Collaborative Partnerships with Families & Communities

Policy: Lili’s Early Learning (LEL), recognises that every child belongs within their family, their cultural group, neighbourhood and wider community.

Purpose: To develop a policy that ensures all families and the wider community feel confident in developing secure partnerships in a Centre in which their children are attending. LEL believes that a child's earliest development and learning takes place through their relationships, particularly with their family, who are a child's first and most influential educators. LEL commits to respectful and collaborative relationships with families and communities, as we work together to create a positive environment for our children - both where they live and where they learn - to actively promote children’s wellbeing, learning and development.

• Each baby, toddler, three-five-year-old and school age child; children as individuals and as members of a group in the education and care setting, unless otherwise stated. It is inclusive of children from all social, cultural and linguistic backgrounds and of their learning styles, abilities, disabilities, gender, family circumstances and geographic locations (Guide to the National Quality Standard, 2011).

Children’s belongings;
• Clothing, footwear, accessories and personal items that belong to a child.

• Social or cultural groups or networks that share a common purpose, heritage, rights and responsibilities and/or other bonds (Belonging, Being & Becoming, the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia, 2009)

Families in relation to a child;
• A parent, grandparents, sibling, uncle, aunt or cousin of the child, whether that relationship arises by birth, marriage (including a de facto relationship) or by adoption or otherwise; or
• A relative of the child according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander tradition; or
• A person with whom the child resides in a family-like relationship; or
• A person who is recognised in the child’s community as having a familial role is respect of the child (National Law) (Guide to the National Quality Standard, 2011).

Family rights and responsibilities:
LEL respects our children, staff and families' rights to a safe and positive environment at their LEL centre. LEL educators are required to ensure practices in the centre respect families' rights and responsibilities.

At LEL our families have a responsibility to be in control of their behaviour at all times and conduct themselves in a lawful, safe and responsible manner that respects the rights of others. Families must use appropriate language and volume of speech. The following behaviour towards any person are unacceptable: all forms of bullying, harassment, abuse, discrimination, actions that put another person at risk of harm, or threats of any kind.

Upon enrolling, families agree to the Family Rights and Responsibilities listed in the Enrolment Form. Should families fail to comply with these responsibilities LEL may exclude them from the Centre.

Family involvement:
LEL is committed to genuine collaborative relationships between families and early childhood professionals where we can value each other’s knowledge of our children, communicate freely and respectfully with each other, share insights and engage in shared decision-making. We encourage families to be involved in the Centre, provide input into learning programs, spend time with our educators and contribute their skills and resources to the Centre to enhance children’s wellbeing, learning and development.

Information for families:
To support collaborative partnerships with families, LEL will ensure current and readily understood information is available and effectively communicated about the service. This includes information on policies and procedures, programs and their child’s participation, Centre participation in the National Quality Framework, and community services and resources to support parenting and family wellbeing.

Connecting with our communities:
LEL is committed to ensuring children’s learning at the Centre is integrated and interconnected with their learning at home and in the community. LEL believes that children’s learning and wellbeing are enhanced when the Centre, families, community organisations and individuals develop links, share information and work in collaboration. We encourage our families to develop relationships with each other that are supportive. We encourage our educators to understand and provide links to the services available in the community that will support our families.

Enrolment, orientation and transition:
LEL actively communicates with families to provide effective orientation when they first join our Centre and when they transition to new rooms. During enrolment, orientation and transitions, information about children, their routines and belongings, is exchanged by educators and families to support continuity of learning and care between the child’s home, the centre and other services in the community, in a way that meets the individual requirements of each child and their family. We encourage families to spend time at the Centre to participate in orientation and information sessions, ask questions and exchange as much information with our educators as possible.

Children's comfort, safety and wellbeing:
LEL promotes children’s comfort, safety and protection while participating in the program both indoors and outdoors, during rest and sleep, when storing and administering children’s medication, and when storing and preparing children’s food. We encourage families to work with us to meet each child's particular dietary, medical, sun protection and other safety needs.

Children's belongings:
LEL promotes a strong sense of identity in children by encouraging them to bring their own family's ways of being into the early childhood program. We recognise that children’s own special belongings help them to feel secure, confident and connected to familiar people and places. We encourage families to bring their children's familiar belongings to the Centre and will work with children and families to look after their belongings.

Collection and access arrangements for children:
To promote the safety and wellbeing of children, families and Centre employees, LEL endeavours, where reasonable, to comply with court orders, parenting plans and other written agreements for the collection of, and access to, children.

Use of photographic images and video recordings:
To protect the privacy of all children, families and staff at LEL, strict measures are in place regarding engagement and taking of photographic images or video recordings facilitated by the organisation. All photographs and video recordings will be undertaken in a manner that is respectful and maintains the integrity of the original image. LEL will only use and store photographic images of children according to the permission granted by families in their completed enrolment documentation or permission specifically sought for media and marketing purposes.

Family complaints:
Families are actively encouraged to provide feedback to LEL. LEL will promptly address any concerns from families to resolve issues and maintain good relationships. LEL provides a variety of avenues for families to raise concerns or compliments:
In person, by speaking directly with a staff member
In person, by speaking directly with the Centre Manager or nominated person in charge
By emailing the General Manager

Feedback and concerns are valuable for improving the learning and care provided by LEL to children and families.

All LEL staff respect the privacy of families when addressing any concern. LEL ensures that any necessary notifications about complaints and incidents are made to the relevant regulatory authorities.

This policy is to be implemented by: All Staff and families.

Related documents:
Belonging, Being & Becoming, the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia, 2009, Principle 2 - Partnerships; National Regulations 74, 75, 76, 78, 80, 81, 86, 91, 93, 99, 102, 111, 155, 157, 172, 173, 177, 185; National Quality Standard, Elements 2.1.2; 2.1.3 and 2.3.2.

Policy Review Policy
reviewed August 2017