Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re a bit shy to ask us some questions, explore our list of frequently asked questions
and let us put your mind at ease.

For any other enquiries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The Victorian Government provides funding to support children to access a kindergarten program in the year before they start school. The funding is a contribution towards meeting the cost of the kindergarten program and is based on the number of children enrolled in the program at Starfish Early Learning Centre. Each child is only eligible to attend only one funded kindergarten for a single year.
Kindergarten attendance is not compulsory.
Your child is eligible for a funded year of kindergarten if they are four by 30 April of that year. The Victorian government provides funding for all eligible children to access a kindergarten program in the year before school entry.
Places are limited to the room capacity of each Centre, so please contact your respective Centre Director for availability.
All Starfish Early Learning Centres are open five days a week, Monday to Friday, from 7am to 6pm.
We have not taken our programming online at this stage. We feel that our families value the way we document their children’s learning. We have worked with various consultants and collaborated with our educators and families to create a program structure that is rich in learning and meaningful for our children. We understand that families appreciate the idea of seeing daily photos on an online platform, but we would prefer that the educators spend their time with the children rather that on a computer/iPad. All photos taken of your child throughout the year are saved onto a CD for you to take home at the end of the year.
The first thing we consider is that every child is different, and we handle all situations differently depending on the child’s needs, also taking into account parent’s requests wherever possible. Some children will settle in one week, others in a month and some children a little bit longer. However, we are confident that the children will eventually settle as our educators are trained to assist children transition into their new environment. The main aim during this transition period, is for the educators to get to know the children, building trusting relationships with each individual so they feel comfortable, safe and secure. Some children may need a hug (from a trusted educator or a favourite toy), some children may want to hold an educators hand, while others just want some space, but always with an educator within proximity. Crying is a normal expression for children, as they are communicating their discomfort. We never discourage crying, but help the child find ways to cope with this change in their day. We have an orientation process whereby we recommend families attend 2 x 1-hour play days. (please by all means, advise us if you would like more orientation days, we want you to be comfortable, as well as your child. Starting at an early learning centre is often stressful for parents as well as their child. We aim to work with the whole family to ensure everyone feels secure at Starfish. We welcome phone calls throughout the day (as many as you need for your peace of mind). We can let you know how your child is doing, whether they’ve eaten, slept etc and if they are upset. If your child is particularly distressed and the educators are concerned, they will give you a call and let you know…it might be worthwhile keeping the first few days a bit shorter in this case.
We provide a 4 week rotating menu, which is reviewed and updated seasonally. The menu has been created to provide children with a balanced nutritious diet, crafted by our Kitchen Supervisor in consultation with Nutrition Australia. The menu is a mixture of hot and cold foods, cuisines from different cultures, seasonal fruits and vegetables, meat dishes and also non meat dishes. We mix up the dishes over 4 weeks, because we understand that some children only attend 1 day per week and we do not want them to have the same meal every time they attend Starfish ELC. The meals also form part of the children’s learning and development. We know that children won’t be able to participate in learning experiences properly if they are hungry, so we do our best to ensure they eat during the day. We encourage children to eat what we have served, however, we never force children to eat. If they really don’t like what we’ve served, we can offer them something else that they would prefer. If you have a particularly fussy child, it would be helpful to let the educators know what they like to eat at home so we can try to accommodate that way – this can be documented on your enrolment form or via email. It is very common for children to not eat as they normally would when they first start attending. Just as adults feel nervous and unable to eat, so too do our children. We do, however, ensure they are drinking plenty of water and will encourage them to eat something. If the educators are concerned about your child’s health in terms of what they are/aren’t eating or drinking, they will give you a call to let you know. Because we have children with life threatening allergies and other sensitivities to certain foods, we must ensure we have complete control over the food that the children have access to. Therefore we ask that no food be brought into the centre.
Our educational program is something that we’ve been working very hard at – we’ve worked with consultants and our entire team to develop and review it to ensure it is relevant and appropriate for all our children. We provide an educational program for every single child in our centres – with the same format used for all age groups, from babies through to Kindergarten. Our educators review their program fortnightly, evaluating what the children have learnt and making modifications as needed. Each room has a Daily Learning Journal, which is a series of photos from the day and a short blurb about what the children have done and learnt that day. This document is used by the lead educators during their planning time to ensure the ongoing program is based on the children’s current skills, developmental level, culture and curiosities, and what the educators believe would benefit the children. It is worth noting that due to the number of children that attend every day – not every child will be featured on every learning journal. At the end of each week, the Centre Director will email a summary of these Daily Journals called the Weekly Wrap up/Round up, to all our families. This gives families the opportunity to see a snapshot of the learning that has occurred across the service. Each child will have an individual portfolio for the year – which is a collection of photos, observations and group documentations. This is available for families to view during the year, and theirs to take home at the end of the year. It is a way for educators and families to document children’s progress throughout the year and makes a lovely keepsake at the end of the year.
We understand that there are many families who would like their children to begin reading and writing before they begin school. This can be detrimental to the children who are not ready to do these things. We do guide children who are ready and interested in reading and writing, but we don’t have worksheets for children to complete. Our literacy and numeracy programs are embedded in every room, within all the educational experiences. For example: reading during morning meetings, written labels for children to learn about symbols and codes, during block play – balance, counting, measurements etc, fine motor experiences to build finger muscles (so they can hold a pencil), drawing and art and creative experiences.
As we put a lot of effort into ensuring the wellbeing of our educators, we find that we don’t have a lot of staff turnover. Our recruitment process focuses on finding educators who have similar values and attitudes so that they can fit into the culture at Starfish. Most of our educators are Diploma qualified, and we encourage educators to further their learning through traineeships and professional learning opportunities.
Our primary method of communication is through verbal discussions – at drop off and pick up times, over the phone and especially during the orientation process. We have many multi lingual educators, so families with English as a second language can get accurate information when needed. We email regular updates, as well as our weekly wrap up newsletters, and have closed, private Facebook group for each centre which the Directors post special events and share learning that is occurring at their service. Families are encouraged to post here as well, and we’ve seen wonderful examples of how the children’s learning from Starfish has permeated their home lives as well. Each room also has a Daily Routine board, which documents the meals the children have eaten that day, whether they’ve slept (and for how long) and for the younger children, how much milk they’ve drunk. We welcome feedback from our families, in all forms, as we’re constantly looking for ways we can improve our practices, our environments and our policies.
Our educators ensure that hygiene is maintained within the rooms and common areas, and also assist the children to maintain their personal hygiene. Surfaces are wiped during the day, with tables and highchairs disinfected before being used at mealtimes. For the younger rooms where children often put toys in their mouths, we rotate toys so they can be regularly washed and disinfected. We provide linen for the children to use at sleep/rest times which is washed between uses (so children do not share linen). Floors are swept/vacuumed and mopped daily (twice daily wherever possible) and bathrooms are cleaned, disinfected and mopped twice daily. Children and educators have constant access to handsoap, sanitizer, paper towel and hand dryers to ensure hand hygiene is kept up, and educators have easy access to disposable gloves as well. Since the Coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020, we have stepped up our cleaning and hygiene practices, incorporating Siqura spray on high traffic areas at least twice daily, and providing masks to all our educators. (Details can be found on our most current COVID safe plan)
To ensure the health and safety of all our children, families, educators and visitors, we ask that children do not attend the service when unwell. ‘Just a cold’ in one child could present as a very serious illness in another child. Young children are not as adept as adults at covering their mouths, or sneezing into tissues, so can easily spread illnesses in enclosed spaces. The best place for a child who is unwell is resting at home – this will assist with a quick recovery so they can return to Starfish sooner. Some of the illnesses that require a child to stay home: vomiting, diarrhea, fever, green runny nose, coughing, conjunctivitis and unexplained rash. If unsure, we recommend speaking with your GP, as they can advise whether your child is fit to attend Starfish or not. Please note that fees are still payable for booked days if your child doesn’t attend, but Centrelink will also pay CCS so it will only be the gap fee that is payable.
Our sleep/rest routines are flexible to take into account the needs of the individual children and their family requirements. Most children have a rest or sleep after lunch, but if a child is tired outside of these hours and needs a sleep, we can accommodate for this too. The baby rooms follow the individual home routines as much as possible, so their sleep times, bottle and mealtimes will be different to the other rooms. Towards the end of the year, the children in the 4yo kindergarten room will move to doing quiet experiences rather than resting, which will assist with their transition to school. Nappies are changed approximately every 2-3 hours (more frequently for the babies) or immediately after soiling themselves.

Get in touch

Simply fill in the form to register your interest, and our Centre Director will be in touch to discuss your needs & answer any questions you may have.

You can also contact us on 1300 168 881 if you would like to have a chat.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.