014; these laws supported an expansion of those required to report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect. Currently in Queensland and under the Child Protection Act 1999, mandatory reporters are: • teachers • doctors • registered nurses • police officers with child protection responsibilities • a person performing a child advocate function under the Public Guardian Act 2014. Teachers include approved teachers under the Education (Queensland College of Teachers) Act 2005, employed at a school. Doctors and nurses include those employed in both the public and private health sectors. In September 2016 Queensland Parliament passed Mason’s Law; the legislation honours Mason Parker, a 16-monthold Townsville toddler who was murdered by a caregiver, days after childcare educators photographed bruises on the little boy’s body. This new legislation that becomes effective in July 2017 means that Queensland’s approved providers, supervisors, nominated supervisors, family daycare coordinators, educators and family day-care educators are mandated to report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect. The legislation does not include volunteers or staff members who do not meet the minimum professional qualification requirements. This legislation is consistent with most other states where childcare educators are mandated to report concerns. In all jurisdictions, including Queensland, the legislation also protects the reporter’s identity from disclosure, additionally if the notification is made in good faith and is not malicious, the reporter cannot be liable in any civil, criminal or administrative proceeding. People should not fear raising concerns. Never more so, has the statement “it

takes a village to raise a child” been so appropriate, raising awareness, education and protection for our children occurs when those working with children can speak up about their concerns and are mandated to do so. We all share a responsibility to protect children and young people from harm - a responsibility that extends to those situations where children may be at risk, suffer abuse and/ or neglect in their own homes. We all need to play our part and there are useful tools that can aid in this process, including the online child protection guide and services like Family and Child Connect. Education and communication are the key to this very important issue.

Want to know more about Mandatory Reporting?

The College for Australian Early Childhood Educators (CAECE) presents the interactive workshop, Everything you need to know about Mandatory Reporting. This workshop aims to support and provide information for mandated reporters by ensuring they are aware of their legal responsibilities to report known or suspected child abuse and neglect in Queensland, how to recognise indicators (red flags) of the different types of abuse and neglect, and how to make a notification. Call CAECE on 07 3299 5784 or send an email to This workshop can be presented exclusively to your educators in your service or email CAECE to express your interest in holding this workshop in your area. What people have said about the workshop “Information in abundance. Nothing left out, good advice given.” - Tara “Presenter was well prepared and willing to give as much information as possible.” - Elizabeth “The information and passion for the industry showed.” - Meg



Why we need to teach social/emotional intelligence in the early years Di Wilcox > The Seedlings Program



If you asked any parent what their hopes and dreams for their children are, most would reply that they just want their child to be “happy”. Unfortunately, the reality is that rates of anxiety, depression and self harm amongst our children is on the rise. Our children are lacking self-esteem and a sense of purpose in this world.

• a n improvement in social and emotional skills

We have extraordinarily high rates of domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse and one punch attacks.

• improvement in school and classroom behaviour

The need for social emotional intelligence to be taught in our schools, from kindergarten, is overwhelmingly strong so why aren’t we making this a priority? It is no secret that our schools are being evaluated for funding based on test scores and parents are making decisions on which school to send their children to based on academic results, but is this because we have not been educated enough on the importance of teaching social emotional intelligence? Social emotional learning is the foundation to “growing kids with good character”. Children learn and acquire knowledge, attitudes and skills to: • recognise and manage emotions • set and achieve goals • demonstrate caring and concern for others

• improvement in attitudes about self, others and school

• decrease in misbehaviour and aggression • decrease in emotional distress, such as anxiety and depression • increase in achievement of test scores.

(Payton, Weissberg, Durlak, et al, The Positive Impact on SEL on K-8th Graders) We need to keep in mind that social/ emotional learning needs to be consistent and ongoing. We cannot simply have a day or a week where social/emotional learning becomes a priority. Our children need it to be part of their daily learning experiences. Social/emotional learning can be integrated into all aspects of the curriculum and teachers can role model strategies throughout the day without having to write a lesson plan for these learning experiences.

For example, when a child demonstrates anger a teacher can see this as a teachable moment by acknowledging the child’s feelings and getting them to recognise the changes they are experiencing and suggesting that they remember a poem that the whole class has been taught to manage anger and anxiety. The Seedlings Stress Less Poem is an example. Another example may be when a child is feeling sad the teacher can encourage the child to use their “self-talk” to self soothe and get them back on track. When students have disagreements, they need to be taught simple conflict resolution strategies to solve these problems for themselves. Whatever the feeling or situation a teacher needs to empower their students with the skills and strategies to problem solve so that we are raising students who have life skills to be successful leaders in our future. Students who have the skills to build positive relationships amongst their family and community members and who have a positive impact on the world that we live in.

• establish and maintain positive relationships • make responsible decisions • handle conflict appropriately. The reality is that our children will not achieve their academic potential if they don’t have the skills to navigate through their day to day problems or the self-esteem to believe in themselves and the goals that they set. Teachers, parents and students also need a common language to ensure that social emotional learning is instilled in their students. We can’t have one teacher saying and doing one thing to help a child resolve an issue and a parent or another teacher doing something different. We are only confusing our children. Research done by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has found that schools that ensure social/emotional learning saw:

The Seedlings Stress Less Poemten

s and count to Close your eye n. te with your pe Write a help no eful place. Visualise a peac space are in your own u o y at th re su Make ands your arms and h in s le sc u m t h g Relax ti ns. on with your pla y rr ca n ca u o y Now - Di Wilcox



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Stumbling on sugar? Puzzled by protein? The educators role in child nutrition The Educational Experience Team

Nutrition is one of the most highly publicised topics across the early childhood landscape. Parents, educators and families are consistently faced with an onslaught about what they should and should not do in relation to their child’s diet. However, it is not humanly possible to consume all the content you are inundated with, in fact the myriad of information regularly supplied to you can be harmful if you try to do so. Quite often you will find conflicting information across many platforms. On one parenting website, you will find a “fact” relating to childhood nutrition. But the very next day an expert of some sort will feature on a popular breakfast show segment expressing their opinion, which just so happens to be a stark contrast to what you read yesterday (tear your hair out moment). It is stressful, frustrating and confusing for many educators and families across the country.

For educators, this experience is particularly concerning. It is the moment where you gulp with a sense of trepidation. Am I about to be swamped by confused parents? Does our service promote or demote one of these messages? Which one is correct? It is important at this stage to consider a few simple points. 1. Although research and studies are important, they are completed on very specific groups with very tight controls to ensure the outcome sought is achieved. Not all children will “fit the mould” in terms of the characteristics of each and every study. 2. Findings from all research and studies are just that, findings. They are not answers or compulsory definitions of healthy eating or nutritional aspects. 3. Media institutions design headlines to capture your attention. Sombre or weighty subject lines, when investigated tend to reveal out of context statements.

Therefore, it rapidly becomes evident that reflection will play an important part of how to proceed in relation to viewing nutrition in your service. Critical reflection is not only a guiding principle of the Early Years Learning Framework, it will be most beneficial in holistically considering nutrition in your own pedagogy and in service policy. Most importantly, remember that food can provide a gamut of learning opportunities for children. Opportunities exist to learn about complex concepts such as palatability, physiological processes and biological processes. Additionally, there are many basic and comprehensible lessons that children be immersed in. Consider the hot topic of STEM for instance. By involving children in cooking experiences at your service, children will be exposed to mathematical concepts such as volume, weight and size. They may also see the application of technology in cooking in microwaves, ovens and blenders. Don’t let nutrition be a menace to yourself or your service. Embrace its magnificent diversity and flexibility and pass this wonder onto your children. For more interesting reading on nutrition and the holistic health of children, visit our blog You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.



Mentor your way to service success Pam Maclean (M.Ed.) > Child’s Play Consultancy

Mentoring for service teams is widely recognised as a valuable tool for service providers seeking quality care outcomes, educator growth and business success. What does it mean for a service and how can it help achieve your goals? What is mentoring and what can it offer? Mentoring is defined as “a relationship based process between colleagues in similar professional roles, with a more experienced individual with adult learning knowledge and skills, the mentor, providing guidance and example to the less experienced protégé or mentee. Mentoring is intended to increase an individual’s personal or professional capacity, resulting in greater professional effectiveness.” (Lutton, 2012). This definition of mentoring explains what mentoring is and how the mentoring process works. However, should you spend time, money and effort in a mentoring program? It is important to recognise that, after formal study is completed, educator learning and growth continues. It is expected that professional educators will continue to hone their skills and acquire knowledge as they work with children and families. This is underscored by legislation in the early childhood sector. We are expected to keep learning and growing as we work.



Many kinds of learning exist today; courses at various RTOs, online courses, one time workshops and conferences. Many of these are valuable and offer a one-time training and information session to learn specific theory and explore new ideas. Sadly, that is often where the enthusiasm ends, and long term change to teaching practices does not occur once participants return to their workplace. One way to consolidate team gains from workshops and conferences is to follow this with a mentor program capturing that new knowledge to assist in its implementation in your setting. Workshops, while they can represent great value, are not able to offer enough time for learning to be effectively reinforced and supported through new teaching practices and processes. Of all the options commonly available to us, mentoring is the one kind of delivery that is ongoing and tailored to your team, physical location and service needs. Over time, your team can learn skills and increase their understanding over a wide range of relevant topics and practices.

How is mentoring beneficial or more effective than other training styles? • Mentors with experience and current early childhood expertise offer your team time to assimilate new knowledge and put it into practice with support and guidance • Mentoring is ongoing to meet your changing service, individual educator and team needs, over time • It includes self-awareness and assessment, nurturing important professional skills • Flexibility and sensitivity to team members’ knowledge and learning styles • It leads through a balance of modelling and inquiry, and does not impose personal beliefs or values on the mentee Mentoring motivates and inspires team members to know or learn more in support of service programs. • It promotes actively thinking about learning and how to make positive change • It can address specific issues identified by the service, regulatory assessors, and the mentor • It directly aligns learning with regulatory requirements and legislative compliance issues, whilst addressing specific issues related to the setting

Successful mentoring programs can also lower staff turnover, reducing cost to your business and certainly to children’s sense of security. Educators gain from an increased awareness of their personal style and how their interactions impact on children, colleagues and families. Skilful mentors inspire enthusiasm in educators, or help educators to find lost motivation. They listen, are respectful and understand individual needs, fears and challenges. All these elements directly link to quality of service outcomes and increased positive public perception of your service. Good mentors observe individuals and teams in action, consider how best to assess and assist in specific areas, then present a collaborative plan to foster positive change in your setting. Mentors also offer feedback on progress and growth to inform future development and selfawareness of the mentee. Whilst this sounds like a simple four step process, it involves knowledge, skills and abilities that many educators do not yet possess or have time to learn and implement. Change can be challenging for educators who often feel over worked, overwhelmed by the daily expectations of the role, rushed and time poor. If asked to make more change, they can often shut down or continue as before, as a less demanding option. This means nothing changes and outcomes offer the same quality of care, which means that outcomes for children remain stagnant. Taking time to build a trusting, relationship based mentor program can be the best investment a service makes and

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EARLY EDITION > SUMMER 2016 5/3/16 13


is certainly worth investigating. Over time, mentors and mentees develop a collaborative, solution based approach that works for all, leading to long term, positive change, including increased educator efficacy, better outcomes for children and smoother service operations. As educators participate in mentoring, they become more adept in reflecting on their own beliefs about how young children learn and communicate, their practices, strategies and how to develop practical solutions to challenges. The key is that mentors guide educators to think first,



develop clear plans, then implement changes with an increased likelihood of success. This skill will serve educators well and enable them to work confidently on similar issues in future, not lapse once the mentor leaves. Skilled mentors know how to appropriately time this growth to prevent burn out of team members and facilitate an attitude of inquiry in educators.

Take a moment to consider if a mentor relationship will work for your team. Mentors are available and offer sound guidance on many topics including programming, interactions with children and families, everyday practices, team cohesion, room and play space design, leadership roles and many other areas of concern in a service. Take the plunge and mentor your way to service success.

Early childhood services have many expectations upon their time, with ongoing assessment and compliance issues.

Educator Mentoring Program Tailored PD for educators in your service

The Educator Mentoring Program is a full in-service program that provides tailored professional development and support to early childhood education and care services on the issues impacting educators. We will provide your team with an experienced and independent mentor who will provide objective feedback regarding ideas, approaches and identified/nonidentified issues. The program includes: • 2 hours of professional development workshop in your service (optional) • 6 hours of in-service mentoring with your educators in their rooms • 1 hour of reflective discussion with Approved Provider or Nominated Supervisor.

What topics can be covered? • Creative programming and thinking outside the box • Manage documentation and understand the connections between the National Quality Standard (NQS) and the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) • How to resource your service without breaking the bank • Create inviting indoor and outdoor play spaces • Build positive and engaged teams • Practical approaches in sustainability • Routines and transitions Prices start from $1,495 (including GST) depending on your location and needs. Our pricing is also inclusive of all travel costs for those members in regional and rural Queensland.

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“The learning never ends”

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Share the Dignity Janine Schokman > Bright Beginnings Childcare Centre

This Christmas, Bright Beginnings Childcare Centre is a collection point for Share the Dignity’s #ITSINTHEBag campaign. Share the Dignity helps restore the dignity of women who are escaping domestic violence, experiencing unemployment, poverty or homelessness by providing sanitary items. The #ITSINTHEBag campaign aims to give the gift of a little luxury to women experiencing hardship this Christmas. The campaign asks Australians to donate a handbag they no longer use and fill it with items that would make a woman feel special. A beautiful parent from our service named Michelle organised and

promoted the drive. We collected handbags from families and other members of the community filled with toiletries and other personal items. Everyone has been so generous and we were overwhelmed with the volume of donations; each bag filled with love and practical items. Other organisations in our community also got involved including Prince Charles Hospital Emergency Department, the local Red Hatters Society group and Ray White Aspley. I believe this drive was such a success because we could personally give to one person; to make a person’s day

easier; to not create a stigma or label; to simply send a message that “you are valued”. This year, we also participated in raising funds for RSPCA, Mitochondrial Disease, Queensland Cancer Council and our local women’s housing group. I believe that we are more than a childcare centre, we are a collection of people that genuinely care for our community. If you would like to know more about Share the Dignity, go to



Educator in Profile Lynne Rea is the Educational Leader & Early Childhood Teacher at Little Scholars School of Early Learning.

“I believe in a community of learners and the environment being the third teacher.” What inspired you to forge a career in early childhood education and care?

How would you describe your early childhood philosophy?

From a young age, I have always been interested in child development and watching children engaged in exploring their environments. It fascinated me how most children can adapt to their surroundings and soak up everything around them – it still does to this day.

My philosophy aligns with the Reggio Emilia approach to teaching. I believe in a community of learners and the environment being the third teacher. It is so important for children to have many opportunities to lead their own learning through exploring the environment around them, as they are alongside others. I believe that children should be respected and given responsibilities as they learn. I love The One Hundred Languages of Children by Loris Malaguzzi (founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach), to me this encompasses all that a child is thinking and doing.

Why are you passionate about early childhood? I am passionate about those ‘lightbulb’ moments, watching and observing when children ‘get it’ and show delight in getting it. The joy that children display in these moments is a pleasure to be a part of.



What do you find rewarding about working in the early childhood sector? I find it rewarding when the children have those special moments with you – they come up beside you and place their hand in yours or they just sit on your lap, not even saying anything. I also find it rewarding watching them head off to Prep and be excited to carry on to that next step in their learning and development, knowing that perhaps I have had a small part in shaping how they learn and grow that love of learning as they find their own way to independence. What is your biggest challenge as an educator? What strategies do you put in place to manage these challenges?


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Call ECTARC QLD today on 07 3345 8272. I find the biggest challenge is making the time to ensure that all children are having their needs met within the learning environment. It is often difficult when you have a large group of children to ensure that you are having time with each individual child and supporting them in their learning and discovery. I often find myself stepping back for a moment and looking at my own practices, and reflecting on how I can ensure that all children are feeling a part of the environment and reaching their potential. We often reflect on the ways we are doing certain tasks and see if we can reduce our workload or change the process to be more efficient. Often, we get caught up in doing tasks that don’t add a lot of value so we are encouraged to review this and spend time on tasks that benefit the children and the program. How have the challenges you faced helped you to grow as an early childhood educator? I believe that the challenges have shaped me as an early childhood educator to be more passionate to

challenge children to a higher level of exploration, as I spend time with each individual child and get to know how they learn. What role do families play within the program you deliver? How do you engage them? Families play a huge part in the program, we are a community of learners and each family brings with them a set of cultural values from their own backgrounds and their home. It is so important to have family involvement in the program so that as an Educator I am better able to work alongside children so they are able to reach their full potential, and to be able to provide a safe, caring, nurturing learning environment where both children and families feel they have a place. Families are engaged through an open-door policy and open communication policy. They have many opportunities to contribute to the program and I am always open to meet their aspirations for their child. What is the most important skill you hope to develop in the children you care for?

As children leave my care, the most important skill I want them to have developed is a positive attitude towards learning and life, to grow and develop at their own pace and realise that it is ok to not be like everyone else. Above all I want children to develop a sense of empathy towards others and be capable, confident and competent young people who grow into strong, caring adults. What advice would you give to someone who wishes to start a career in early childhood education and care? Never underestimate your ability to have a positive influence on a child’s life. If you have a passion for early childhood education, be the best you can be and put your all into it. Be willing to work hard and take advice and guidance when offered, and never be afraid to ask! nding your outsta If you want red in our atu educator fe tact us on n co , e in z a email to mag or send an 6 6 3 2 8 0 8 3 7 0 realliance.o qld@childca EARLY EDITION > SUMMER 2016 19

Quality: It’s on for young and old! Steve Collier > Penelope Care



Australian early education is just warming to their National Quality Framework (NQF) journey. Perhaps it’s reassuring to know that others already tread similar paths. My background is in aged care. Specifically, in designing and operating connected systems for measuring and improving quality of care. The opportunity to enter this niche area stemmed from the introduction of a mandated framework for providers to comply with in 1999. A situation not dissimilar to that faced by Australian early education services in adapting to the NQF. Having a young family, I first identified with this through a feeling of déjà vu when chatting with the early educators our family relies on. Drawing on this, I launched project Penelope Care in 2014 to better understand the unique challenges faced by the industry in a hope to help overcome them. Our research since reinforces the parallels faced by two industries; caring for atrisk people at either ends of the age spectrum as they’re pushed to comply in raising the bar. By comparison from the outset the positives for early education were clear. The National Quality Standards (NQS) have been carefully considered to avoid a key issue faced in aged care. The NQS are broad enough to be relevant for a range of emerging service types. To explain, aged care has diversified into home care and is increasingly linked with other streams such as disability and mental health care. It’s commonplace for organisations to deliver two or more streams where each is governed by a different framework and body. They’re drowning in red tape. Only recently has stronger discussion progressed around consolidation into a Single Quality Framework. Early education services have voiced concerns around the lack of direction provided within the NQS. Conversely, the aged care standards have been criticised for being unnecessarily prescriptive. Being across both, it’s clear that the NQS were deliberately drafted to also avoid the pitfalls of ‘one size fits all’ models. Providers have the freedom to create systems and processes that are the right fit for their culture, people, families and children in meeting expectations of quality.

A shared frustration across both spaces is the administrative burden placed on providers in the mandatory documentation of Quality Improvement Plans (QIP). Improvement always takes time; however, providers also often overlook opportunities to proactively reduce this. They will voice their concerns from within their comfort zones. ‘Going through the motions’, waiting for the governing agency, or someone else, to provide a better way. However, there’s no obligation for providers to use any specified system, process or QIP template. The NQF also provides great, yet often unrecognised, incentive for innovation. One reason why I feel innovation is overlooked is the path career progression often follows in care and development focussed spaces. Caring, person-centred people are elevated into roles inclusive of or specialising in ‘quality’. Justification can include performance, time served and even ‘being good at paperwork’. Rarely is it because of a specific background, skills or qualifications within the field of continuous quality improvement. They accept and do the best they can to adapt from following plans and reacting to the changing needs of individuals to being expected to proactively set programs designed to drive wholesale organisational improvement. Even riskier is when people operate within a culture focussed more on ‘controlling’ quality. Although those are becoming rarer through awareness, there are still environments where gaps identified are treated more like admissions of liability rather than opportunities to improve. Where people are reluctant to contribute for fear of reprimand which creates the incentive to take shortcuts rather than consider preventions. Symptoms can include a limited QIP containing mostly strengths.

approach can be justified and so is cyclically repeated. Accreditation forces poorer performing services to lift their game to at least meet a minimum standard. Consumers can better evaluate between services and enjoy a level of confidence in the quality of their chosen service. Positively, the NQF allows recognising services who ‘exceed’ expectations. Naturally, providers adjust their sights to ‘exceeding’ as their target. Techniques are shared as they prepare accordingly and most are soon scoring bullseyes. After 17 years, up to 98% of aged care services routinely achieve compliance. While reassured that any decision they make will come with minimum safeguards in place, consumers have little other information available to distinguish between the quality of care provided. Subsequently, in more recent years, many more providers have altered their aim to shoot for the stars. Their motivation to improve isn’t out of obligation, but for the continued enhancement of resident outcomes. To achieve this, they innovate; adopting systems and tools that facilitate honest self-assessment and an efficient, evidence based approach to informing their QIPs. Data is often volunteered for benchmarking and results proactively used to better inform consumers while opening an opportunity to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market. Aligning with the NQF is an involved process often involving an inward focus. Creativity and innovation are key to efficient improvement. And don’t discount the occasional look out - the experiences of others might inspire a better path forward for your service.

Such factors contribute to why the announcement of an assessment often evokes stress. Services are mostly unprepared and their people must now react quickly - all while feeling they’re under the microscope. If the service is accredited, this



7 Simple steps to sustainable energy for your childcare centre How your centre can make big energy improvements, without spending big bucks Alina Dini > Verdia



We live in exciting times. The world is mobilising to tackle the great environmental problems of our age – including global warming, coral reef bleaching, and the loss of plant and animal diversity. In Queensland, the State Government has just announced pathways to enable 50 per cent of our energy to come from renewable sources by 2030. Early childhood educators have an important role to play – both in safeguarding the future of the planet for future generations; and in educating children about living sustainably. In the words of early childhood commentator and educator, Anne Stonehouse, “One of the most significant responsibilities that [early childhood] professionals have is to support children to retain the sense of awe and wonder that they are born with, to add to that a desire to nurture and protect what is beautiful, and to encourage them to appreciate that there are many possibilities for honouring life and wonders that the world holds.” Sustainability is a big part of the Early Years Learning Framework and the National Quality Standard (NQS). To meet Standard 3.3, childcare centres need to operate more sustainably, as well as increasing childrens’ understanding about their responsibility to care for the environment. But improving environmental outcomes can seem like a huge task to childcare centre operators. A typical childcare setting will use many consumables including paper towels, nappies, tissues and wet wipes; and will have air-conditioning running all day during the warmer months. Despite the difficulties, many centres are rising to the challenge. For example, Luke Touhill’s series of videos on embedding sustainable practice show Mount Gravatt Kindergarten in Brisbane, where there are rainwater tanks for irrigating the garden, and disused materials being ‘upcycled’ - such as an old conveyor belt for a slide. Another centre profiled by Touhill, C&K Redlands Community Kindergarten, has cut energy usage in half by installing solar panels. According to Centre Director, Margaret Sear, the typical household in Redlands uses 21kWh of electricity each day, while

the centre (much larger than the average household) is running at 14kWh. Behavioural changes such as turning off lights have also contributed to this result. Of course, there’s also a financial benefit to reducing energy usage. When operating costs are significantly reduced (for example, by cutting energy bills in half), the funds that are saved can be reallocated to programs and projects that enhance education outcomes. If your centre has implemented behavioural changes such as turning lights off; but not considered energy efficiency technology such as lighting or solar panels - you could be missing a trick. And it is much easier and more cost-effective than you’d imagine to implement these technologies. To help you consider how your centre could approach energy sustainability, we’ve put together seven simple steps. 1. Have a good look at your energy bill – what tariff are you on? With increased competition amongst retailers, it pays to negotiate a better rate. Call your energy retailer and see what they can do for you. 2. Lighting typically comprises 40 per cent of your energy costs. You can reduce this by switching to more energy efficient lighting such as LED or CFL bulbs. While there’s a cost to upgrading, LEDs can pay for themselves in less than five years. 3. Another way to save on your electricity bills is to generate your own energy on site. Childcare centres can benefit from solar because they typically use the most energy during the day, which is when solar systems are generating energy from the sun.

4. If you are considering installing solar panels, make sure you get a solar system that is the right size for your energy usage needs. Many solar providers will help you estimate what size system you will need at no cost to you. 5. Struggling to pay upfront? Thanks to the government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation, many banks are able to provide finance for energy systems at lower rates than ever; and with no upfront cash required. Typically the savings you make on your energy bills cover the finance repayments and still allow for a saving on your monthly bill. So your operating costs go down straight away. 6. Unfortunately the quality of solar and energy efficient solutions can vary dramatically between suppliers, and it’s difficult to know which solution is right for you. Don’t go with the first equipment provider that approaches you – consult a trusted advisor to get a recommendation. 7. As well as saving money and the environment, installing a solar and energy efficient solution at your centre can provide a real-world learning opportunity. Think about how you can engage children and the community to learn about the renewable energy system that powers your centre. To learn more about what you can do to take control of your energy costs, visit or


Have you planned your party properly? The Meridian Lawyers Team

As the end of the year swiftly approaches, along with it comes the inevitable festive season celebrations of office parties and other functions. Although it is a time to celebrate the year that was and recognise the hard work by staff, employers need to ensure that adequate planning has been done. The best way to minimise the risk of a legal hangover is to: • Send a reminder to all staff on the day of the function reminding them of the expected behaviour and their responsibilities at the party. • Set a clear start and finish time for the function. • Ensure responsible service of alcohol guidelines are adhered to. • Make sure food and non-alcoholic drinks are also served. • Appoint someone from management to be responsible for monitoring employees’ behaviour at the party and also oversee the responsible service of alcohol.



The Morning After… So you’ve followed these steps and everyone has had a great time – or so you think! Then the day after the party you find out some employees enjoyed themselves a little too much. What do you do now? It is important to remember that allegations regarding conduct at any function organised and funded by an employer should be dealt with the same as any other allegation of misconduct. The allegations must be investigated, put clearly and unambiguously to the employee to respond to and then a decision made based on all of the information and evidence at hand. It is important that consideration is given to things such as the amount of alcohol served and the manner

in which it was served, whether there was a clear finish time for the function, did the misconduct occur at the function or did it occur after the function had finished? These are all important factors and have been highlighted in the decision of the Fair Work Commission in Keenan v Leighton Boral Amey Joint Venture [2015] FWC 3156. The relevant facts in the case were: • Leighton Boral Amey Joint Venture (LBAJV) was Mr Keenan’s employer. • LBAJV organised and funded a Christmas function on 12 December 2014. • The function was held in a private room at a local hotel and there was an agreement between LBAJV and the Hotel that food and alcohol

would be served between the hours of 6pm and 10pm and that the Hotel would adhere to the responsible service of alcohol. • An email was sent to staff on the day of the function reminding them that company policies must be followed and that they should enjoy the function responsibly. • Mr Keenan consumed a considerable amount of alcohol at the function but was at no point refused service. • At the function, it was alleged that Mr Keenan: ·· verbally abused a Director of LBAJV by telling him to “f… off”. ·· asked another employee “who the f… are you?” ·· asked another employee for her phone number. • At 10pm the function finished. A number of staff members (including Mr Keenan) went to the Hotel’s public bar area and continued consuming alcohol that they purchased themselves. • At the public bar, Mr Keenan: ·· grabbed hold of another employee’s face and kissed her on the mouth without warning and without her consent. ·· told the employee that he was “going to go home and dream about you tonight”.

• At approximately 11pm when leaving the bar and waiting for a taxi, Mr Keenan said to another female employee “my mission tonight is to find out what colour knickers you have on”. • A number of employees complained to LBAJV about Mr Keenan’s conduct. • A formal meeting was held with Mr Keenan and his representative on 18 December 2014 to allow him to respond to the allegations. • The allegations were not, however, put to Mr Keenan in a complete and clear manner. For example, one allegation put to Mr Keenan was ‘sexual harassment of Ms O’Reilly’. This incident involved Mr Keenan forcefully kissing Ms O’Reilly without her consent. • LBAJV made the decision to terminate Mr Keenan’s employment and relied on his conduct of sexually harassing the two fellow employees at the public bar after the function as the reason for making the decision. The Fair Work Commission found that, although there was a valid reason for termination, Mr Keenan’s dismissal was unfair and alternatives to termination were available and should have been considered. The Commission found that Mr Keenan’s misconduct did not have any significant ongoing workplace consequence. Given the misconduct relied upon for termination occurred in

a public section of the Hotel after the function had finished, the Commission found that the misconduct was not relevant to LBAJV as an employer as it was not within the place of work and did not significantly impact on LBAJV or its employees. Further, the Commission also found that the copious amounts of alcohol provided by LBAJV was a mitigating factor for Mr Keenan’s behaviour. Tips • Plan the function properly by ensuring the tips above are followed. • If there are allegations that an employee has acted inappropriately at a work function, ensure the allegations are investigated carefully. • Consider whether the misconduct took place at the function or after the function finished. • Make sure the allegations put to the employee are clear, detailed and unambiguous. • Consider whether the misconduct is serious enough to warrant dismissal or if other disciplinary action would be more appropriate. If you would like more information or advice in relation to an employment issue, please contact Leanne Dearlove on (07) 3220 9365 or email


Are you GHS ready? The Suppleyes Team

Changes are coming to the way that cleaning products are labelled. This will impact on your childcare business, so you need to be aware to ensure you’re compliant. From 1 January 2017, Workplace Health and Safety legislation will make it mandatory for all cleaning products and chemicals in the workplace to comply with new international standards. These standards are referred to as the Globally Harmonised System (GHS). To be compliant, you need to ensure that when purchasing cleaning products, they meet the GHS labelling. What is GHS? The Globally Harmonised System (GHS) was created by the United Nations in order to create a single worldwide system for chemical classification, labelling and Safety Data Sheets (SDS, previously Material Safety Data Sheets). The system ensures that users are provided with practical, reliable and easy to understand information on chemical hazards, and can take appropriate preventive and protective measures for their health and safety. What is going to change? The GHS will standardise pictograms, signal words, and hazard and



precautionary statements. There are nine hazard pictograms in total which represent the physical, health and environmental hazards. All ingredients will need to be listed in order of the highest product percentage. This will allow you to make informed decisions and make more accurate comparisons between the products you choose for your service. When will the GHS take effect?

be re-labelled or disposed of however end users are encouraged to: • ensure safe systems of work are in place to manage the risks associated with hazardous chemicals in the workplace • review their chemical inventory and dispose of chemicals which are out of date or no longer used, and

The GHS becomes mandatory on 1 January 2017 for all Australian States.

• talk to chemical suppliers to ensure GHS labelled stock is received from 1 January 2017.

Who will GHS affect?

Are there any exemptions?

The largest impact has been to manufacturers, importers and suppliers of hazardous chemicals. They have had three years to ensure that they had enough time to reclassify chemicals and implement necessary changes to labels and SDS.

Chemicals that are used in childcare services in volume and ways that are equivalent to household use, and are used in a way that is incidental to the work that is being carried out, do not need to be labelled in accordance with the GHS. These products are referred to as Consumer products and their labelling falls under the Poisons Standard and the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989.

End users will also be affected. From 1 January 2017 onwards, childcare services must only accept hazardous chemicals which have been classified and labelled in accordance with the GHS. Existing stock is not required to

Cleaning products in your service that you use for regular cleaning activities

come under GHS. You cannot use consumer labelled products for these activities. How will this new system be beneficial for me? The GHS will now allow childcare services to make informed decisions about the chemicals they use. The more pictograms on a product indicates the product is more hazardous to the health of the children, the staff and the environment. For example, a bottle of cleaning chemical that has five of the new standard pictograms on the label: a flame representing flammable, a skull and cross bones representing a health hazard, a tube of acid burning a hole representing corrosive, a body being radiated representing chronic health hazard and a tree dying representing an environmental hazard. Is that really a cleaning chemical that should be in a childcare service? Considerations for your Service If you are buying cleaning chemicals from suppliers that are not communicating with your service

Consequences of non-compliance

about this change coming along on 1 January 2017 then your service may be at risk of non-compliance with Workplace Health and Safety legislation.

Breaches of the GHS labelling requirements will be prosecuted under Workplace, Health and Safety legislation. This can result in onthe-spot fines through to significant fines of up to $3M for serious breaches.

While old stocks of cleaning chemicals in your childcare service are not required to be re-labelled under the GHS, suppliers and manufactures that are actively communicating with you and provide you with new labels are going above and beyond the regulatory requirements to ensure you’re not exposed.

In addition to fines, breaches under Workplace Health and Safety legislation can attract unwanted negative publicity.

Also be mindful that if services are using retail outlets to purchase cleaning products, there is a significant chance that these products’ labels will not be compliant. As the new standards don’t apply to products used in the home, many products sold in retail outlets will not meet GHS standards. Using these products for normal cleaning activities with non GHS standard labels will put a service into a breach of Workplace Health and Safety.

For further information, you can refer to the Safe Work Australian website or contact Suppleyes - specialists in early years education supplies on 07 5539 1668 or Earth Renewable - The Healthy Childcare Cleaning Company on 1300 307 755. These companies meet all GHS labelling requirements now. In addition they manufacture or distribute cleaning products that do not contain Signal Words, Hazard Statements or Pictograms making them suitable for your Early Learning Service.

Specialist Suppliers to Early Learning Institutions FREE GHS Compliance Guide



Art & Craft



When you work with a dedicated industry supplier, you can be confident they know what’s important to your industry. With over 2,000 products that have been carefully selected for early learning centres, you’ll have piece of mind that the products meet your needs.

Need help identifying if your cleaning products meet the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)? Call us today to book a FREE assessment plus you’ll receive our FREE guide to ensure you remain compliant.

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