The KindiCare Excellence Awards celebrate the top performing early childhood education and care centres right across Australia.
2023 Award Winners
National Winner and Victorian Winner
Guardian Childcare & Education Blackburn West
KindiCare●October 22, 2023
Guardian Childcare & Education Blackburn West is our National Winner and State Winner in Victoria, with a near-perfect KindiCare Rating of 9.9, and there is so much to love about this multicultural Melbourne service!
Guardian Blackburn West has a family day care feel with long day care hours, and everyone happily works together to achieve the best possible outcomes for the children. The Centre’s diverse early learning program is underpinned by the idea that children are competent and capable learners, with rights; and Centre Manager, Julie Smith says, “We have high expectations for all of the children in our care, and they play an active role in the childcare community and the wider world.” There are regular excursions to the local park, supermarket, train station and community café (where the children enjoy their babyccinos!), and back at the service, community continues to be a huge part of early learning life. Julie explains that, “We have a parent who likes to come in and play guitar, because music, singing and dancing is a big focus in our Centre. We also have parents who will come in and share their recipes for dumplings, muffins, sticky rice balls and other family favourites.” She says, “One parent helps to create marketing materials for us to promote special events. Some grandparents come in to do craft activities with the children. We’ve had a parent who is a police officer arrange for a police car to be parked out the front – which was a huge hit – and another family is promising to bring in their antique motorcar for a show and tell.” Really, there’s never dull day at this wonderful Centre, and this is helped by the fact that Guardian Blackburn West’s childcare community is so multicultural. The Centre has staff and families from England, India, Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Sri Lanka, Korea and beyond. Julie herself speaks Ukrainian, and although some children speak a second language at home, all of the Kinder children are learning Mandarin at the Centre, care of the ELLA program. Cultural events from around the world are also celebrated, such as Diwali and Chinese New Year, and while the children are developing a greater understanding of the world, they’re also caring for the planet. Julie tells us that sustainability is front of mind at Guardian Blackburn West. The children bring in milk containers from home to plant seedlings in; groups regularly visit the local resource recycling centre to find materials that can be upcycled for craft; there is a lovingly tended worm farm; and a multitude of herbs and vegetables being grown on site, which are then cooked up in the Centre kitchen. Julie says, “The children help with planting, watering and harvesting; and all ages, from our Nursery to our Kinder room, take part in the weekly cooking program.” All in all, this Melbourne Centre succeeds in giving children the best possible start, thanks to a real investment from its amazing childcare community, and its efforts definitely haven’t gone unnoticed. As well as being named the number one Centre in Australia in the 2023 KindiCare Excellence Awards, Guardian Blackburn West has also been rated Exceeding in all seven quality areas of the National Quality Standard, leaving the door open for them to apply for an Excellent Rating from ACECQA, and we can’t wait to see what this brilliant Centre does next!