Kids & Co Preschool at Hurstville Grove has received an exceptional rating – a rare achievement nationwide.
Out of 14,687 education and care services Australia-wide, the preschool is one of 729 (five per cent) that received the rating that exceeded all standards within the framework set by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority.
Kids & Co is a privately-operated service that caters for up to 25 children daily. It supports families in making the smooth transition to school.
It exceeded the Australian standards in every area assessed under the National Quality Framework, which sets a benchmark for the quality of children’s education and care services.
Areas include educational program and practice, children’s health and safety, physical environment, staffing arrangements, relationships with children, and collaborative partnerships with families and communities.
An ‘exceeding’ rating is given to centres that go above and beyond the requirements.
Kids & Co was described as contributing to a high quality learning environment for children through the organisation of educators, support staff, research and programming, and continued professional development.
Preschool director and early childhood teacher, Jennifer Koutoulas, says the result is uncommon.
“Small standalone private services do not have governance support, and are managed independently...so it’s unusual for them to be rated so highly and it’s difficult to get this result,” she said.
But she says while the results give parents an understanding of how the preschool operates, the rating is mostly a recognition to staff’s dedication to their work.
“This gives parents a better breakdown but most don’t ask about it at a detailed level,” she said.
“They prefer to get a sense and a feel for the place, but for us it’s a level of acknowledgement.”
The former Kindergarten teacher has a masters in early childhood – an industry she has worked in for 27 years.
She says having strong knowledge of the region’s demographic has boosted the preschool’s success.
“I’m Greek and have worked with refugee families, so I have an understanding the importance of creating a sense of belonging in a culturally diverse area where 60 per cent of our children are Chinese,” she said.
“We learn Mandarin and really aim to have a sense of belonging.
“I’m very hands-on – always on the floor, and I like to get involved in ongoing research to keep informed of new practices that we can incorporate.”