Frequently Asked Questions

Stepping Stones Early Learning Centre

What is your approach to early education and learning?
We believe in nurturing children’s natural curiosity and creativity through our play-based curriculum, which is guided by their interests. Inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach, we prioritise hands-on, experiential learning that engages all the senses. Our physical environment is intentionally designed to serve as a “third teacher,” providing children with rich opportunities to explore, discover, and make sense of the world around them. We view the environment as a dynamic space that evolves alongside the children’s interests and needs. Central to our approach is the belief that children learn best when they are active participants in their own learning journey. We encourage open-ended exploration and inquiry, providing provocations and invitations that inspire curiosity and critical thinking. Our holistic approach focuses on developing the whole child, fostering skills such as problem-solving, independent thinking, communication, and self-regulation. By nurturing these abilities from an early age, we aim to instill in children a lifelong passion for learning and discovery.
What we can we expect settling our child into care?
We understand that starting at an early childhood education and care service can be an emotional experience for both children and families. To support this transition, we offer parent-accompanied visits to the service before beginning care. These orientations provide valuable opportunities for children and families to familiarise themselves with the new environment and begin building relationships with educators and other children. During these orientations, a key educator and a child buddy will be assigned to your child to help settle and introduce them to their new education and care setting. This personalised support helps ease the transition process and ensures that your child feels comfortable and supported from the very beginning. Our educators use these orientations to gather important information about your child and your family, including their interests, routines, and rituals. This allows us to tailor our environment and approach to meet your child’s individual needs and support their development. On your child’s first day at Stepping Stones, the same key educator assigned to them during orientation will be there to support them in settling and transitioning. This continuity of care helps reassure both you and your child, strengthening the foundation for building relationships with other educators in the future. We understand that the settling into care process is unique for each child and family, and some may find it more overwhelming than others. That’s why we are dedicated to demonstrating openness and sensitivity in assisting your child and your family throughout this journey. When your child confidently and readily enters our care environment, it signals that strong, secure, and long-lasting relationships have been formed, providing a solid foundation for their growth and development at Stepping Stones.
What are the educator to child ratios according to regulation?
All early education services abide by educator to child ratios as determined by the National Quality Framework (NQF). The list table outlines the minimum ratios followed by our services:
– from birth to 24 months of age—1 educator to 4 children;
– over 24 months and less than 36 months of age—1 educator to 5 children;
– aged 36 months of age or over (not including children over preschool age) —1 educator to 10 children (in NSW);
What is the enrolment process?
We want to ensure that families feel informed and supported throughout the enrolment process. Prior to enrolment, our Service Directors will invite you to take a personalised tour of our service. During this tour, the Director will provide you with important information about our services, including our philosophy, services, and the enrolment process. After the tour, you will receive an enrolment pack containing comprehensive information about our service, as well as forms for you to complete regarding your child and family. This ensures that we have all the necessary information to provide the best possible care for your child. Additionally, you will receive an enrolment offer detailing your child’s proposed enrolled days, start date, prospective orientation dates, and other important administrative details.Throughout this process, we encourage you to ask as many questions as you like. We are here to support both you and your child, and we want to ensure that you feel confident and comfortable with your decision to enrol with us.
What is your policy on sickness and when should a child stay home?
The health and safety of your child is our top priority. As part of our service policy, we require that children do not attend if they are unwell. If your child is sick, it is important not only for their own well-being but also to prevent the spread of illness to other children at our service.
We ask that families keep their child at home if they are unwell and ensure they receive the rest and care they need to recover fully. This helps to safeguard the health and safety of all children and staff members at our service. Upon enrolment, families are provided with copies of our practices and procedures regarding illnesses and exclusions. We also ensure that families have access to this information and are informed about our policies to promote transparency and understanding. By working together to prioritise health and safety, we create a safe and nurturing environment where children can thrive and learn.
How do you connect with the community?
We regularly connect with our community through a variety of experiences, including excursions to local libraries, nursing homes, schools, and businesses. These outings provide valuable opportunities for children to explore their surroundings, learn about different professions, and develop connections with community members. In addition to excursions, we welcome community members into our services for events and celebrations, where we come together to commemorate significant days and collaborate on the planning and implementation of our educational program. We also actively participate in community events and support numerous charities, demonstrating our commitment to giving back and making a positive impact in the wider community. Over the years, our services have built many reciprocal community partnerships that have enriched our educational programs and fostered a strong community presence. These partnerships not only benefit our children and families but also contribute to the overall well-being and vibrancy of the communities we serve. At Stepping Stones, we believe that by actively engaging with our community, we create a supportive and inclusive environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and connected.
What is play-based learning?
We wholeheartedly embrace a play-based learning approach, recognising its profound impact on young children’s development and understanding of the world around them. Play-based learning is more than just a method; it’s a holistic approach that encourages exploration, creativity, and engagement. According to the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF), play-based learning provides a context for children to organise and make sense of their social worlds as they actively engage with people, objects, and representations. Through play, children naturally develop essential skills such as problem-solving, communication, and social interaction, laying the foundation for lifelong learning. At our Services, we create environments that foster playful exploration and encourage children to follow their interests and curiosities. Whether it’s building with blocks, pretending in the dramatic play area, or experimenting with art materials, every experience is an opportunity for learning and growth. We believe that by embracing play-based learning, we not only support children in developing essential skills and knowledge but also nurture their innate sense of wonder and curiosity, empowering them to become confident and capable learners both now and in the future.
What does a typical day look like at Stepping Stones?
We prioritise creating a seamless and inclusive environment for all children from the moment they arrive at our service. Upon arrival, children who arrive early participate in an integrated age group program, providing them with the opportunity to interact with peers of varying ages and allowing siblings to spend time together if they attend our service. During this time, children are offered breakfast and encouraged to help each other settle in, fostering a sense of community and collaboration. As more children arrive, educators and children transition into their designated room groups, where they spend the remainder of their day until the afternoon family group time. Each room is staffed by a dedicated team of educators who implement a tailored educational program based on the ages, interests, and needs of the children in their care. Routines are adapted to each group and include progressive mealtimes, rest and sleep periods, and opportunities for indoor and outdoor play and learning. Our educational programs are carefully planned to meet objectives developed through ongoing observations that reflect each child’s individual learning journey. By focusing on child-led learning and incorporating observations into our planning, we ensure that every child receives personalised support and guidance as they explore and grow. In the afternoon, children are collected directly from their rooms, providing educators and families with the opportunity to share information about the child’s day and ensuring a smooth transition between home and our service. This open communication helps to strengthen partnerships between educators and families, ensuring that we provide the best possible care and support for each child.