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Excellent tips for leading by example

 
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John Paul College Outside School Hours Care (JPC OSHC) has once again received an Excellent rating from the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA).

In an Australian 1st, ACECQA has awarded the highest rating under the National Quality Framework to the service 3 consecutive times. One of the reasons for the service's latest Excellent rating in 2019 is its focus on Quality Area 7 of the National Quality Standard—Governance and leadership.

Coordinator Jan Marxsen shared some of her tips on managing and leading a high-quality service—specifically around the recruitment, induction and professional development of staff.

Jan said building a positive workplace culture and ensuring continuity of staff began with recruiting with intention. She assessed potential staff members’ skills, knowledge, personalities and strengths to identify whether they filled any gaps in the service’s well-rounded team.

If an educator had left the service she tried to fill their position with someone similar in nature and experience.

'It’s ideal for our team and for the children’s social and emotional development, wellbeing and learning to interact and engage with people of different personalities, strengths and abilities,' she said.

'That way the children have a range of different educators to build relationships with and can approach those they relate to best.'

'So I’ll try to replace someone who is sporty and outgoing with someone who’s the same, someone who’s caring and nurturing with someone who’s similar, or maybe an all-rounder who has all those traits.'

Jan said she made sure she took the time to give her new staff a thorough induction. This included operational and regulatory areas they needed to know such as the service’s philosophy, policies and procedures; their roles and responsibilities; and the My Time Our Place learning framework. She then partnered the educator with a mentor buddy.

'It’s so important to make new staff feel welcome and set them up for success,' Jan said.

'For the first 2 weeks new educators are buddied with a more experienced educator to systematically work through the staff training log, checking off each item as the new staff member becomes competent.'

Jan said if the new staff member needed more time to familiarise themselves with the expectations of their role and responsibilities, their buddy—with support from Jan—would further explain and answer concerns and questions, showing encouragement and positivity to build confidence.

To continue to develop as professionals, the staff at JPC OSHC have an open communication policy.

'Each morning and afternoon staff reflect on what might happen during the day and what actually happened,' she said.

'These observations and learnings ensure all staff are on the same page, and handovers include any issues that occurred during the earlier part of the day.'

Jan said she used reflection sessions to identify and discuss key areas such as policies and procedures she felt staff needed to brush up on, and attached relevant revision information to the noticeboard. She said open reflection among educators and excellent relationships with school staff and counsellors was key to identifying professional development opportunities.

'We can draw on the expertise of counsellors and teachers within the school to provide training sessions on topics identified by educators, such as behaviour management or pastoral care,' she said.

To learn more about leadership, read ACECQA’s Information sheet—QA7 Educational leadership and team building (PDF, 1.2MB) and Early Childhood Australia’s article on What does leadership look like in early childhood settings?

Check out ACECQA’s trivia-style NQS knowledge game to bring fun to your professional discussions, critical reflections, and test your knowledge.

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Last updated 10 September 2020