Childcare at The Children's Hospital at Westmead

The Children's Hospital at Westmead Child Care Centre provides child care primarily for the children of staff of The Children's Hospital at Westmead.

Contact details

The Child Care Centre is in the grounds of The Children's Hospital at Westmead, near BJ Amos Oval and next door to Westmeadow Child Care Centre.

Directions by car:

From Hawkesbury Road take the last road entrance for Westmead Hospital, signposted 'University Clinic', and by follow the signs to Westmeadow Child Care Centre. We are located next door. 

From Redbank Rd, drive over the blue bridge, follow the road as it curves around (do not go up or down, stay on the level road). Pass two small white petrol bowsers on your right before coming to a boom-gate. Please press the buzzer and the boom-gate will be opened. After the boom-gate, turn right immediately after driving across the pedestrian crossing, and go past Westmeadow Child Care Centre. We are located next door.

  • Ph: 9845 3961 or 9845 3960
  • Fax: 9845 0640
  • Email: suzanne.dearling@health.nsw.gov.au
  • Mailing address: The Children's Hospital at Westmead Child Care Centre, Locked Bag 4001 Westmead NSW 2145

The Children's Hospital at Westmead Child Care Centre provides child care primarily for the children of staff of The Children's Hospital at Westmead. The Child Care Centre is a Department of the Hospital within the Corporate Services Division. We aim to work as a team of parents, staff and children, to provide high quality child centred care, in a warm and supportive environment.

ONLINE WAITING LIST FORM

Hours

The Children's Hospital at Westmead Child Care Centre is open Monday to Friday 6:30 am to 6:30 pm, 50 weeks of the year. Late fees are charged for children who have not left the Service by 6:30pm. The service is closed for all public holidays and for two weeks over the Christmas/New Year period, plus two cleaning days. Parents will be advised at least one (1) month in advance of the shutdown period. Fees will not be charged over this period.

Child Care Benefit

Child Care Benefit (CCB) is a payment made to eligible families to assist with the costs of child care. All Australian residents are entitled to receive a minimum payment of the Child Care Benefit (CCB). To receive this you must be registered with the Family Assistance Office (FAO) located in Centrelink, Medicare and ATOs. Once you have registered with the FAO you will receive CCB as either fee reduction, a fortnightly or quarterly payment or a lump sum payment following the end of the financial year. The FAO will notify the Service of your nominated method. If you choose a weekly reduction in fees, the percentage of fee relief for your family will then be calculated by the Service who will inform you of your daily adjusted fee.

For more information contact Centrelink on 13 61 50.

Fee structure and payment

At least one month's notice will be given if there is any change in fees.

On enrolment you are required to pay a bond equivalent of four (4) weeks fees that will be held in the Centre's Special Purpose and Trust account. The bond will be used as fees when four weeks notice of withdrawing a child is given to the Director.

Child care fees are to be paid four weeks in advance. Fees are charged for all public holidays except over the closure period over Christmas/New Year. No fees are charged for the two week closure over Christmas/New Year or for the two cleaning days which are held in June/July and in December.

Methods of payment

Payroll deduction - for Children's Hospital staff
Cheque - made payable to The Children's Hospital Child Care Centre
Cash -to the Children's Hospital cashier on level 2.
Credit Card - to the Children's Hospital cashier on level 2.
Salary packaging - see Finance Department

Waiting list

Waiting list application forms are available from the Service or you can fill out a waiting list form online.

When the Service receives the waiting list form, the data is entered on to the waiting list. Parents will be contacted by phone when a place becomes available for their child. The waiting list is updated once a year via a mail out. It is imperative to return this form by the nominated date in order to keep your name on the waiting list. Places are allocated in accordance with the Priority of Access Policy. Siblings of children already enrolled at the Service are given first preference.

When allocating new places, within these priorities, the place is offered to the family who had their name placed on the list at the earliest date.

Arrival and departure

When driving to the Centre you will approach the Westmead Hospital boom-gates. Simply press the buzzer and state that you are dropping your child off at the Child Care Centre, and the boom-gate will be raised for you. Drop off zones are provided in the parking area outside the Centre.

The Centre has a security system at the front door for access to the Service. Simply press the buzzer for the appropriate room for your child to attend, and staff will respond in that room by answering the buzzer, and on identifying the person at the door, will release the catch for the front door to be opened for you.

A sign in/sign out attendance sheet is kept for the children attending. It is the parent's responsibility to fill this in every day. In the case of an emergency, such as fire, the attendance sheet is the record for staff of the children in the Centre at the time who must be accounted for.

Sunscreen is available in the foyer for you to apply on arrival each morning. When you arrive please take your child to his/her teacher. Place your fruit in the fruit basket and your child's bag in his/her locker. If your child is wearing a nappy, please change him/her before leaving the centre.

If the person collecting your child from the Centre is unknown to the staff then they will be asked to show photo ID to a staff member at the Service.

We will not to allow your child to leave the Service with anyone under the age of 18 years or with someone unknown to us without photo ID, or who does not have authorisation.

In the centre

Daily routine

Wombats Room (0-3 year old)
6:30 am - Family grouping time. Set up in/outdoor activities. 
7:00 am - Breakfast in /outdoors (depending on weather). Quiet activities. 
8:00am - Breakfast finishes. in/outdoor play. 
9:00am - Morning tea/ nappy changing/ toilet time. 
10:00am - Indoor/outdoor activities. 
11:00am - Language group time - Pink group and Green group. 
11:15am - Lunch. Nappy changing/ toilet time. 
11:40am - Quiet activities before bed. 
12:00pm - Bed time. 
12:00-2:30pm - Alternating staff lunch breaks. 
1:00pm - Quiet indoor activities. Sunscreen application. 
2:30pm - Music group time - Pink group and Green group. 
2:45pm - Nappy Changing / toilet time. 
3:00pm - Afternoon tea. 
3:30pm - In/outdoor activities (depending on weather). Family grouping. 
5:30pm - Join up with the Possums in the Possums room. 
6:30pm - Centre closes. 
Possums Room (3-5 year old)
6:30am - Indoor activities in Wombat room or breakfast on the verandah or outdoor activities (weather permitting). 
8:00am - Outdoor activities / Indoor activities (depending on weather). 
9:00am - Progressive Morning tea. In/outdoor play (depending on weather). 
9:35am - First group for group time. 
10:00am - Second group for group time. 
10:25am - Third group for group time. 
10:50am - Pack away time. Children go outside for play (depending on weather) 
11:30am - Lunch time (children self-serve meals). 
12:00-2:30pm - Alternating staff lunch breaks. 
12:10pm - Language and literature groups. 
12:20pm - Toilet time. 
12:40pm - Sleep/Rest time (catering for individual needs). 
1:10pm - Quiet activities in the room including craft. 
2:30pm - Sunscreen and shoes on. Indoor Activities. 
3:00pm - Progressive afternoon tea. Indoor / Outdoor free play. 
4:30pm - Pack away indoors. Outdoor play. (weather permitting). 
5:30pm - Indoor time- DVD's, books, music and movement, construction. 
6:30pm - Centre Closes.

Food and nutrition

  • The service provides breakfast for those children in care prior to 8 am, morning tea, a hot lunch with dessert and afternoon tea. A variety of foods is provided from the five food groups. More than half the recommended daily dietary intake of nutrients is provided by the service. Any suggestions for the menu from parents are welcome.
  • Please let staff know if your child has any food allergies or food preferences (for religious reasons or otherwise). Our cook provides alternative meals for children with food restrictions.
  • The menu is displayed in the foyer. It incorporates food from a variety of cultural backgrounds.
  • Babies on formula will only be given their bottle with the formula already made up from home, if the bottle is labelled with the date and the child’s name and placed in the bottle fridge in the Wombat room.

What to bring

  • A bed sheet 
  • Two spare sets of clothes 
  • A piece of fruit 
  • Gum boots in wet weather 
  • 5 disposable nappies if required for children in the Wombat room 
  • Please label your child's disposable nappies and place them on the shelf in the nappy change room. Please let us know if your child is toilet training and include numerous pairs of training pants.
  • Please toilet your child on arrival for those children who are toilet training. Wet clothes will be placed in a plastic bag in the laundry for parents to collect.
  • Please label all your child's clothes. Although staff will look for any lost items, we cannot take responsibility for them.
  • On enrolment, families are required to purchase a legionnaire style hat for their child as part of the sun protection policy. This hat will then remain at the centre for your child to wear all year round when playing outside.
  • The children are encouraged to bring an item for 'show and tell' on some days, and to put them in the appropriate show and tell basket.
  • Please do not bring anything that is precious, valuable or too large to fit in the show and tell basket

Learning in the centre

Our educational program aims to contribute to the following learning outcomes:

  • The child will have a strong sense of identity 
  • The child will be connected with and contribute to his or her world 
  • The child will have a strong sense of wellbeing 
  • The child will be a confident and involved learner 
  • The child will be an effective communicator. 

Children are offered a choice of experiences that the staff have planned or the children initiated. Staff respect the child's right to choose not to participate at times. Staff are flexible and change planned or routine experiences according to the interests of the children, to cope with other situations eg; weather changes. Staff allow frequent opportunities to have friendly spontaneous interaction with all children individually and to respond to them warmly. Routine tasks are incorporated into the curriculum as a means of furthering children learning self-help and social skills. All children need to feel they are valued as individuals and capable of achieving to their full potential.

Health and safety

The Children's Hospital at Westmead Child Care Centre's Health and Safety policies have been developed in consultation with staff, parents and paediatricians to minimize the spread of infection within the Service. When children spend time in child care and are exposed to a large number of children, infectious diseases can spread. However, most childhood illnesses are relatively mild and can even boost a child's immunity.

Our hygiene procedures and policy for exclusion of sick children plays an important role in minimizing infection. Our policies set out what procedures the staff will take if your child falls sick at the service. Staff monitor the children very closely in this regard and always contact the parents should there be any concern regarding the child's health.

  • Administration of authorised medication 
  • Immunisation and disease prevention 
  • Medical conditions policy 
  • Emergency management and evacuation policy 
  • Child protection policy 
  • Health, Hygiene and safe food policy 
  • Further Information
  • Immunise Australia Program 
  • Kidsafe - The Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia

Management 

The Director of the Service manages the day to day operation on the Service and reports to the Delegate of the Service, the Deputy Director of Corporate Services. The Service is managed in accordance with the NSW Health Department Child Care program Manual. The Parent Advisory Committee which meets bi-monthly provides parents the opportunity to have input into the operations of the Service.

Legislation

A National Quality Framework (NQF) has been established under an applied law system, comprised of the 'Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010' and the 'Education and Care Services National Regulation 2011.'

The fore mentioned National Quality Framework sets a national benchmark for the quality of the service.

Parental involvement

Parents are welcome at the Centre at all times. All staff recognise the importance of parent input in order to foster all aspects of their child's development. Suggestions are always welcome.

Newsletters, whiteboards and noticeboards in the Centre are all used as additional ways of communicating with the parents, as well as verbal communication when you pick up or drop off your child. Parents/Staff interviews can be arranged annually. They are a great opportunity to discuss your child's development but you are always welcome to make time to talk to the staff as the need may arise. The Service also holds family functions such as barbecues and breakfasts throughout the year to which everyone is invited.

Philosophy

Our Service aims to focus on the development of the whole child, by offering a curriculum which allows children to explore their environment, whilst encouraging children to participate in the curriculum at their own pace, as we recognise that each child is unique and valuable. We endeavour to provide children with experiences that assist them to develop new skills and equip them with opportunities to attempt new challenges, enabling children to strive in all areas of development. Moreover, we believe that for a child to achieve to their full potential, they should be commended on their efforts rather than outcomes. Our Service believes that each individual child should be cared for in a nurturing environment.

We believe that children develop independence and self-esteem within the wider context of the social world through the construction of a curriculum that is based on the 'Early Years Learning Framework for Australia', creating an environment that encourages Belonging, Being and Becoming.

All educators are committed to consistency in the highest quality of the curriculum and professional development and its delivery within a safe environment. Through communicating, listening and quality teaching, we can provide a positive environment to guide young children to become successful learners, confident and creative individuals and active and informed citizens, as per the 'Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians 2008'.

In addition, we value the philosophical and cultural diversity of our families and educators. We seek to extend and compliment the stable and secure environment of the home by building partnerships with parents and children that are based on trust and respect. As a work-based Service, we aim to accommodate the working patterns of parents.

We strive to encourage parental involvement and input in all aspects of the curriculum, in conjunction with the pursuit to encourage children and families to participate in ecological sustainability of reduce, reuse and recycle. Furthermore, we make every effort to be responsible members of our local community and local hospital and value the resources and services it provides. We aspire to involve the children in the awareness of the broader community.

In respect of children, our goal is to:

  • Provide a range of culturally diverse experiences and activities in the day-to-day curriculum
  • Encourage more physical activity and development of gross motor skills by incorporating the 'Munch and Move' program into the curriculum
  • Incorporate EYLF into the daily curriculum
  • Incorporate computer technology to access information and foster development of knowledge in related areas.

In respect of families, our goal is to:

  • Encourage parental involvement in the service, the curriculum, routines etc
  • Acknowledge the uniqueness of each family and the significance of their culture, customs, language and beliefs through resources, visual aids and experience, supporting parents in the care and wellbeing of their children.

In respect of educators, our goal is to:

  • Ensure that all work colleagues treat each other with respect and work together as part of a team, ensuring the smooth running of the service, day-to-day routine and education curriculum
  • Recognise each educator's expertise in the Early Childhood field
  • Provide adequate resources in all areas.

In respect of the community:

  • To encourage sustainable practices within the service and encourage the children to follow the three "R's"
  • To develop children's knowledge and appreciation of environment and water conservation.

Priority of access

The priority of access is as follows:

  • First Priority: Staff employed by the Area Health Service on the specific site of the Child Care Service are to receive first priority.
  • Second Priority: Staff employed by the Area Health Service are to receive the second priority with places given to staff at the sponsoring Hospital.
  • Third Priority: Staff employed by other Area Health Services and other Health System Services are to receive third priority.
  • Fourth Priority: Should the Service be unable to fill all the child care places from with the above categories then places will be available to the community.

With these categories length of care provided is to be in accordance with work hours and reasonable travel time, e.g. 15 minutes either side of shift, 30 minutes if off campus.

Special consideration shall be given to:

  • Families with sibling(s) currently attending the centre
  • Shift-workers
  • Families on lower incomes
  • Single parents and families in which both parents are working
  • Aboriginal families
  • Parents or children with ongoing disabilities
  • Families from a non-English speaking background.

As stated in the NSW Health Department Child Care Program Manual (1996).

Staff

The Service is staffed according to The Education and Care Services National Regulations under sections 301 and 324 of the Education and Care Services National Law, at all times of the day - inside and outside.

Under 2 years of age - 1 adult : 4 children
2-3 years - 1 adult : 8 children
3-5 years - 1 adult : 10 children
Children enrolled at the service are allocated to one of two rooms depending on their age. Children between the ages of 0 - 3 years are placed in the Wombat room (maximum 15 children). Children between the ages of 3 - 5 are placed in the Possum room (maximum 25 children).

Five (5) full-time staff are rostered to work in the 0 - 3 year olds room (Wombat room) each day, which includes an Early Childhood University Trained Teacher, 3 Diploma of Social Science Educators and 1 Child Care Certificate III certified worker.

In the Possums room, three (3) full time staff members are allocated to work with the 25 children, plus 1 part time staff member. This comprises of 1 Early Childhood University Trained Teacher, 2 Diploma of Social Science Educators and 1 part time Child Care Certificate III certified worker.

The Service has a trained full-time permanent relief staff member (Diploma of Social Science) and a permanent part-time staff member (Child Care Certificate III certified) to cover for staff when they are on leave.

The Service has a cook who prepares the meals for the children and also a full time administrative officer.

The Director of the Service (Nominated Supervisor) holds a degree in Early Childhood Education.

Programming and planning

The Children's Hospital at Westmead Child Care Centre has implemented the Early Years Learning Framework, which aims to provide a high quality program that reflects the interests of every child. Children will be encouraged to be actively involved in the learning process, to experience a variety of activities and materials.

Staff observe the children's behaviour and skills and use this as a basis for individual program planning. Staff plan realistic curriculum goals and objectives for individual children and each room displays a written weekly program for parents to read. Modifications are made in the environment for children with exceptional development and when necessary staff make appropriate, professional referrals in conjunction with families.

The curriculum refers to all activities during the day and provides children with balanced opportunities for quiet times and group times, adequate rest periods and small and large group activities. The program and individual objectives are evaluated weekly. All the materials and equipment within the curriculum reflect the cultural diversity that exists in our society and avoid stereotyping of any group.

Goals are set with the parents and staff at the beginning of the year and evaluated with parents and staff at the end of the year.

The curriculum also includes, on a daily basis, the opportunity for children to experience:

  • Indoor and outdoor activities
  • Opportunities to strengthen and enhance fine and gross motor skills
  • Experience concepts of maths and science through activities such as cooking, block play, water play, collecting nature items, board games, and so on
  • Language development is encourage through staff modelling, play, language groups, songs, finger play, games, poems, drama and child to child interaction
  • School readiness, social/emotional and independence skills are strengthened through a wide range of activities designed to enhance a child's auditory, visual and tactile senses
  • Music/movement activities are offered daily to encourage physical, social/intellectual and fun areas of child's development.

Quality Improvement

The Service has an ongoing policy of quality improvement. Through staff meeting and meetings with the staff in each room, areas are identified which may need improvement and strategies are worked out, implemented and evaluated to ensure a high quality service is offered.

As part of our ongoing policy of quality improvement, staff at the Service work towards meeting the goals of our 'Continuing Improvement Plan'.

For more information on quality improvement and quality standards please visit the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority web site.

Parent Committee

There is a Parent Advisory Committee which meets bi-monthly. The committee consists of up to 12 members and is an opportunity to have input into the Service. Parents also have an opportunity to discuss any matters concerning the Centre. The minutes from the meetings are displayed on the notice board in the Foyer at the Service.

Newsletter

The newsletter is distributed to parents quarterly. The newsletter contains information about the Service activities eg visitors to the Service, any staffing changes, and also news about what activities have taken place in each of the playrooms. There may also be information about the latest fundraising project.

Vacation care

Vacation Care at The Children's Hospital at Westmead provides quality care for up to 30 children aged from 5-12 years of age. Positions are offered to all hospital employees as well as staff at attached hospitals at Westmead and Cumberland who may need to use the service. The Service is registered which enables parents to present their receipt for testing with Family Assistance at a Medicare/Centrelink Office.

Location

The service is located in one of The Children's Hospital at Westmead's existing classrooms. This classroom is opposite the Orthopaedic Ward and is accessed by turning right once through the main entrance, walking straight towards the end of the corridor, turning right again when reaching the 'Bear Bite' Brasserie (following the signs for the Orthopaedic Unit), then turning left at the second corridor.

Hours of opening

The Vacation Care hours of opening are 07:00 until 18:30hrs.

How to book

Parents can book four weeks in advance of each program. Enrolment forms are obtained from the intranet under Child Care Services or from The Children's Hospital at Westmead Child Care Centre, (at the back of the Hospital next to the Brain Injury Unit and BJ Amos Oval). Fees can be paid at the cashier's office at the Hospital. If paying at the cashier, please ensure that the receipt is forwarded onto the Child Care Centre either in person, by e-mail or via facsimile (9845 0640) to secure the booking. Please note; the booking and enrolment forms need to be completed prior to payment being made, in order to secure a space for your child, these forms will be kept as confidential.

Fees

A daily fee per child applies. Fees must be paid in advance of the child attending, this fee is non-refundable. There is an extra charge on excursion days which is payable in cash at the Vacation Care Service.

Methods of payment

The cashier's office on level two of The Children's Hospital at Westmead, accepts payment types of, cash, cheque, credit or EFTPOS.

What to bring

Children need to bring their own drinks, morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. The children will also need to bring jumpers/jackets (depending on the weather) and a hat. The service provides sunscreen and children will not be permitted to play outdoors if they don't have a suitable hat. Comfortable clothing and suitable footwear should be worn. Due to the nature of the activities, children should not be sent in their best clothes.

Program

Each week of Vacation Care has a new program. Indoor activities are balanced with outdoor activities and include arts and crafts, music and drama. Activities are all supervised and are either structured or unstructured, allowing the children some degree of choice. An excursion is also planned for each term for which parental permission is obtained. When planning activities and excursions, the age and abilities of the children are taken into account. Likewise, the destination and length of the excursion and method of transport are considered. All details of the excursions are published for parents/guardians with full details of destination, times of departure and return.

Staffing

Staff/child ratios are one staff member for every 15 children whilst in the Service and on excursions the ratio is one staff member for every eight children.

Contact

For enquiries about Vacation Care, please phone Suzanne Dearling on (02) 9845 3961 or Evelyn Pereira on (02) 9845 3960.

During the Vacation Care Program, the service can be contacted by phone on (02) 9845 2839.

A list of other vacation care programs is available from  the NSW Health website.