Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing the best child care for you and your family can be a little confusing and daunting. Our FAQ section aims to provide answers to questions that are commonly asked by families.

How does SOEL differ from other child care centres?

Our children are at the centre of everything that happens within our spaces. They actively participate in their learning at every age level, assisting in re-setting their environment after using it and genuinely contributing to the programme’s direction and the activities they will undertake.

They have an authentic voice in the rules and limits (agreements) made about how they use a space. Every investigation and interaction has direct links to the children’s interests, crafted to extend their learning, sense of wonder and agency within their environment.

Our philosophy and practice center around the premise that all children are capable individuals with the right to own their environments and the investigations and learning that happens within them. To encourage this, our educators assist the children in acquiring and practising the skills necessary to be proactive and productive community participants.

Using an inquiry-based approach, the educators research collaboratively with the children while valuing and extending the children’s emerging ideas and interests.

How do I enrol?

Complete the form here to register your interest in enrolling in one of our services, or call our friendly Enrolments Team today between 9:30am and 5:00pm on 6314 1199. There is no cost or obligation attached to this registration.

Why can't my child start tomorrow?

SOEL insists on a settling process that consists of three or more scheduled ‘visits’, usually lasting 30 minutes, before the first official day of care.

Like everything else we do, this is in your child’s best interests and supports you, your child and the educators to get to know each other’s rhythms and cues.

It is also a time for everyone to exchange information, ask questions, and see what happens on a day-to-day basis in your child’s room.

What are your room routines?

Our routines are child-focused, and their needs are the signposts that dictate the day. Our babies eat, sleep and play as their rhythms suggest, with ample time to explore, discover and learn.

All of our children participate in inquiry-based learning, where intimate groups interact with educators and each other.

Our philosophy extends to routines like lunch time or rest/sleep, where children take a significant portion of the responsibility for their well-being by accessing their place mat, bowl, utensils or bedding, and self-serving food.

They also have opportunities to help each other with tasks, mentor younger children, participate in various child/educator groupings, and build on their developing sense of agency, having a tangible impact on their world.

What food does SOEL provide?

Our food is locally sourced, and we use organic produce where possible. Our chefs prepare meals daily, including snacks and a two-course lunch, with various cultures represented in our menus. 

SOEL caters for all special dietary requirements.

We believe that eating together in small groups provides opportunities for meaningful conversations, with educators and children taking on equal roles.

In addition, our designated dining rooms promote a culture that values slowing down and encourages children to appreciate and enjoy beautiful, nutritious food that supports good health, nutrition and well-being.

What qualifications do SOEL staff have? Are they trained?

All our staff have post-secondary education with a minimum Certificate 3 Childcare qualification, through to Diploma and Advanced Diploma Childcare qualifications.

Our culturally diverse staffing pool draws on employees’ skills with Certificate 4, Degree, Masters and Doctorate qualifications in Childcare, Teaching, Training, Facilitation, Human Resources, Leadership and Management.

In addition, all of our Studio Educators are Fine Arts Degree trained, giving them a deep insight into the world of the visual arts so that they can facilitate children’s and other educators’ learning through various artistic techniques and mediums.

SOEL also provides monthly in-house training in work time, one evening a month and on Saturday mornings. We see this ongoing professional development as a direct investment in the quality and pedagogy of our staff, which translates to better care and education outcomes for the children.

How does SOEL communicate with Families?

We communicate with parents in many, many ways at SOEL! Please help us to make each of these forms of communication as helpful as possible for you and for us.



Making it useful for educators: Conversations in the settling period are essential so that we can learn as much as possible about your child and your family.

Making it useful for families: While we have a checklist of things we need to speak to you about, you are welcome to ask questions of us and to find out about SOEL, our centre and our team.


Non-verbal communication

Making it useful for educators: A smile and a greeting go a long way and we know that! We will try to smile at and greet you and we love it when you smile at and greet us!

Making it useful for families: We are a multicultural workforce and community. We know it is not customary for all cultures to smile at or greet each other. Help us to know how best to communicate non-verbally with you.


Conversations in the morning

Making it useful for educators: A quick chat in the morning helps us to hear how the child has slept, what they have eaten for breakfast and how their morning has been. This helps us to plan their routine for the day and identify any extra support they might need.

Making it useful for families: We want you to be confident that we care about your child. In settling periods, we know that both your child and you need support and reassurance. Our policy is that Lead Educators and very experienced Assistant Educators speak to families about children’s development. If an Assistant Educator seems reluctant to speak with you, this is because of our policy! Please find a Lead Educator or Manager if you have deeper questions!


Text messages

Making it useful for educators: These quick, live messages aim to support you and your child to be part of SOEL.

Making it useful for families: During settling periods, we will send you a text message and/or a photo to show you that your child has settled into the room.


Archived photos

Making it useful for educators: Photos are one of the tools we use for observations of the children, their learning and the development of investigations.

Making it useful for families: Photos of your child are taken throughout the day, especially when they are a ‘focus child’. These images are available as soon as they are loaded onto Storypark. They can be shared by you with your family and are a wonderful way for you to connect with your child, reflect on their day and see their learning. They are treasures for your family memories.


Annotated work samples

Making it useful for educators: Sometimes the children want to take something they have created home to show families. When we can, we place a sticker on the back of the sample explaining a little about the process of its creation. For kindy and pre-kindy children, work samples are collected in a portfolio.

Making it useful for families: Samples of the children’s work will showcase the children’s thinking and learning, as well as show you something of what the children are doing. Don’t be alarmed if there are not very many of these! Our focus at SOEL is on the process of the learning and the development of thinking and skills, not on pieces of paper! Collecting these in a portfolio at home will help you see the progression of the children’s skills and thinking over time.


Photo journals

Making it useful for educators: Photo journals help us to communicate with families and provide another way for children to reflect on their day and to build on their experiences. They show the process of the learning and capture the persistence, concentration, curiosity, confidence, involvement, commitment and cooperation of the children.

Making it useful for families: Sequences of photos depict some of the learning of the day. You may see areas of the educator’s own passions as well as the progress the children are making.


Conversations in the evening

Making it useful for educators: A quick chat in the evening helps us to pass on messages and tell you about your child’s day. It can be quite busy at times, so it helps us if you have a look at the Communication Book (if you have one), at the photo journal and around the room. Your child can tell you about their day more easily with the prompts of the photo journal and room!

Making it useful for families: Conversations with educators help you to feel connected to your child, the experiences of their day and SOEL. We are happy to answer questions about your child. If we don’t have the answers, we can find someone to help or refer you to an outside agency.


Visible displays

Making it useful for educators: Photos, quotes from the children and work samples are displayed near the places where children are investigating ideas and developing skills. They help us to see the progress of the investigation, which supports our programming. We can revisit the photos and recall the learning both with our team and with the children.

Making it useful for families: Walking through the centre with your child, you will be able to see the interests and strengths of the children, including your child. You can be sure that your child is engaged and learning when your child is prompted by a visible display to tell you about their work and play.



Making it useful for educators: Photos, quotes and work samples are collated in a portfolio for kindy children. We and the children love to look over them because it helps us to see the learning and growth of the children, see their developmental levels and celebrate the results and progress of the children’s hard work.

Making it useful for families: Portfolios track the learning, creativity, growth and development of the child. During the year, you are always welcome to look at the portfolio. Reviewing their learning can support you in completing a Child Profile and helping us to set goals for the following three months. Each Child Profile is a snapshot in time, so comparing these over the year showcases the children’s development.


Dialogues of Learning

Making it useful for educators: Three and Four Year Old Kindy Families will be offered an opportunity to have a conversation with the Teacher/Lead Educator in order to review the children’s learning and development in June and July. These dialogues give us an opportunity to discuss the children’s growth and development and hear any concerns you might have.

Making it useful for families: Dialogues of Learning are at a deeper level when you already know what your child is doing at the centre, so taking some time to talk with them and seeing the investigations in the room will help you to frame the questions you have.

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