Guardian Child Care and Education Services are one of those quality early learning providers, so let’s take a look here at what makes them unique
Introduction to Guardian Child Care
In recent years, Australia has experienced a significant increase in the demand for affordable childcare. With the growing cost of living, more Australian families are reliant on duel incomes and changing perceptions has meant that many more women are returning to the workforce or choosing to study after having children. This has been an extremely positive shift for women, but has also placed the system under tremendous pressure to provide enough childcare places to meet this growing need.
In addition to the demand for childcare spaces, the introduction of the National Quality Standards has placed a strong emphasis on quality – resulting in childcare centres being viewed as early learning organisations rather than simply as care providers. The provision of quality child care services where learning is understood and valued brings significant long-term benefits to our country by educating our youngest citizens to ensure a sustainable society. Quality childcare has become a necessity for our country and fortunately childcare providers are working hard to not only meet the demand, but to also ensure that children are getting a great start by accessing high quality early learning programs that open doors to a bright and positive future.
Guardian Child Care and Education Services are one of those quality early learning providers, so let’s take a look here at what makes them unique.
The History of Guardian Child Care and Education Centres
Guardian Childcare and Education was founded in 2004 and started out as a business that supported the management of privately-owned childcare centres. Over time, their focus and structure changed and the company began offering childcare services to Australian families through the establishment of their own centres. There are now around 120 Guardian Childcare and Education centres across Australia that offer early learning and preschool programs for children from six weeks of age.
Education and Pedagogical Practices
A very strong emphasis is placed on the education aspect at Guardian Child care services and they recognise the importance of a holistic educational program that meets the needs of individual children and families. The program is designed to instill a love of learning and Guardian Child Care have developed their own curriculum approach that is based on current research relating to child development and how children learn best. The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) is used within the preschool program and is delivered by qualified teachers with a focus on preparing children for a smooth and successful transition to school. Guardian Child Care educators discuss their curriculum and attitudes towards the learning program within this video link: (272) Curriculum at Guardian Childcare & Education – YouTube
A Reggio Emilia Inspired Approach
Guardian Childcare and Education Centres are inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach and as such understand the importance of learning environments that are inviting for children, spark a sense of curiosity and are focused on providing real-world experiences. The play spaces have been carefully designed to incorporate natural materials and neutral tones that can ignite wonder, delight the senses and encourage exploration for child-led learning experiences through play. The environment is also set up to create a ‘homely’ feel that supports a sense of belonging for children and families when they enter the centre. Guardian recognises a sense of belonging as being a crucial aspect of an effective learning environment as children learn best when they feel safe, secure and supported. You can learn more about the Reggio Emilia approach here: Reggio Emilia Approach | Reggio Children
Core Values and Philosophy
At Guardian Child Care and Education, the values are described as passion for the industry, respect for open communication, excellence in all areas, partnerships with families and recognition of the achievements of both children and teams. Guardian Child Care centres also place a strong focus on the values of responsibility and community, and the program is intentionally designed so that children can develop the skills they need to be lifelong learners amid the complexities of the 21st century. We know this is important as in a world where change is constant, it is essential that we are raising the next generation to be out-of-the box thinkers who can work collaboratively and creatively to solve complex problems within a globally connected world.
Connections to Families and Communities
Relationships with families are considered of high importance and so staff at Guardian Child Care and Education Centres work in partnership with families to deliver a program that is holistic and underpinned by caring and trusting relationships. Families are supported to learn about early years pedagogy and how play is an effective vehicle for supporting learning – especially in the early development of literacy and numeracy skills as well as the development of important social skills.
Whilst partnership with families are important for effective learning, programs at Guardian Child Care and Education Centres place a strong emphasis on developing and sustaining connections with the wider community. They value excursions as important opportunities for learning and seek out ways of connecting with local services to open up possibilities for children and help them make sense of their place in the world.
There are some services which do not actually include excursions as part of their educational program as it can pose a lot of risk, so it is great to see that excursions feature in a number of Guardian Child Care centres. Obviously there would be strict ratio requirements and risk assessments involved in any excursions that may be undertaken.
Healthy Eating and Sustainability Practices
Growing strong and healthy bodies is just as important as growing healthy minds, so many Guardian Child Care centres have an onsite chef who prepares nutritious meals and healthy snacks for the children. Meals are eaten with educators and children together so that adults can role-model healthy eating and children can enjoy the valuable social experience of shared meals. One Guardian chef talks about the importance of her role within a centre here: https://youtu.be/VwDSgb3R-do
I think it is a wonderful opportunity for children to learn healthy eating habits and about various healthy foods when foods are prepared and cooked on site. Every now and then, services may have a ‘Lunch box week’ where children are encouraged to bring their own food from home. This can be a great experience to provide fine motor practice, enforce healthy eating habits and as a school readiness activity but in my opinion, when centres provide the food to the children, the children are exposed to a wide array of fruits, vegetables and multicultural dishes they may not usually get exposed to, hence providing variety in their diet and encouraging them to be regularly trying new foods.
Sustainable practices are another important focus at Guardian Child Care centres and staff incorporate learning about the environment and sustainability into the learning program. Families are encouraged to participate in environmental projects and each centre strives to limit its impact on the environment by working to reduce waste, recycle, compost and through being water-wise. Play spaces are also thoughtfully designed to make the best use of natural lighting which reduces energy consumption and natural play materials are preferred over plastic toys to further reduce their carbon footprint.
Assessment and Ratings
It is reported that 93% of Guardian Child Care and Education Centres are rated by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) as either Meeting or Exceeding the National Quality Standards. This is the governing body that sets a national benchmark for ensuring quality within education and care services across Australia. These ratings are important because they allow families to make informed decisions in relation to the services they choose to access and to have confidence that their child is being educated in an environment that is safe, clean, appropriately supervised and educationally stimulating. You can find out more about the Assessment and Ratings processes here: Assessment and rating process | ACECQA.
Summary of Guardian Child Care
Guardian Child Care and Education Centres have developed a strong reputation for providing services that meet the needs of individual children within beautiful learning environments that engage and inspire. If you would like to know more about Guardian Child Care and Education Centres, visit their website by clicking the following link: Early Childcare Education | Guardian Childcare & Education. Here you will find a range of information and resources relating to the services they offer as well as information about their underpinning values and philosophies.
There are many early learning services around Australia that similarly have excellent reputations, ratings of ‘Meeting’ or ‘Exceeding’ the National Quality Standards and provide quality care and education for children 0-5.
It is always a good idea to visit any centre you are thinking to enrol in, to ask vital questions regarding their care, education, health and safety practices, educational program, staffing, fees and anything else they may offer or provide.
Disclaimer – I am in no way affiliated with Guardian Child Care Centres and so this article is not a recommendation or an endorsement at all. It is simply an overview of what Guardian Child Care provide, and you should always do your own research when it comes to choosing a quality early learning service for your child.