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Have you read all of our FAQs, but still have an unanswered question? Ask it in an email.
The Australian Government's MyChild website FAQ page is also a valuable resource for families.
About the campuses
Early Years is a group of high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) services located on and around UNSW's Kensignton campus. Each of Early Years' four ECEC campuses operate as Long Day Care (LDC) centres.
All Early Years' LDC centres operate for up to 10 hours per day, Monday to Friday. Each of the rooms and spaces at our centres operate according to different routines and schedules. Once at an Early Years centre our staff can advise you of the exact opening and closing times of your child's home room.
We are closed on Public Holidays, one day every July semester break for our annual Professional Development Day, during the UNSW shut down period and for varying periods in January.
Each year Tigger's Honeypot and Owl's House reopen in mid-January. Kanga's House and the House at Pooh Corner reopen in late January.
A Holiday Program also runs for three weeks in January.
Yes. Onsite chefs prepare delicious and healthy seasonal menus for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea on a daily basis. Special dietary needs and requests should be discussed with the Chef and Director during orientation.
Please see the back page of our brochure for a sample menu.
We welcome you to visit your child at the centre at any time of the day, but sometimes it may be worthwhile to co-ordinate these visits with your child's educator as they will be able to advise the best times at which to visit. Breastfeeding is also welcome at anytime throughout the day.
First, you must have an active wait list application (you may register your application on our wait list here if you have not done so already), then if you are being offered a position at Early Years instructions on how to enrol will be given at the time.
If I update details on my wait list application such as my preferred days, will this effect my position on the wait list?
No. You may update your wait list application(s) as frequently as you like and doing so will not have any impact on where your application sits on the wait list.
This is perhaps the most frequently asked question by prospective families of Early Years and the answer is rarely straight-forward, however the simplest answer is: "Your child is at the same chronological position on our central wait list as the moment you first submitted the application, assuming that you have maintained an 'active status' for the application".
Each time we have a vacant position to fill, a restricted view of the wait list is produced according to the requirements of that specific position. Where your child is currently sitting on the wait list in relation to one particular vacant position, will be different from where they might be on our wait list at another point in time or in relation to another vacant position. So, the wait list is dynamic and rarely functions like a single-file queue into Early Years which is why it is not always possible to tell you exactly where you child is on our wait list or exactly how long you will have to wait before receiving an offer.
The table below is based on data from the 2015-16 enrolment cycle i.e. children commencing at Ealry Years from early 2016. More than 100 new families were enrolled into Early Years' during this cycle, and we continue to enrol throughout the year as positions become available.
Throughout a typical year, Early Years' wait list flactuates between 600 to 900 individual applications. We simply do not have the capacity or resources available to us to directly address every enquiry received about the wait list.
If you have further information you would like to share with us about your family, child/ren or wait list application(s), please feel free to email us.
After submitting an application to our wait list you will periodically receive emails requesting that you follow a link in order to confirm that you still wish to remain 'active' on our wait list. If you do not make this confirmation within seven days of receiving the email your wait list application will be made 'inactive' and you will receive a further email confirming this change of status. Once your application becomes 'inactive' it will no longer be eligible to receive an offer.
If your application has become 'inactive' and you wish to reactivate it, simply log back into your MyWaitlist account or contact Early Years Administration. Upon reactivation your application will revert to its original position on our wait list.
Are there any positions available at Early Years? If not, what is the expected wait time until I receive an offer?
All Early Years centres generally operate at full capacity throughout the year and wait times can vary significantly depending on the age of your child, when you submitted your wait list application and your family's priority status. Wait times of up to and beyond two years are not uncommon.
If we have a position to offer your family, we will contact you.
Priority of access will be given to children of UNSW staff and UNSW students in keeping with the guidelines established by Early Years Management. Further, Early Years prioritises access for families in accordance with the Priority of Access Guidelines as set by Family Assistance Law and defined by NSW State Funding Agreements. These are defined as:
Priority 1- children at risk of serious abuse or neglect
Priority 2- a child of a single parent or parents who both satisfy the work/training/study test
Priority 3- any other child.
Within these main categories precedence should also be given to children in:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families
- Families which include a person with a disability
- Families on low incomes
- Families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
- Socially isolated families
- Single parent families
Priority of access is also given to families currently enrolled at Early Years including for:
- Siblings of children currently enrolled at the Early Years. This applies only if siblings will be attending the concurrently and to those families who remain students or employees of the University. NOTE: Community (non-UNSW staff/student) family siblings must be two years of age or older for sibling priority to apply
- Enrolled children of families who take leave from the University for a period of secondment, sabbatical or study leave will be given priority to return to Early Years dependent on availability. A wait list application should also be submitted during or before this period of leave
- Enrolled children of families who leave for the period that their parent/caregiver/guardian(s) is/are on Parental Leave will be given priority to return to the Early Years dependent upon availability. A wait list application should also be submitted during or before this period of leave
- Children who are enrolled at an Early Years centre and wish to transfer to a different Early Years centre
- UNSW may also prioritise children of certain students or staff to be offered placements in line with the university's strategic recruitment and student support practices. UNSW Early Years will comply with such directives as they are communicated and as suitable positions become available.
No. Early Years does not currently charge a fee to join the wait list.
It is best to submit your application to the wait list as soon as possible since wait times can be lengthy. We suggest you place your name on many other wait lists also to avoid relying solely on Early Years to have the right vacancy right when you need it as we are not always able to meet the demand for positions at our centres. We do hope to be your 'option A' but must remind you of the need research and develop options B, C, D...
There are many different ways to find alternative options, but the My Child website is always a great place to start looking.
Yes. You may submit an application to the Early Years wait list as soon as you have a confirmed pregnancy or have received the relevant adoption/foster documentation.
No. There is no need to contact us to re-confirm your interest. Just make sure that you keep your MyWaitlist profile 'active' and all details completely up to date.
No. Early Years follows strict guidelines and processes when filling any vacancies we may have. If you wish to discuss details of your application (e.g. a newly diagnosed medical condition or a period of hardship that your family is experiencing etc.) please feel free to contact an Early Years representative.
Since we educate and care for children up to school age, the bulk of our vacant positions to offer waitlisted families are available at the beginning of each year when our oldest children move on to school and our remaining children transition between the various spaces across our early learning campuses.
The majority of our offers to newly enrolling families are finalised during October each year and commence between January through to March the following year.
If you are eligible to receive an offer, an Early Years representative will contact you using the details provided on your wait list application.
We ask for an initial payment of two weeks gross fees which we treat as an advance toward your first invoice. If you need to decline the offer for a position at Early Years prior to your child's first day of attendance this payment would be refunded less a $100 administration charge.
When you are offered a position at Early Years a representative will give you a call, then email you an Enrolment Package to complete. In order to accept the position on offer certain items from this package must be completed and returned to Early Years within 24 hours. If we do not hear from you within this time, we will offer the position to the next wait-listed family.
The initial two week fee advance payment mentioned above must also be made before the offer expiry date as set in your letter of offer.
When completing your enrolment package you will be asked to provide Early Years with copies of your child's Birth Certificate or Passport; Immunisation Records; and other relevant documents such as Medical Certificates.
Under the NSW Public Health Act 2010 Early Years can only accept Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR) immunisation records as follows:
- An Immunisation History Statement showing your child’s immunisations are up to date (if your child has a medical contraindication for a specific vaccine(s) a Medical Contraindication Form will also be required), or;
- A Medical Contraindication Form if your child is unable to be immunised with any vaccines due to medical reasons, or;
- A Conscientious Objection Form (or certified ACIR letter) if your child is unable to be immunised due to religious or philosophical reasons, or;
- An Immunisation History Form where an immunisation provider has certified that your child is catching up their immunisations.
Other immunisation records such as the Blue Book, a GP letter or an overseas immunisation record are not acceptable. Enrolment of your child at Early Years is contingent on our receipt of the correct and current immunisation records.
You can get a copy of your child's immunisation records at any time:
- through your Medicare online accounts or Express Plus Medicare mobile app
- by requesting a statement to be sent in the mail
- at your local service centre
- by calling the Immunisation Register on 1800 653 809
The minimum enrolment is for two consecutive days per week in line with our standard patterns of attendance (below). Any less than this can be too upsetting for most children as they find it difficult to truly settle into the routine of the centre and to form trusting relationships with other children and educators. Attending for just one day per week also makes it difficult for educators to plan and effectively implement a valuable educational program for your child.
Early Years' standard patterns of attendance
Your child's first day at Early Years will be with you (or other family member), on a series of short (or long) pre-commencement orientation visits. During these visits there will be plenty of opportunities to speak with your child's educators; to help begin building a sense of belonging; experience some of the daily routines; and have all of your questions answered by the centre Director, Teachers and Educators, Administrator and Chef.
When you start at an Early Years centre, you will be provided with details of exactly what you need to pack. However, you may consider packing:
• Sun-safe hat (such as a broad brimmed or legionnaires hat) which covers your child's face, neck and ears
• At least one full set of clean clothes
• A bib or two (if required)
• Comfort item or transitional object (if required), such as a small toy or blanket
• Dummy in a sealed container (if required)
• Bottles with expressed milk or formula (if required)
• Water bottle
• Any medications your child may require – please do not leave these in your child's bag, instead give to centre staff and do not leave the centre until you have completed the relevant medication form.
Please ensure all items are clearly labelled with your child's name.
All Early Years centres provide child-safe sunscreen and sun-smart practices regularly feature in our educational programs as part of our commitment to being sun smart. However, if your child has particularly sensitive skin, please feel free to pack your own preferred brand, but please study the ingredients list thoroughly beforehand to ensure that it does not contain any potential allergens such as macadamia oil or other nut oils.
We request that you notify us by phone or email as soon as practicable and in the case of infectious disease your child cannot attend until they have been well and symptom free for at least 24 hours. Such practices help to reduce the risk of infection for other children and staff. If you are unsure whether or not your child should attend please discuss with your child's educator or centre director.
For further information on how your family can help with staying healthy in ECEC please see NHMRC's Staying Healthy publication
If your child becomes unwell whilst in attendance at Early Years, we will contact you (by phone) as soon as possible. Depending on the nature and severity of the ailment you may be required to pick up your child.
We are committed to providing and maintaining a healthy environment for all children, families and staff at Early Years so please do not bring your child to the centre if they are unwell.
To reduce days of attendance or to end an enrolment at Early Years we require four full working weeks written notice. Full fees will be charged in lieu of appropriate notice periods.
Requests to withdraw or cancel enrolments in the final four weeks of our operating year will not be accepted without prior receipt of full fees for this period (ie. you may still leave Early Years in the final four weeks of the year, however full fees will still be charged to your account for this period).
Please use this Change to Enrolment Request to submit resquests for permanent changes to your child's pattern of attendance. Requests to increases or decrease your child's pattern of attendance as well as enrolment cancellation requests can all be submitted using this form.
Yes. All you have to do is complete an Internal Transfer Request Form and we will be in touch once a suitable position is available.
Transitions into an older room are based on developmental readiness and availability. We generally run similar to a school year in that it is when our preschoolers leave for primary school each year that we have the greatest opportunity to transition children between the different spaces. Transitions throughout the year will be facilitated by your child's team of educators and centre director according to developmental readiness and availability.
It means that without having transitioned into the next space, room, routine or group you will still be charged the fee that is associated with position your child is currently occupying in the centre.
Our current daily fees can be found here, however most families' actual out-of-pocket expenses vary according to any additional support your family is receiving to attend Early Years.
If I am an employee of UNSW Australia can my Early Years fees be paid through a salary sacrifice or salary deduction arrangement?
Yes, however you are advised to seek independent financial advice before entering into a salary sacrifice (pre-tax) or salary deduction (post-tax) agreement with the University.
Can I Salary Sacrifice (pre-tax) Early Years fees and claim the Child Care Rebate and/or the Child Care Benefit concurrently?
No. UNSW has considered this issue and has concluded that if an individual has a salary sacrifice arrangement with UNSW in relation to an Early Years Centre’s fees for their child, they are not eligible to claim CCB and/or CCR in respect of that child. This is because, in these circumstances, the staff member has no legal liability to pay the child care fees. Eligibility for CCB and CCR requires that the recipient be legally responsible for payment of ECEC fees. Where there is a salary sacrifice arrangement in place for FBT exempt care (such as that provided by UNSW Early Years) the staff member does not have that responsibility. UNSW, as employer, provides the ECEC service without any fee liability arising.
I have sought independent financial advice and would now like to submit a post-tax salary deduction agreement for payment of Early Years fees. How do I do this?
Please follow this link; Agreement for payment of Early Years childcare fees - Post-tax salary deduction
I have sought independent financial advice and would now like to submit a pre-tax salary sacrifice agreement for payment of Early Years fees. How do I do this?
Please follow this link; Agreement for payment of Early Years childcare fees - Pre-tax salary sacrifice
Yes, you do need to pay for scheduled days if your child does not attend due to illness or any other reason.
Why do I still need to pay fees when my child does not attend due to the centre being closed on a public holiday?
This is a standard practice across the sector and is necessary since we still have to pay our staff wages and other operational overheads for public holidays too.
The CCR is government subsidy which covers 50% of out of pocket ECEC expenses for approved services (such as Early Years), up to a maximum amount per child per year, in addition to any other child care assistance. Further information about the CCR can be found on the Department of Human Services website.
The CCB is a means-tested benefit which helps with costs for approved and registered ECEC such as long, family or occasional day care, outside school hour care, vacation care, pre-school and kindergarten. Further information about the CCB can be found on the Department of Human Services website.
Research shows that children who start ahead tend to stay ahead. Significant differences can be seen across children's learning and development by two years of age (or even earlier!) and the gap between those who have had the most nurturing early years and those who have not proves more difficult to close as time goes on.
Children are born ready to learn and are best able to develop their full potential when raised in nurturing, positive, safe and stimulating learning environments whilst being supported through a network of trusting relationships and genuinely respectful interactions. These relationships, interactions, environments, and opportunities (positive or negative) and nutrition influence the way in which your child's brain develops. The human brain develops more rapidly from birth to five years of age than at any other time in a person's life, so ensuring your child has the best early years experience as possible is vital to ensuring that the strongest foundations are laid for all future development.
Not necessarily, however a variety of group interactions and independent experiences like those facilitated for your child when they attend Early Years are very important for their learning and development. At Early Years we regard each child's family as their first, primary and most important educators and do our best to support your family's approach and perspectives in raising your child. Communication and trusting relationships between the family and ECEC service are essential for the most fruitful experience with us.
The best learning happens in environments that are nurturing and stimulating, where children feel safe and confident to formulate, test and reveiw their own hypotheses about the way in which the world works with an experienced educator providing guidance and other resources as required. Early learning happens everywhere, through every interaction (intentional or otherwise) and from birth.
Children learn all manner of social, emotional, behavioural, intellectual and physical skills through many different kinds of activities, interactions and observations. Children learn by being engaged and supported but learn more through doing, and when this doing for the child feels like play then they learn the most. Our pedagogical approach to Early Childhood Education (ECE) here at Early Years is grounded in a philosophy built on respectful relationships and play-based learning, draws influence from many ECE theorists and schools of thought and builds upon contemporary learning frameworks such as the EYLF.
The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) is Australia’s first national framework for early childhood educators based on principles, practices and outcomes that enhance learning from birth to school age. We’re proud of achieving ‘exceeding’ in the National Quality Framework assessments, which comes from over 45 years of experience in the ECEC sector.
The framework has a strong emphasis on play-based learning, recognising the importance of communication and language (including early literacy and numeracy) and social and emotional development. There are five broad learning outcomes defined by the EYLF:
• Children have a strong sense of identity
• Children are connected with and contribute to their world
• Children have a strong sense of wellbeing
• Children are confident and involved learners
• Children are effective communicators
Further information about the EYLF can be found on the My Child website.
The Early Years early learning program has play-based learning at its core. It allows young children to make sense of their world through exploration, developing and practicing language and physical skills through experimenting with new ideas and techniques. Children build confidence to express themselves creatively and to develop their sense of identity and self. Play-based learning also gives many opportunities to learn soft and social skills such as how to navigate group dynamics, co-operation, self regulation of behaviour and emotion and communication skills.
You will see play-based learning in solitary play and in group play activities, indoors and outdoors. Activities range from building spatial and sensory awareness with playdough or blocks, to honing fine motor skills and knowledge acquisition through the arts, story telling, reading, writing and discussion. Play-based learning opportunities also extend to learning about all sorts of other things such as nutrition through food and cooking experiences, how certain aspects of how the world works through excursions and specialist experiences and is bounded only by the collective imagination of the Early Years community.
The National Quality Framework (NQF) is an Australian Government initiative aimed at bringing consistency to the quality of early learning and care across the country in the critical areas of education, health and safety. The NQF also provides more clear and comprehensive information for families so they can choose the best services for their family. The main reforms being implemented through the NQF are:
• Curriculum guided by approved learning frameworks
• Improved staff-to-child ratios
• New staff qualification requirements
• New quality rating system
• New national governing body- Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA)
There are seven quality areas making up the National Quality Standards (NQS) within the NQF. These standards will form the basis of how a centre's quality is assessed, and these are:
• Educational program and practice
• Children's health and safety
• Physical environment
• Staffing arrangements
• Relationships with children
• Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
• Leadership and service management
Further information about the EYLF, NQF, NQS please visit the ACECQA website.
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Page last updated: Friday 13 January 2017