At Papa Bear Child Care Miranda, educators become the village that a lot of families don't have.
By creating a homely environment for children, the centre works with families by making them feel welcome.
Director Eleni Wilson says it's a main goal, and one of the reasons the centre received another high rating.
"A lot of our families are new Australians who have come from places such as northern Europe, and they don't have relatives here, so we become their second family," she said.
The centre was recently named as a top performer in the 2023 KindiCare Excellence Awards, which recognised more than 2500 early learning services nationally that achieved a KindiCare Rating of 9.0 or above, from a total of over 17,300 services.
It received the top spot in Sydney, with a 9.9 out of 10 rating. Early learning services that achieved a rating of 9.5 and above were in the top three per cent of services nationally delivering an outstanding level of early childhood education and care.
The KindiCare rating is based on current and historical assessment and ratings under the National Quality Framework, parent and community feedback and reviews, the stability and length of operation of the service, as well as other characteristics known about a service.
"We also work particularly hard with children who have additional needs, and we have therapists who come into the centre every day," Ms Wilson said.
The early childhood director has been the Australian Childcare Alliance NSW Secretary since 2016, advocating for improved early childhood conditions including family access support.
In October this year the federal government launched a $20 million trial grants program aimed at improving working families' access to early childhood education and care. Offering providers a pool of up to $20 million across two years, the Flexible Initiatives Trial will provide grants to support existing services to expand and innovate, to better meet the needs of children and families and allow parents to enter the workforce or increase their hours.
As part of its recent budget, the government affirmed a $5 billion investment in the Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund to boost the early childhood workforce and make early childhood affordable and accessible for more families.
It will also be used to provide $500 per child of fee relief to three-year-old children attending eligible preschool programs in long day care centres, effective from early 2024.
"Three to five year-olds are getting lots of financial support and we are going to push for more," Ms Wilson said. "I've been constantly working with the state and federal government to try to advocate for better opportunities.
"The more we fund and support early childhood, the better prepped our children are for school, and also gives and affords our mothers to get back into the workforce."
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