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Situational Analysis

Community and families Analysis

The Cubbyhouse pre-school and occasional care centre is located in Menai, Menai is an interesting and complex area. At first glance, it appears to be a
within the Sutherland LGA in southern Sydney. Cubbyhouse is situated in relatively stable, homogenous community. The complexity comes as we
the middle of the main Menai town centre; it is next door to the community examine the fringes of the data and statistics. With 90% of residents born in
hall and Early childhood Health centre and directly opposite the library and Australia or in an English-speaking country. Even though 80% of residents
major shopping centre. It also has the childcare ‘Good start early learning speak only English, consideration in planning and programming must be
centre’. Menai has 11,296 residents, of whom 688 (6.3% are of preschool given to the 17% of residents who speak another language, especially when
age and below. 49.5% of households being single-parent families. 62% of 1.7% of residents speak little or no English. Care must also be taken when
Menai residents are employed full-time with 33% employed part-time, the only dominant cultural grouping are Australian-born Australians, the
23.5% of residents cared for their own children. 80% of residents were born next most dominant cultural group are Greek people at only 2.4%. Menai is
in Australia, with 6% of residents being born in an English speaking disparate community when it comes to examining household incomes.
country. 10% of residents were born over seas in a non-English speaking Whilst only 40% of households have a high weekly income, 12% of
country. 80% of residents speak English only, with only 1.7% of residents residents are in the lowest income quartile. A high proportion of residents
reporting they did not speak English well or at all. 2.4% of residents spoke work either full or part time (95%) – issues around families suffering from
Greek at home (258 people), 1.8% spoke Arabic, 1.5% spoke Macedonian stress and work/life balance issues need to be considered. Whilst many
and 1.4% spoke Mandarin. Over 70% of residents reported their religion as residents report that they work locally, 54% of residents work outside the
Catholic, with 19% reporting no religion, then 1.3% reporting Islam as their LGA and with limited public transport (busses only), this may also lead to
religion. 56% of the population have a post-high school qualification. 0% of long commuting hours and a need to have children in local childcare
children 0% of children 0-5 report that they need assistance with core (Transport Info, NSW, 2018).
activities. 20% of the population reported doing some voluntary work in The provision of facilities to support families, are in one area. This can be
2016. 40% of households are reported to have a high weekly income. 12% due to the face that two childcare centre’s are close by as this reflects on the
of households are in the lowest income. 1.7% of people living in Sutherland ABS information that young families live in the area. Cubbyhouse is a
LGA report they are from Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background. specific service as it offers occasional care.
(Australian Bureau of statistics (ABS, 2016).
Centre Analysis

The cubbyhouse pre-school and occasional care centre was established in As a community based not-for-profit, Cubbyhouse must invest any profits
1995 and is a community based, not-for-profit, early learning centre. A back into the centre. This means that the director is able to employ extra
volunteer management committee runs Cubbyhouse. Cubbyhouse is staff to improve ratios, but also to allow better continuity of care. Staffs are
licensed to care for 29 children between 0-5 years of age. They currently able to work as casuals when other staffs are sick, meaning the children
care for up to 8 children less than 2 years of age each day. Cubbyhouse cares have already established relationships with the relief staff. Cubbyhouse is a
for the children as a family group, with all children in one large open space. small centre and as it is structures around a family grouping philosophy, all
The centre is purpose built with all areas of the centre visible and accessible. staff get to know all the children and importantly, siblings are able to spends
The children are able to move between the indoor and outdoor spaces as time with each other and comfort each other if distressed. Cubbyhouse
they wish, with staff accommodating this by ensuring adequate supervision philosophy also allows children freedom of agency between indoor and
is always maintained. Cubbyhouse uses the online Story Park system to outdoors, this enables children to spend time in the areas they are most
communicate with families to update children’s portfolios and to plan for the interested in and allows children’s freedom to relax, run and be boisterous
children’s learning. The centre is currently an approved provider of outside whenever they feel like it. All Cubbyhouse staff is trained in
children’s services, but the director is currently working to have children’s services and have many years of experience between them. The
Cubbyhouse assessed and included under the National Quality Framework. staffs have a low turnover, as it provides flexible working conditions and a
All current policies and procedures are being updated to reflect the pleasant working environment. This means families and children establish
framework. Cubby house has a director, Katherine Frankland, who is an strong and meaningful relationships of trust with each other and successive
Early Childhood Teacher with a Bachelor of Teaching 0-5. Katherine leads a children from families are able to enjoy the same staff members. Story Park
team of 8 educators who work across the week; all staff members are has been implemented by Cubbyhouse in the last year and has been well
qualified and have either a Certificate 3 in Children’s services or a Diploma accepted by staff, all staff members I have spoken with speak favourably
in Children’s services. Katherine moves around the centre throughout the about this system and feel it has been improvement in the way planning is
day and has an open-door policy for the children, staff and families to spend done and parent/centre communication is done. The educators and centre
time with her. Each day, two-educator work with the pre-school children and allow both children and families to feel a sense of safety and security once
4 educators work with the babies and toddlers. There is also a staff member entering (DEEWR, 2009).
rostered on the kitchen support, which also work with the children. This is
above the required ration for the centre.
Children Analysis
At the cubbyhouse there are currently around 8 children each day who are
The children generally come from frequently enough to the Cubbyhouse to
under 2 years of age. These young children generally attend two days per
settle quickly into routines and relationships. The director is also always
week, with a few coming three days and a few only coming one day. The
available to help with the settling of children and will also spend one-on-
children arrive at the centre anytime between 8.15am and 10am, with most
one time with a child when they need this. The children start to take
of the children being picked up by 4:30pm. The children who are under 2
responsibility for their food choices from a very young age and gain
are given morning tea and afternoon tea by the centre. Each child also brings
independence through the process of choosing food from their lunchbox.
a lunch box that contains their lunch and also any bottles/drinks they might
They also learn about keeping their friends safe as staff discus any lunchbox
needs. Almost all staff members eat their lunch In the setting with the
items that may be a problem for children with allergies. Eating with and
children around them. The families supply nappies for their children and
around the children is important and gives staff and the children an
each child also brings several changes of clothes each day. All children need
opportunity to talk and chat as they eat together. Children are taught about
to wear a hat when outside. Children up to the age of about 18 months old
the importance of sun-safety from their first day at the Cubbyhouse and
are seated in a high chair to eat their food. Children sleep and eat at tis age
wearing a hat and sunscreen outdoors quickly becomes a normal part of the
according to the wishes of their families and their expressed needs. Children
child’s routine. By closely carefully following and respecting the routines of
are put to bed the same way as they are at home and the same comfort items
each child and family, the Cubbyhouse staff sending a strong message to
are given to them. The older children are taught to be gentle with the
families that we are working in partnership and that their routines and
younger children the staff carefully shadow any babies to ensure their safety.
wishes are respected and important. All children are the Cubbyhouse are
The children and staff maintain a plot in the Menai Community Garden,
taught to treat each other with respect, older children are taught to be gentle
adjacent to the preschool. All children make regular visits to the garden to
around younger children and babies move freely around the centre and are
care for the produce. The learning program is based on the children’s
able to interact with all children of all ages. The children are taught from a
interest. The program based on occasional care children is based on their
young age how to care for plants and vegetables and they know the
interests that they show around the centre. The program that is for the
importance of water and know how to differentiate between weeds and
children at the centre, are goals that the educators have developed for the
plants.
children.