QKindy Edition 2, 2014


Welcome to the final edition of QKindy for 2014.

Looking back on 2014 so far, we can reflect on what has been a very busy year in the early childhood education and care sector. It’s been a year to celebrate many achievements, but also to acknowledge some of the ongoing and future challenges faced by the sector, at both state and national levels.

I welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement in September that it will extend for a further year the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education. This gives some certainty to kindy providers and parents while negotiations continue.

The Newman Government will continue to press Queensland’s case for fair and sustainable funding so we can build on the achievements made in improving access to kindy over recent years, and continue our work to increase participation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and disadvantaged and vulnerable children. We’ve seen overall participation rates rise from 29 per cent in 2008 to 97.4 per cent in 2013; however, participation still needs to improve for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and disadvantaged and vulnerable children.

I continue to strongly advocate with the Australian Government so that all Queensland children can take part in a quality kindergarten program. I will advise the sector on the outcomes of negotiations with the Australian Government as soon as we can.

It’s also a time to reflect on the good news from across Queensland — the opening of new kindy facilities as part of the government’s $27 million investment, and the upgrade of the tenth Child and Family Centre in Mackay. We are also ensuring the delivery of quality early childhood education with close to 1000 services now having a quality rating.

This has all been achieved against the backdrop of a new level of autonomy for Early Childhood Education and Care, with the appointment of a new Deputy Director-General to lead the division.

The induction of early childhood education and care directors for each departmental region is further evidence of our commitment to reinforce service quality, whether services are located in Brisbane or Burketown. These directors are providing an important bridge between the department’s legislative requirements and the sector, and also supporting our exciting new approach to helping children and families successfully transition from early childhood education to Prep.

The inaugural Early Years Forum held in August provided me with the opportunity to directly hear the views of your sector. This forum provided an ideal platform for open discussion on a range of issues, including the Productivity Commission’s Draft Report on Child Care and Early Childhood Learning and its potential impacts for the sector here in Queensland.

It’s widely acknowledged that we do things very well here in this state, such as the number of long day care services offering kindergarten programs, but there are always opportunities to identify areas where we may do better.

To this end, we can often learn from early childhood education models from around the world, and we were lucky to host a number of high profile international speakers at our network event — Great beginnings. Promising futures. Early childhood and the Queensland Plan — at QUT in September. This gathering offered a unique opportunity to hear some of the latest research in early childhood education and how it could translate to the Queensland context.

It also provided an invaluable networking opportunity for more than 100 delegates from across Queensland.

Consultation right across the state remains a core imperative for this department, and the early childhood education and care sector has been a key contributor in the consultation phase of the Queensland Education Accord meeting held in September.

With input from service providers, parents, schools, unions and the broader community, the Accord will inform a 30-year plan for the future of education in Queensland.

There are exciting times ahead for all levels of education in this state.

John-Paul Langbroek MP

Minister for Education, Training and Employment

Child protection – what you need to know

Ensuring the safety, health and wellbeing of children is everyone’s business

Early childhood education and care services and educators are well placed to identify suspected child harm as part of their day-to-day interactions with children and their families.

Although there is no legal requirement for services or their staff to report suspected child abuse occurring outside a service, child protection laws in Queensland enable any person to report suspicion of a child in need of protection.

Under the Child Protection Act 1999, anyone reporting child abuse or neglect is protected from liability, including defamation, and has not breached any professional code of conduct.

Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services Strategic Policy and Programs Manager, Andrea Lauchs, said that if you believed a child was in immediate danger or in a life-threatening situation, contact Emergency Services immediately by phoning 000.

‘If you suspect a child is experiencing harm or is at risk of experiencing harm, contact the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services by phoning 13 7468 or the department’s Regional Intake Services,’ Ms Lauchs said.

If you suspect a child has been harmed, or is at risk of being harmed, it is important to:

  • be alert to any warning signs that a child is experiencing harm
  • observe the child and make written notes as soon as you begin to have concerns — pay attention to changes in their behaviour, ideas, feelings and the words they use
  • have gentle, non-judgmental discussions with the child — expressing your concern that a child looks sad or unwell can result in disclosures
  • not pressure the child to respond and not ask questions that put words into a child’s mouth
  • assure the child they can come and talk to you when they need to, and listen to them when they do
  • seek expert advice by contacting Child Safety.

‘Child safety service centres have professionally trained child protection staff who are skilled in dealing with information about harm or risk of harm to children.

‘When you make a report to Child Safety, your details are kept confidential and your identity is strictly protected.

‘A child who is being abused or neglected may show signs such as wariness and distrust of adults, they may show behaviours like rocking, sucking or biting excessively, or they may wet or soil the bed.

‘Physical signs of abuse can include being seemingly accident-prone and having unexplained injuries, bruises, burns or welts in various stages of healing,’ Ms Lauchs said.

Under the National Quality Framework, approved providers have obligations to ensure children attending early childhood education and care services are safe, including:

  • notifying the Department of Education, Training and Employment of harm or suspected harm to a child that occurs while education and care is provided
  • ensuring nominated supervisors and staff members who work with children are aware of the child protection law and any obligations under that law
  • implementing a child and youth risk management strategy which aims to keep children and young people safe in accordance with the Working with Children(Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000.

More information and resources

  • Child abuse – what you need to know
    resources/childsafety/childprotection/ child-abuse-brochure.pdf
  • Child and Youth Risk Management Strategy Toolkit
  • Information about the different types and signs of child abuse and neglect is available from the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services

Remember …

When a child is being abused, the abuse does not go away and usually becomes more serious over time. Anyone can report suspected child abuse or neglect to Child Safety.

Noah’s Ark covers inclusive resources

You wouldn’t think something as simple as a quilted dinosaur blanket filled with soft sand would make a difference to a child’s learning experience.

But for a dinosaur-loving boy of four with autism spectrum disorder, the calming effect of the weighted lap blanket has vastly improved his concentration, listening, social and spatial awareness skills.

Coolum Beach Community Kindy director Lorelle Frost said that with the reassurance of the blanket covering his lap, legs and feet, the child is able to sit with the other children during story time.

‘This is a remarkable achievement because he usually finds it hard to sit without an adult’s support, and sitting in and being part of a group is even harder,’ Ms Frost said.

‘With the help of the dinosaur blanket, he’s improving his independence and skills in making contact with others, engaging and listening.

‘He likes the blanket so much he has developed a routine in transitioning from one activity to another by lifting off the blanket, carrying it to the next stop and putting it on.’

Ms Frost said she discovered the boy’s love of dinosaurs when consulting his parents about his interests, experiences and capabilities.

‘You have to work with the parents to incorporate their knowledge of their child when tailoring their learning experience,’ she said.

‘This is even more important when the child has a disability or additional needs.’

Ms Frost then approached the team at Noah’s Ark for advice and ideas on resources to support the boy to participate fully in the kindergarten program.

‘I can’t recommend Noah’s Ark highly enough,’ she said.

‘I mentioned our little boy’s needs and that he loves dinosaurs, and Noah’s Ark sourced the blanket, saving me valuable time researching.

‘We ended up borrowing the blanket for half the year because he used it so much. At the beginning of the year we got an extension and then we purchased one because it gave him such comfort and support.’

Ms Frost said Noah’s Ark was not just a free resource library for kindergarten services.

‘Their advisors are specialists in child development and inclusive practices, and very helpful with suggestions on specialised equipment and resources to suit individual children and elements of the learning program,’ she said.

‘They even follow up to see how we and the children are going.’

Noah’s Ark’s Specialised Equipment and Resources for Kindergarten Program (SERK), proudly funded and supported by the Queensland and Australian governments, recently won the 2014 Early Childhood Intervention Australia Quality Inclusive Practices Award for service delivery.

For more information about SERK, visit the Noah’s Ark website – phone 1300 497 437.

Interpreter service eases transition for families

Now that it is peak enrolment time and transition statements are being prepared, kindergarten services are reminded they can access free interpreting services to support communication with non-English speaking families.

Inala Kindergarten and Community Preschool Director Michelle Hallesy said there were a number of non-English speaking families who attended the service and it was important to find the best way to share information with them.

‘We have a number of Vietnamese families that attend our centre and we wanted to ensure we could share their children’s learning progress and discuss it with them in the best possible way for them,’ Ms Hallesy said.

‘We contacted the Translating and Interpreting Service and organised for an interpreter to come to our service and meet with us and the families.

‘Having the interpreter there enabled us to have an interactive discussion with the parents about their children, and helped us to develop transition statements with their input.’

Ms Hallesy said helping parents understand how their children are progressing through the kindergarten year is an important step in helping them transition their children to Prep.

‘Developing transition statements about each child’s learning supports their transition into the Prep year,’ she said.

‘A transition statement summarises a child’s learning throughout the year and highlights their motivations, strengths and skills, and how they like to learn.

‘It’s also something that parents can choose to pass on to schools to help their child’s transition into Prep.’

Kindergarten services are encouraged to contact their central governing bodies if they need advice on requesting or booking an on-site or telephone interpreter.

Alternatively, services can visit and pre-book an on-site or telephone interpreter, or phone the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 toll free, from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm, Monday to Friday.

Kindergarten services can use interpreters to:

  • advise parents on kindergarten programs andactivities, enrolment, and on kindergarten toschool transition
  • conduct parent–teacher interviews
  • discuss educational assessments with parents.

Long day care services should contact Professional Support Coordinator Queensland on 1800 112 585 for their translating and interpreting support options.

The Queensland Government provides kindergarten services with free access to the Translating and Interpreting Service.

The service is operated by the federal Department of Immigration and Border Protection and employs interpreters who speak more than 170 languages and dialects.

How to access free on-site or telephone interpreters:

  • Kindergarten services: Phone your central governing body about how to make a booking.
  • Long day care services: Phone your Professional Support Coordinator on 1800 112 585.
  • Families: Phone the Kindy Hotline on 1800 4KINDY (1800 454 639) to organise an interpreter.

Kindy shows it counts in so many ways

It’s been a big year for the Kindy counts! team, whose key objective is to promote the importance of kindergarten.

In early June, the Say g’day to Jay Kindy Roadshow, featuring kindy ambassador Jay Laga’aia, visited Rockhampton, Blackwater, Emerald, Barcaldine, Marchmont (for an eKindy visit) and Longreach, sharing the benefits of kindy via free musical concerts and ‘meet and greets’ at local kindies.

The response from communities was overwhelming, with around 2800 families attending the booked-out concerts. Families and locals, young and old, enthusiastically joined in the kindy fun, attending the free concerts and engaging with the roadshow via social media.

One highlight of the roadshow was visiting an eKindy family on their Marchmont property. Jay participated in an eKindy session, where he sang along with the kindy children and joined in their lessons.

Playgroup Queensland, a supporter of the roadshow, joined in by hosting their mobile playgroups before and after the shows, and gave advice to parents on how to start their own playgroups.

The Say g’day to Jay performances, which encompassed the importance of play-based learning, also featured the kindy song, which now has an accompanying music video. To learn the lyrics, and download the song and video, go to

Another kindy roadshow is planned, this time to the northern part of the state. We’ll keep you updated on roadshow news via our Kindy counts! Facebook page ( and website (

From the road to the online environment, the kindy section of the Early Childhood Education and Care website is home to a dedicated page of resources, activities and events for children and their families, aptly titled ‘Fun and games’.

Parents can access and download a variety of resources to engage their children with fun activities.

One of the games designed specifically for the Kindy counts! campaign is Monster Match, which offers a variety of play-based activities. There is a PDF version of the game parents can print out, and an online interactive matching game to play on your computer, iPad or smart phone. Have a go — there are a couple of levels to suit your child’s memory skills. Limited copies of a life-sized version of the Monster Match game were also produced — and proved popular at National Playgroup Day and during the roadshow.

The ‘Fun and games’ page also links to resources that encompass play-based learning, reading and writing, art and craft, learning routines and everyday experiences developed specifically for kindy-aged children.

To check out the kindy fun page, go to You can stay up to date on kindy news and find out when new resources are added to the kindy fun page by ‘Liking’ the Kindy counts! Facebook page.

We had a brilliant time at the Longreach concert this morning! Thank you so much for coming out west, the concert was so wonderful!’ – Val Paul, Longreach

A big thank you and congratulations to the Kindy counts!team, both behind the scenes and on the day. This morning’s concert was fabulous and well organised.’ – Jacqui Hamilton, Rockhampton

Thank you for such a wonderful show. The St Joseph’s pre-Prep children loved every minute along with all their young peers and parents. Thank you for coming to our town.’ – Jane Dickson, Barcaldine

Thank you Jay and the Kindy counts!team for performing at Goodstart Blackwater North. Everyone who attended had a FANTASTIC time!’ – Staysi Jones, Blackwater