Ensuring Your Child’s Safety: A Closer Look at the Measures in Place at Starfish ELC

At Starfish ELC, we recognise the deep trust families place in us to care for their children, to keep them safe, maintain their wellbeing and ensure a rich and engaging educational program.

Each of our services has clear policies and procedures which are informed by the many legislations and frameworks that guide our sector.  This includes policies regarding emergency management, lockdown procedures, child protection, child safety and wellbeing, as well as our staffing protocols.  We are dedicated to working in partnership with families and the community to ensure that our policies and procedures are well informed and relevant to our children.


Emergency Management and Evacuation Procedures

Starfish ELC strives to uphold the highest standards in emergency preparedness, aligning our practices with national and state regulations.  Our comprehensive emergency management plan and evacuation procedures are designed around thorough risk assessment and best practice emergency planning.

Our emergency management plans are designed in collaboration with Fire Consultants and include detailed responses to various emergencies as well as an efficient communication protocol.  We conduct emergency drills every 3 months to ensure our staff and children are well prepared for any situation.  Families are informed via email after each emergency drill to create a culture of transparency and safety.  All emergency equipment, from fire extinguishers to evacuation kits, is meticulously maintained and regularly inspected to meet regulatory requirements.


Lockdown Policy: Protecting Children from Security Threats

Our lockdown policy is a critical component of our commitment to the safety and security of our children and staff.  Designed to be enacted in the event of critical incidents – such as the presence of aggressive trespassers on or near the premises, or a disaster or incident (such as a car accident) in the near vicinity.  This policy ensures that all children and staff are accounted for and kept safe until the incident is over.  

Upon initiation, emergency services will be promptly contacted for guidance and support.  Educators will then secure classrooms by closing doors and windows, turning off lights, lowering blinds and keeping everyone out of sight (below window level).  A roll call will be conducted using the attendance checklist to confirm that all children are accounted for.  Educators will engage children in quiet activities (stories etc) in this space until given the ‘all clear’ by the Director, or person in charge.


Child Protection Measures: Safeguarding Every Child

At Starfish ELC, we take Child Protection and Safety very seriously.  We have zero tolerance for any form of harm or abuse towards children, and will do everything in our power to ensure that children remain safe.  We adhere to Child Protection and Mandatory Reporting laws, ensuring that any concerns for children’s safety is reported to appropriate organisations.  For low to moderate concerns, educators seek advice from Orange Door, who can provide support services to families experiencing challenges.  Where there are significant suspicions of harm to a child, educators are legally required to submit a report to Child Protection, who will investigate if they deem it necessary.  Where there are serious concerns that a child has experienced, or is in immediate danger of experiencing physical or sexual abuse, the police must be called immediately.

Our educators provide a safe space for children to speak up and express their concerns, without fear of judgement, discrimination or ridicule.  Our educators are true advocates for the children in their care.

To maintain a secure environment, we conduct regular risk assessments of our facilities and scrutinise the backgrounds of all adults working with our children.  Our team is rigorously trained to recognise signs of potential harm, abuse or neglect, ensuring swift and appropriate action is taken.

Educators ensure that records of any incidents, responses, and decisions regarding child safety and welfare are maintained.


CCTV Surveillance For Enhanced Security

In line with our commitment to security, we have CCTV cameras to enhance protection for children against harm and hazards.  These are installed in main thoroughfares, children’s rooms and outdoor spaces (there are no cameras in any bathroom to protect privacy). The use of surveillance footage is strictly governed and can only be accessed by members of the Leadership team and cannot be accessed remotely.  Footage is intended only for minimising immediate risk, investigating incidents, or serving as evidence for the Department of Education, or the police.  


Families are informed of our CCTV cameras in the family handbook before enrolling their children into the service.


Qualified Staffing Arrangements for Child Safety

Our staffing arrangements policy takes into consideration a range of factors to ensure the safety, wellbeing and engagement of every child in our service.  Educator to child ratios are maintained throughout the day, ensuring adequate supervision during educational experiences, routines and transitions.

We value continuity of care at Starfish; familiar faces and predictability are key to ensuring children and their families feel safe and secure in their environment.  At Starfish we are proud of our low staff turnover, having many educators who have worked with us for ten years or more.  We strive to utilise a pool of support educators within our rosters to maintain consistency.  When this is not possible, we hire relief educators from reputable agencies to support our permanent educators in their work with the children.

We exceed the minimum requirement of having 50% Diploma qualified educators, with most of our educators having completed, or in the process of completing their Diploma, Graduate Diploma or Bachelor in Early Childhood Education.

Furthermore, we provide yearly training so that the majority of our educators have up to date First Aid, CPR, Asthma and Anaphylaxis management certificates.  This means that across the service there are educators in every room who can respond promptly to health emergencies.

Securing the Building: Controlled Access Systems

Our buildings and grounds have been purpose built, designed with the children’s safety and security in mind.  Room door handles are beyond children’s height so they cannot open doors on their own.  Fencing in the yards are sturdy and unscalable, with educators ensuring no objects or furniture are placed against the fence.  The front entrance has two part security – the code accessed main door, plus a second door, or a pool gate which cannot be opened by children.

Access to Starfish ELC is carefully controlled and requires specific codes which are provided only to authorised persons (staff members and families of children attending the service).  All volunteers, students and visitors are greeted at the door and escorted/supervised throughout their visit. 

Injury prevention 

While our educators work hard to implement policies, manage risk assessments and abide by all the laws and regulations, they cannot eliminate all incidents and injuries.  We provide appropriate amounts of safe, supervised risky play (opportunities for children to test their physical, emotional and cognitive boundaries), and children will have accidents that happen too quickly for educators to prevent.  It’s important to remember that young children are still building strength, spatial awareness, balance and social boundaries, and sometimes they get it wrong before they get it right – this is how we learn new skills!

We understand how upsetting it can be for families when they hear that their child has hurt themselves (believe it when we say that our educators hate to see children hurt too) and will work with families to develop strategies if there are concerns about a child injuring themselves.

Frequently Asked Questions

Emergency and evacuation drills are conducted quarterly, to ensure readiness for any eventuality. 

In case of security threats, emergency services will be contacted. Staff will secure children in sealed classrooms and keep them out of sight and safe until told it is safe to return to normal operations.