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Family Handbook


Our philosophy Building Capacity YMCA has a role in building the capacity of those whose lives we work with. Developing the whole child YMCA strives for the highest quality education and care, assisting each child to maximise their learning outcomes.


Providing high quality, evidence-informed practice YMCA enables children to identify their own learning interests and needs and supports them as they develop and grow.


1. Welcome to the family  Children’s Programs  Our Educators 2. Enrolment & Bookings 3. Early Learning  Orientation  What to Bring  Arrival & Departure  Education  Sessional Kinder 4. Before & After School Program  Orientation  What to Bring  Arrival & Departure  Education  School Holiday Program 5. Administration & Accounts 6. Cancellations 7. Policies & Procedures


Welcome to the family! We are thrilled to welcome your family to YMCA Children’s Programs! Our Children’s Programs include early learning, before and after school programs and school holiday programs. Our programs aim to support, nurture and encourage your child’s development throughout the beginning of their early education.

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Who we are YMCA is a community not-for-profit organisation meaning all that we receive is put back into improving our programs and services, and to assist members of our community to access to our programs. YMCA Victoria has been working with young people ever since we became a part of the community in 1853. We passionately believe in the power of inspired young people, and at YMCA Children’s Programs, we are committed to enriching the lives of every child by providing a warm and secure environment where they can thrive.

In this handbook This handbook contains a lot of information you will need to know while your family is enrolled in our programs. Please ensure you read and understand all the sections of this handbook. If you have any further questions or feedback about anything in this handbook, please feel free to talk with the team at your centre. If you require information in languages other than English, please contact your Centre Manager or Program Coordinator.

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Our Educators Our purpose and motivation each day is to enrich the early years of your child, ensuring they feel confident, happy and connected. As parents and guardians, you play the most significant role in the education of your child and we look forward to working together to encourage their development and growth.

Interactive supervision Our educators actively supervise your child at all times with effective and consistent communication, systems, policies and procedures. We know that actively playing alongside the children is the best way to supervise, respond and promote positive interactions and learning.

Our standards Children are supervised at all times such as during play, transitions, toileting, mealtimes and at sleep/rest. Our educators position themselves for maximum supervision of small and large groups of children. All of our programs maintain educator to child ratios and it is our policy that, as a minimum, two educators are on duty at all times in a program. This policy exceeds the minimum staffing requirements of the Education and Care Services National Law and helps ensure your child is safe.

Qualifications and expertise All of our dedicated and energetic educators: 99Have an educational qualification in Children’s Services. 99Are trained to Senior Level 2 First Aid including: • CPR • Asthma management • Anaphylaxis 99Regularly undergo Child Protection and Mandatory Reporting training. 99Have a current Working with Children Check. Both our Integrated and Sessional Kindergarten programs are delivered by a Bachelor of Education qualified teacher.

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Enrolment & Bookings It is easy to manage your bookings using the My Family Lounge portal. Head to www.childrensprograms.ymca.org.au/sign-in to sign in. The My Family Lounge portal is where you can: 99Update your enrolment details including billing information and contacts 99Manage your permanent bookings 99Add casual bookings as needed My Family Lounge is also available to download as an easy-to-use app on Apple or Android phones and tablets. Your My Family Lounge account can manage multiple children, across our different programs including Early Learning, Before and After School programs and School Holiday programs. We understand flexibility is important to our families, so our Early Learning Centres and Before and After School programs both offer permanent and casual bookings.

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Permanent Bookings Booking permanent days of care with us ensures your child a guaranteed place, this helps give them a sense of stability and belonging to their environment. Once you have created your My Family Lounge account, head to ‘Create a Booking Request’ and select your preferred start date along with the days you would like your child to attend. Pending availability, we will send you an ‘Offer of Place’ within 4 weeks of your preferred start date. Once you accept the offer your child will be officially enrolled and our Centre Team will be in touch with you to discuss orientation options. Permanently booked days cannot be sold or swapped but you may request a change of permanent days by emailing our centre or speaking with your Centre Manager about availabilities.

Casual Bookings We understand that families need flexibility in their options for childcare. We offer you the ability to make casual bookings, with or without permanent days. A booking can be made easily through your My Family Lounge account. Simply sign in, click ‘Add Casual Booking’ and follow the quick steps. Once a casual booking is confirmed, it will appear purple on your calendar. A casual booking fee applies, however the entire amount is eligible for government subsidies. We try to accommodate all requests; however casual bookings are entirely subject to availability. To ensure every child’s safety, our programs will not operate above the licensed number of places for each room or above the legal child to staff ratio.

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Casual Bookings made with more than 24 hours’ notice: 99Bookings are entirely subject to availability. Each room in our centre has a limited number of places (as per our license) and we do not operate over these numbers. 99Bookings made into another room due to limited availability in your regular room is not possible. If you do book your child into another room (other than their regular room or the one appropriate for their age), we retain the right to cancel your booking (to maintain the best program and ensure we are adhering to our license) or you may be asked to collect your child. 99Permanent bookings take precedent over casual bookings. If a permanent booking is made for the day of your casual booking, we will give you first right of refusal in changing yours to a permanent booking. If you do not wish to change your booking to permanent, we will give you two weeks’ notice that your booking is being cancelled.

Casual Bookings made with less than 24 hours’ notice: 99We will always try to accommodate your booking, however bookings are entirely subject to availability. 99To ensure we maintain educator to child ratios, in some cases we may not be able to accept bookings made with less than 24 hours’ notice. We will do everything we can to accommodate your request, but in some instances we may not be able to find educators to ensure we remain in ratio. We do not operate outside ratio and appreciate your understanding in these cases. 99Making casual bookings into another room (that is not your child’s regular room) is not possible. If you book into another room, your booking may be cancelled or you may be asked to collect your child.

Cancellations: Casual bookings, like any other type of booking require families to give notice if the booking is being cancelled for any reason. We require you to give 7 days’ written notice (e.g. an email to the centre) of a casual booking cancellation. Any casual bookings made with less than 7 days until the day of care, cannot be cancelled without incurring the program fee (less any child care subsidies). If you are unsure if you are making a casual booking in the correct room, or have any questions regarding the information in this document – please contact your centre directly.

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Waitlist When a room or program reaches capacity, a waitlist will be maintained for enrolled families seeking additional or a change of days, and for new families requiring care. The list will be maintained in accordance with Priority of Access specifications (which can be found in the policies and procedures section) and in date order of enquiry. It is your family’s responsibility to inform the YMCA of any changes to personal information or care requirements during the waiting period.

Holiday Discounts (Early Learning Programs Only) Our Centres offer families accessing Long Day Care and Integrated Kindergarten on a permanent basis, a reduced fee of 50% for up to 2 weeks per calendar year. This can be taken in either one or two week blocks (only), with two weeks written notice. For example, a family with a permanent Monday to Friday booking would be eligible to receive a 50% discount on the cost of care for that week. Likewise, a family with a permanent booking on a Monday (only) would receive a 50% discount for that day only. This is based on a calendar year and is not accrued into the following year. It is not available for families attending Sessional Kindergarten, Before and After School programs or School Holiday programs.

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Early Learning Early Learning is a place where every experience presents an opportunity to grow. Your child will be encouraged and provided with opportunities to take on challenges, try new things, explore risky-play, and most of all have fun, all within a safe and supportive learning environment. Our early learning programs allow your child to explore and learn in an environment that is designed to support their specific needs, interests and developmental areas. As your child grows through our programs, they will develop greater social skills, a deeper sense of belonging, confidence, resilience and so much more. Our early learning programs also support your child to create a lifelong enthusiasm for learning.

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Hours Our YMCA Early Learning Centres are open Monday to Friday between 11 and 12 hours a day and only close on official public holidays. Speak with our centre team for more details on our centre’s specific operating hours.

Settling In Starting care is a very exciting time but can also be emotional for your family. Every child will deal with the change in routine differently and in order to prepare them for the transition to childcare, our centres offers a flexible orientation period to suit you and your family. Orientation will give your child an opportunity to familiarise themselves with our centre, educators (including their room leader), other children at the centre and our programs. Orientation at our centre involves a number of short visits, in the time before your child starts care. The number of visits and the length can be adapted to each families needs. As a parent or guardian, you are required to stay with your child during these visits. Orientation is a great time to have a conversation with your child’s educators about your child’s individual routines, current interests, learning and development goals. Beyond orientation, educators are always willing to discuss your child’s health and development, strengths and interests with you. This can be done informally during arrival or pick-up, or a formal appointment can be made.

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What We Provide 99Nappies 99All meals Including breakfast, morning tea, lunch and snacks throughout the day. 99Linen for sleeping 99Sunscreen 99Milk (including milk alternative options such as soy) 99Toys and educational resources Providing interesting and ever-changing environments and resources for children to explore is an ideal way to develop their curiosity and to talk about things they have discovered. We prefer, where possible, to use toys and resources made of natural materials.

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What to Bring 99A change of clothes We run an indoor/outdoor program, so a change of clothes is needed in case your child gets wet, or dirty. For children who are undertaking toilet training, several changes of clothing may be needed. 99A hat We recommend the legionnaire style hat which has a brim at the front and a flap at the back. Otherwise a broad-brimmed or bucket style hat is also suitable. Caps are not ideal for outdoor play. 99A comfort item such as a soft toy or blanket Children are welcome to bring a comfort item with them, however we ask that toys such as electronic games, dress up items including jewellery, remain at home. Breakage or loss of toys can cause distress to the children. All lost or damaged items are the responsibility of families. 99Baby formula If required, please bring formula powder in an air-tight container. Pre-prepared bottles of formula cannot be accepted by the centre for health and safety reasons. 99Empty baby bottles 99An extra jumper or coat and a warm hat during the colder months

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Arrival & Departure Your Child’s Progress When you arrive at the centre, and when you pick up your child we encourage you to talk to us about how they are going at home and hear about your child’s day at the centre. This communication helps to ensure your child’s development between home and our centre is consistent and that we are making their time with us enjoyable.

Sign-in/Sign-out Procedure To ensure safety is maintained at all times, our centre follows an arrival and departure policy and procedure. All children must be signed in and out of the centre by an authorised person. The names and contact numbers of all people authorised to collect your child must be included in the child’s Enrolment Record. Any changes to these details must be given to your centre in writing or via your My Family Lounge account, as soon as possible. The person collecting your child must provide photographic identification such as a current driver’s licence.

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Late pick-up In the event that a child has not been collected before closing time, we will attempt to contact the parent/guardian on the available telephone numbers. If we are unable to make contact, the nominated emergency contacts will be phoned. If no contact has been established 30 to 45 minutes after closing time, the local police will be called to our Centre as specified in our Arrival and Departure of Children in Children’s Programs Procedure. A late fee of $2 per minute will be charged (per family) if your child remains at our centre after closing time.

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Education Our Early Learning centre provides a safe and supportive space for your child to develop independence, confidence, communication and social skills which will benefit them throughout their life. We know learning occurs naturally and that your child will thrive and learn best when their interests are incorporated into their time spent with us. To encourage this development, we plan our programs to complement your child’s passions and needs.

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Some key elements to our program include: 99Child Initiated Learning Allowing your child to guide their own learning, supporting their ideas and interests helps them feel valued, develops their individuality, communication skills and builds an enthusiasm for learning. 99Learning through play Through play, your child will organise and make sense of their world while being engaged with people, the environment and tools for learning. It is through play that your child will develop greater cognitive and social skills, allowing them to gain selfconfidence to explore new experiences and environments. 99Risk-based play Creating opportunities for your child to explore and test their capabilities in an environment that encourages them to take on challenges and develop new skills. Riskbased play supports your child to grow as a capable, resourceful and resilient being. 99Nature play and appreciation Being able to get outside and explore nature is a big part of childhood. Outdoor play and immersion in nature are essential to the health and wellbeing of your child. Exploring nature builds cognitive flexibility and creativity, boosts self-esteem and increases resilience. 99Indoor / Outdoor play All of the rooms in our centres open out to our outdoor play space and we aim to keep these doors open most times of the day. This, along with learning experiences and supervision in both the indoor and outdoor environments allows your child to explore, build on their interests and make connections to the natural environment. 99Messy play Messy play gives children the opportunity to explore objects and materials such as sand, water, chalk, paint, playdough and paste in an exploratory and unrestricted way without being constrained by the one right way to use them. Sensory experiences such as these enables your child to understand how things feel, smell and taste while supporting their physical development, curiosity, imagination, experimentation and concentration. Remember, when your child is engaged in messy play they may come home a little bit MESSY!

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National Quality Framework In our everyday practice, our programs aim to exceed the National Quality Framework (NQF). The NQF governs all early childhood and school age education and care services in Australia. This Framework is overseen by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) and ensures all services operate to a high-quality standard.

The following legislation applies to our services: 99The Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 99The Education and Care Services Regulations 2011

Enrolled in YMCA Children’s Programs, your child will: 99Have their ideas, interests and capabilities enthusiastically developed and nurtured. 99Learn from educators who receive regular training and professional development opportunities. 99Have parental feedback and insights incorporated in their care plans. 99Have their daily routines and transitions incorporated into their time in care. 99Experience the benefits of regularly audited programs. You can learn more about the NQF by visiting the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority website (www.acecqa.gov.au) or by speaking to any of our experienced educators.

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Belonging, Being and Becoming The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) describes the principles, practices and outcomes that support and enhance young children’s learning from birth to five years of age, as well as their transition to school. The Framework is a key component of the Australian Government’s National Quality Framework. The EYLF underpins universal access to early childhood education and assists educators to provide young children with opportunities to maximise their potential and development for future success in learning. The Framework forms the foundation for ensuring that children in all early childhood education and care settings experience quality teaching and learning. It has a specific emphasis on play-based learning, recognising the importance of communication, language, early literacy/numeracy, social and emotional development. The Framework conveys the highest expectations for all children’s learning. It communicates these expectations through the following five learning outcomes: 99Children have a strong sense of identity. 99Children are connected with and contribute to their world. 99Children have a strong sense of wellbeing. 99Children are confident and involved learners. 99Children are effective communicators.

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Food & Nutrition We believe that healthy, nutritious food is essential in supporting children to learn, develop and lead a happy life. Our centres provide meals and snacks prepared fresh daily by our qualified in-centre chef. We use fresh seasonal produce, many of them herbs coming from our own gardens. Our menus are reviewed weekly with an emphasis on seasonal freshness and are created in line with the Healthy Together Achievement Program and YMCA’s Healthy Food and Beverage Policy. We can cater for almost all dietary requirements including allergies, cultural and religious preferences. To instil your child with a good relationship with food and establish healthy habits early, we aim to do more than provide nutritious meals. We include food education in our programs and provide opportunities for children to have positive interactions with food through experiences such as cooking, growing herb gardens in the centre and collecting eggs from our chickens. Please note that all of YMCA Children’s Programs aim to be nut safe, so food from outside the centre is not permitted.

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Sessional Kinder A select number of our Early Learning Centres offer a 4-year-old Sessional Kindergarten Program which is different to the Integrated Kindergarten program offered within our Long Day Care service. Our Sessional Kindergarten program operates during school terms (dates determined by the Victorian Government). Children arrive and leave at the same time, supply their own lunch, and are required to meet the minimum number of contact hours per week with their Kindergarten teacher. Any local differences to the above will be communicated to families directly. Sessional Kinder allows us to cater for families within the local area, working in conjunction with Council and their central enrolment kindergarten scheme. Our Sessional Kindergarten follows the National Quality Framework and EYLF additionally encompasses a strong focus on school readiness. Sessional Kindergartens are required to have two child free days per year. These fall on the first and last days of the kinder year.

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Before & After School Programs Orientation Starting in Before and After School programs (BASP) is another big step in your child’s life. Our role each day is to provide your child and their peers a safe space before and after school to allow them to continue developing, socialising and enjoying themselves. We encourage parents and guardians to accompany their child during orientation. During this time your child can familiarise themselves with our educators, other children in the program and learn what to expect during their time with us.

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What We Provide 99Healthy meals including breakfast (Before School program), afternoon tea (After School program) and healthy snacks. 99Sunscreen. 99Toys and educational resources. 99Sports equipment.

What to Bring 99Any homework you wish your child to complete during this time. 99SunSafe Hat. 99An extra jumper or coat and a warm hat during the colder months.

During each program, we aim to cater to the needs of all children and offer a range of enjoyable activities including: 99Sports, ball games and team games. 99Arts and crafts. 99Cooking. 99Creative and expressive arts such as drama, singing and dancing. 99Board games and puzzles. 99Homework time. 99Gardening and recycling.

Food & Nutrition Nutritious food is essential for your child to be able to concentrate in school and help them develop properly. Our programs provide healthy meals and snacks to your child which follow the Healthy Together Achievement Program and YMCA’s Healthy Food and Beverage Policy. We can cater for almost all dietary requirements including allergies, cultural and religious preferences. Please note that our programs aim to be nut safe so food from outside the service is not permitted during our Before and After School programs.

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Arrival & Departure Your Child’s Progress When you arrive at the program, and when you pick your child up we encourage you to talk to us about how they are going at home and hear about your child’s day at the program. This communication helps to ensure your child’s development between home and our program is consistent and that we are making their time with us enjoyable.

Sign-in/Sign-out Procedure To ensure safety is maintained at all times, our centre follows an arrival and departure policy and procedure. All children must be signed in and out of the program by an authorised person. The names and contact numbers of all people authorised to collect your child must be included in the child’s Enrolment Record. Any changes to these details must be given to your program in writing or via your My Family Lounge account, as soon as possible. The person collecting your child must provide photographic identification such as a current driver’s licence.

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Late pick-up In the event that a child has not been collected before closing time, we will attempt to contact the parent/guardian on the available telephone numbers. If we are unable to make contact, the nominated emergency contacts will be phoned. If no contact has been established 30 to 45 minutes after closing time, the local police will be called to our program as specified in our Arrival and Departure of Children in Children’s Programs Procedure. A late fee of $2 per minute will be charged (per family) if your child remains at our program after closing time.

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Education When enrolled in our BASP, your child continues their development outside of school through other forms of learning. Through activities, children extend their learning by using their cognitive development in different capacities than just thinking, but by actually doing. Learning in the BASP focuses on problem-solving by learning to regulate their own emotions and how to resolve conflict with their peers. This learning supports children’s ongoing development giving them life skills

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National Quality Framework In our everyday practice, our programs aim to exceed the National Quality Framework (NQF). The NQF governs all early childhood and school age education and care services in Australia. This framework is overseen by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) and ensures all services operate to a high-quality standard. The following legislation applies to our services: 99The Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 99The Education and Care Services Regulations 2011

Enrolled in YMCA Children’s Programs, your child will: 99Have their ideas, interests and capabilities enthusiastically developed and nurtured. 99Learn from educators who receive regular training and professional development opportunities. 99Have parental feedback and insights incorporated in their care plans. 99Have their daily routines and transitions incorporated into their time in care. 99Experience the benefits of regularly audited programs. You can learn more about the NQF by visiting the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority website (www.acecqa.gov.au) or by speaking to any of our experienced educators.

My Time, Our Place The My Time, Our Place Framework for School Age Care in Australia supports the ongoing development of children in school-age care services. It ensures that they have opportunities to participate in leisure and play-based activities that are responsive to their needs, interests, and choices. The Framework conveys high expectations for all children’s play and leisure activities in school-age care settings. It communicates these expectations through the following five outcomes: 99Children have a strong sense of identity. 99Children are connected with and contribute to their world. 99Children have a strong sense of wellbeing. 99Children are confident and involved learners. 99Children are effective communicators.

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School Holiday Programs We run holiday programs between each school term for primary school aged children. These programs are open to all families, regardless of if they attend our before and after school programs. Our holiday programs are full of stimulating and engaging activities for children, run by our energetic educators. Each day includes an exciting planned activity which is either a centrebased day, incursion or excursion. If an incursion or excursion is unable to run due to unforeseen circumstances (e.g. weather), an alternative activity will be organised. If a replacement incursion/excursion is unable to be planned in time, families will only be charged for an in-centre day. Children participating in incursions can enjoy the main program of the day, and are also offered other activities such as: 99Art & craft 99Puzzles/board games 99Book/quiet corner 99Music & movement area 99Outdoor/physical space 99Science, nature & sensory activities The School Holiday Program is released approximately 5 weeks before the end of term and informs you of the program and prices for each day. You can book days in the holiday program via the My Family Lounge online portal or app. If you are eligible, you can claim for childcare subsidies, meaning the out of pocket expense for you can be less than advertised. Please ensure children are dressed appropriately for the weather and the programmed activity for the day. Please bring the following to any School Holiday Program: 99Lunch & snacks (nutritious & nut-free) 99Water bottle 99SunSafe hat

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Administration & Accounts The Children’s Programs Administration team look after the day-to-day management of your account. This includes: 99 Fees and charges applied to your account. 99 Submitting your attendance information to Centrelink through the online Child Care Subsidy Scheme (CCSS). For any assistance in regards to these, you can contact this team on 8371 0500 or by emailing childrensservices.vic@ymca.org.au

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Assistance with Payments The government can assist with the cost of child care. To find out if you are eligible for assistance and the Child Care Subsidy (CCS), visit the Department of Human Services website www.humanservices.gov.au/childcare. Please note that Centrelink automatically withhold five percent of payments throughout the year, to be paid at end of financial year with your tax reconciliation.

Statements & Fees You will be emailed a statement fortnightly on a Monday. This statement reflects: 99The fees that will be debited for permanently booked days of care and any additional casual days (booked at the time the statement is released) for the next fortnight. 99An estimation of the subsidies you may be entitled to. 99The two fortnights of payments made and subsidies approved. The calculation of your fees also incorporates your estimated individual Child Care Subsidy (CCS) approval by Centrelink and/or other government entitlements to your account. The amount payable by you is located at the top-right hand side of the statement and is debited on the Thursday of the same week. For our Early Learning programs, your regular daily fee will be charged on public holidays for the days you are normally booked into on a permanent weekly basis. No fees are charged on public holidays for anyone enrolled in Before and After School programs. If a public holiday falls on the first or last day of your care, it is counted as an absence by Centrelink and will therefore be charged as a full fee (no CCS will apply for those days). Postage fees, dishonour or non-payment fees and late pick-up fees may also apply. These additional charges are not covered by government funding or subsidies. Please note it is the account holder/guardians responsibility to ensure that Centrelink and YMCA Children’s Programs have the correct information to ensure the accurate management of your account. To check your details (including working hours, family structure, and number of children in care) are correct and to make changes, sign in to your MyGov account at www.my.gov.au and your My Family Lounge account at www.childrensprograms.ymca.org.au/sign-in Statements, where requested or where an email address is not provided, will be sent by mail and incur a $2 postage fee.

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Approved Absences Centrelink allocates 42 approved absence days of CCS per child per year. If you have exceeded your 42 days of approved absences per child per year, full fees will be charged to your account for any days that your child is marked as absent regardless of reason. Absences over the 42 days will only receive CCS if you provide evidence to the centre of: 99An illness (with a medical certificate). 99An outbreak of infectious disease when the child is not immunised. 99Any other absences due to sickness of the child, a parent or sibling, supported by medical certificates. 99A temporary closure of a school or pupil free day (not including public holidays). 99A period of local emergency. 99Exceptional circumstances that must be approved by Centrelink.

End of Year Accounts All accounts must be finalised at least two weeks prior to the end of the calendar year to be eligible for re-enrolment. You must check your statements and contact the administration team to discuss payment if you have any outstanding amounts prior to returning to care the following year.

Process of managing payment difficulties, dishonours and debt We understand that from time to time families may experience financial difficulties. We rely on families to keep us informed through timely communication to ensure we are able to support you during these times. Please speak with your Centre Manager to understand if you meet the criteria to be eligible for the Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS). For Temporary Financial Hardship, Transition to Work and Grandparent payments, you must apply directly to Centrelink. In the instance that a debit from your account has been dishonoured, or in the instance of non-payment of your account prior to the due date, the YMCA will follow the Debtor Management Procedure, which can be found on our website or provided upon request.

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Reinstatement of care after suspension of account If your account is suspended and you wish to return to the service, full payment and a reinstatement fee is required before your child can be accepted back into care. Reinstatement is reliant upon a place being available at the service.

Sessional Kindergarten Fee Invoicing and Payment Fees for the Sessional Kinder program will be charged at the beginning of each term, regardless of your child’s commencement date within the term. The Child Care Subsidy does not apply to Sessional Kinder fees. Government subsidies are available for families holding a current health care card. A copy of this must be provided to the Centre Manager before the invoicing of fees. All Sessional Kindergarten fees are paid by direct debit. Payments are made prior to the start of each term according to the debit calendar which can be found online or in-centre. Families will also be advised of the date of the payments by the Centre Manager upon enrolment. Fees charged include the two required child free days per year.

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Cancellations Any cancellations or changes to permanent bookings in one of our programs requires written notice to the centre or program. Any cancellations or changes to your Early Learning booking require two week’s notice in advance of your final booking. For our Before and After School programs and Holiday programs, you must give 7 days’ written notice. Any cancellations that occur outside the relevant notice period will incur the program charge, less any childcare subsidies. Child Care Subsidies cannot be paid by Centrelink after the last day your child was physically in the program. As a result, any CCS would need to be removed on the final day/s of your child’s care, on which your child did not attend. You will be required to pay full fee if your child’s care starts or ends in an absence. The full fee would apply to the final day of absence, including any absences leading up to this final day.

Unforeseen Closures In the event of an unforeseen school closure (for example teacher industrial action, environmental or health hazard) where standard notification periods cannot be observed, families will be offered twenty-four hours, from the time notification is given, to cancel care. If care is not cancelled children will be marked as either present or absent. If the service is closed no fees will be charged.

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Policies & Procedures All our policies and procedures have been developed in accordance with the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011. Each full version of our policies are available at www.childrensprograms.ymca.org.au/policies-procedures. If you have any questions or feedback around any of these, please speak with our team.

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Priority of Access The Australian Government has Priority of Access Guidelines for Child Care Subsidy Approved services where waitlists are in place, to ensure the system for allocating places to families is fair. These guidelines are in place at each of our Centres and can be found on the Department of Education website, or you can speak with your Centre Manager for more information.

“No Jab No Pay” and “No Jab No Play” To find out more about the “No Jab No Pay” and “No Jab No Play” legislation in relation to Child Care Subsidy entitlements and immunisation requirements, visit the Department of Health and Human Services website.

Child Safe Environments The YMCA has a strong commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, upholding Child Safe Standards and the safeguarding of children and young people. Each staff member undergoes training in this area and can make a notification to the Department of Human Services Child Protection Unit where it is considered under reasonable grounds that a child is in need of protection (please see our Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy for further information).

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Custody Guardians, as stated on the enrolment form, have legal access to their child at all times unless a legally binding Parenting Order, legally binding restraining order or information and/or documentation supplied by the Police, the Department of Human Services Child Protection Unit relating to the child states otherwise. Families must ensure that there is a copy of any current, relevant, legally binding documentation relating to the child kept with the child’s records at the service.

Inclusion At the YMCA, we advocate that all children have the right to access and participate in high quality programs and services. We respect the diversity and individuality of identities and abilities and promote the benefits of inclusive practices. We work in partnership with children, families, staff and other key health professionals to ensure inclusion and a sense of belonging and empowerment in accordance with the Inclusion and Professional Support Program (IPSP). If your child requires additional support, please contact your Centre Manager/Coordinator for further information.

Anti-Bias At the YMCA we believe our staff, children, families and members of the community all make up our rich and diverse community, reflecting abilities, cultures, languages, religions from around the world. We view this as a fantastic opportunity for us to deliver an inclusive non-bias service. Staff support children with knowledge and understanding, through role modelling effective and respectful interactions.

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Confidentiality The staff at the YMCA maintain confidentiality in all matters at all times. At no stage will personal information of families and staff be given to a third party (except where required to be given to DET, DHHS or Worksafe in regards to reporting incidents, injuries or child protection matters). Staff ensure they protect children’s rights at all times. Please refer to the YMCA Victoria Privacy Policy for further detailed information.

Imagery With your permission, photographs will be taken of your child while at our service. On enrolment parents/guardians are requested to acknowledge whether you allow your child to be photographed. These photographs will be used internally at your child’s program for display and programming purposes only. If we wish to use photographs for external marketing and promotional purposes, additional written permission will be sought from families. Under no circumstances are families, staff, students or visitors allowed to take photographs or videos of the children while at the service with personal cameras or mobile phones.

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Behaviour Guidance YMCA staff regularly participate in training and professional development to support and facilitate positive behaviour and interactions. For behaviour guidance to be effective, it needs to be both positive and consistent. Through the use of positive reinforcement, acceptable behaviours are encouraged in an ongoing manner. For further information on our behaviour guidance practices, please refer to our full policy and procedure on site or on our website.

Medication, Allergies & Medical Management Plans If your child requires medication, please hand it to a staff member and complete all details on the Authorisation to Administer Medication Form upon arrival to the service. Medication should never be left in your child’s bag but physically handed to a staff member. A copy of the Administration of Medication Procedure can be found on our website. Specific information regarding medical conditions, asthma, anaphylaxis and diabetes can be found in the Medical Conditions in Children’s Programs Policy and Anaphylaxis Policy in Children’s Programs, located on our website. These policies actively support your child and family through vigilant collaboration when a medical condition must be positively catered for to support your child’s safe experience at the YMCA service. All children that have been diagnosed with any medical condition or allergy by a doctor must provide the service with a current Medical/Allergy Management Plan from your doctor outlining the nature of the health or medical condition. Details of any subsequent triggers, reaction identification information and first aid details are also required to be documented in the medical Management Plan. A Risk Minimisation Plan will then be completed in consultation with your Centre Manager/Coordinator, prior to your child attending the service. All staff are informed of individual children’s requirements, and the Medical Management Plan and Risk Minimisation Plan are available for all staff to view. Guardians are required to ensure Medical Management Plans are current and if required, further meetings will be arranged to ensure consistent communication of relevant information. Medical Management and Risk Minimisation plans are required to be updated annually.

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Illness From time to time your child may become ill at home or at the service. It is the YMCA’s responsibility to protect all children, families and staff from the spread of infectious diseases at the service. As a parent you are the person that knows your child the best, if there is any change in your child’s general health or wellbeing please keep your child at home and seek medical attention. If your child becomes unwell at the service, they will be immediately monitored and recorded and you will be informed by telephone. Due to this, you may be asked to collect your child earlier than usual. If a temperature of 38 degrees is registered, you will be contacted via telephone and if it continues to rise and/or your child has appearances of being unwell you will be asked to pick-up your child. Educators may administer Panadol (with guardian’s authorisation) to assist with keeping your child’s temperature at bay whist you make your way to collect your child. For the wellbeing of all children, a 24-hour exclusion from care will be required following a high temperature, vomiting or diarrhoea, unless a doctor’s certificate states otherwise. Please refer to Minimum Period of Exclusion from Child Care Services at www2.health.vic.gov.au/ public-health/infectious-diseases/school-exclusion for more information. Please note, no refunds are offered for illness. Please refer to Approved Absences for more information about Centrelink approved fee assistance for days of illness. For information on the prevention of infectious diseases, we recommend reading Staying Healthy in Childcare. To view the infectious diseases exclusion table, or the Dealing with Infectious Diseases in Children’s Programs Procedure, please visit our website or view it at your centre. This includes information regarding notification and exclusion in the event of an outbreak; and the collection of immunisation records/exemption certificates.

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Accident & Injury In the case of an accident or injury, a staff member may inform you via telephone of the situation that has occurred, the first aid treatment and an overview of how your child is. A request may be made by staff for a parent/guardian to collect the child to seek further medical advice. Where a serious injury or illness has occurred, and further medical help is sought by the service or the family, the Centre Manager/Coordinator will follow the Incident Management Procedure. An ambulance is called in the first instance for all serious incidents at the service.

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Emergency Procedures The YMCA has developed emergency procedures for a variety of emergency situations, including but not limited to procedures relating to a missing child or serious incident. All are available on our website or at the Centre. Emergency packs are located in each room and are reviewed regularly. Emergency Evacuation drills are undertaken regularly throughout the year, as per the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011. Fire Threat: In the event of an imminent bushfire threat the YMCA Children’s Programs will declare a Code Red and will act in line with the Department of Education and Training guidelines. Once a closure has been confirmed the service will not re-open on that day, regardless of a change in weather conditions or status of the fire threat. On days of extreme smoke exposure, the service will be open but an inside program will be in operation.

Safe Sleep and Rest Policy and Procedure YMCA has developed a Safe Sleep and Rest Policy in the Children’s Programs Policy and Procedures due to changes to the Education and Care Services National Law and Regulations. Regulation 168 in the National Regulations, ‘education and care services must have policies and procedures’ has been amended to include a requirement for a policy on, ‘sleep and rest for children and infants’, including matters set out in Regulation 81 (sleep and rest). Our Policy and Procedure is based on current research and recommended evidence-based principles and guidelines from the recognised national authority on safe sleeping practices for infants and children, Red Nose.

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IKON Park, Gate 3, Royal Parade, Carlton North VIC 3054

03 8371 0500

childrensprograms.ymca.org.au

Profile for ymcavictoria

Family Handbook - YMCA Children's Programs  

Family Handbook - YMCA Children's Programs