Students, visitors and volunteers
Education and Care Services are very busy places and often have visitors popping in or students attending the service to complete work placement hours.
At no time are students, visitors and volunteers allowed be left alone with a child or group of children. They should have an educator with them at all times and are not included in the educator to child ratio. Whilst never directly responsible for children, all volunteers and students should still have an orientation or induction so they are aware of all service policies and procedures.
All visitors, volunteers and students are required to sign the service visitors log each time they enter the service.
Incursions often occur to support the educational program of the service. For example, music and movement programs such as Happy Feet or Hullaballoo are often invited to the service on a weekly basis to work with the children.
Anyone who attends the service as an ‘Incursion’ is classed as a visitor. They must sign the visitor log book and must never be left alone with the children or counted as part of the child to educator ratio. Therefore, all educators must stay in the same area as the incursion and must ensure active supervision takes place for the duration of the incursion.
Excursions may also be an important part of the services Educational Program and Practice.
Excursions are permitted and there are clear guidelines in the Law and Regulations regarding taking children out of the service to attend an excursion.
Education and Care National Law 165a; A child may only leave the premises if the child is taken on an excursion in accordance with the national regulations. Education and Care National Regulations 99-102 include the following information regarding excursions:
- Written authorisation from the child’s family must be given to the service to take the child out of the service
- Authorisation forms must include specific information about the excursion; time, date, place, activities to take place, means of transport, length of excursion, number of staff going on the excursion, details of the risk assessment,
- Risk assessments must be completed prior to the excursion and be available to families
- If the excursion is a regular occurrence, annual authorisation from the family is suitable
Educator to child ratios do not change when taking children on an excursion. Due to the nature of ‘unknown’ risks when taking children out of the service, taking additional educators should be a consideration.