Outdoor equipment is on it's way, but isn't here yet other then a few balls, some ride-ons and a sandpit at the moment. Soon we'll have a couple of balance bikes, a climbing gym and some other playground toys as well, but the weather in Victoria at the moment is so awful it'll delay setting up anything but my sheltered area in any case. Assuming the house doesn't just wash away or freeze solid one morning!
What's shown in the pictures will always be available for the children, though I have another 60 books to rotate in the library corner. One of the reasons I chose to rent this
house is because there is almost more storage spaces then there are rooms, and about two thirds of the storage is now packed with more rotatable experiences, which will change every week or two, depending on the experience. And of course, the home corner can be easily changed to a store, cafe or just about anything else as children wish - there's a cash register in my store cupboards and a whole lot more play food and other equipment for doing just that. The rocking horse and bug will be rotated with my music supplies regularly (to save my sanity. Those rockers make sounds when ridden!) and yes, new resources will be brought to support children's interests. Or borrowed, depending on what I need. I have three toy libraries in my area that will loan things to FDC educators for a few weeks for a yearly fee of about $30, so I'll probably be using that service a bit as well. It's a nice way of keeping things fresh and interesting without always making the bank account sob.
As to my interview, I was definitely nervous! Though it was a lot more comfortable sitting in my own kitchen with cake and coffee then in a stuffy meeting room. Yes, everything I said was noted down by one of the women who came to visit while the other questioned me. I've seen less detailed police reports after a break in.
When I applied to become a FDC provider, I had to provide them with proof of my qualifications, two character references, an employment reference, my working with children check, a police record check and my first aid, CPR, Asthma and Anaphylaxis certifications. During the interview, I had to show an evacuation plan for my house, discuss how I'd discipline a child, show how I'd change a nappy and if I planned to cook for the children or have parents provide a packed lunch. (I'm only a half-decent cook, so I'm going with packed lunches!) More on policy and procedures will come during my orientation next week, so it was only touched on a little in the interview.
No, the EYLF and NQS didn't come up, which rather surprised me, but I suspect that it might be because I have just come from working in centres and I did cover it a lot in my application's cover letter. So they may have felt they didn't need to go over it again.
Yes, they did do a walk through of the house after the forty minutes of interviewing. This was an informal safety check, aimed at looking for things I'd need to buy or change before my formal, official safety check. In my case, I don't have to change or add much. Just the one thing I had already expected to need to do, which is have safety film installed on the low windows in the library/home corner area of the play room. I'm getting a couple of quotes on that in the next few days. Aside from that, I was told I'd could have passed the formal check then and there. Basically, baby proof, baby proof and baby proof some more and you're, ha ha, pretty safe with the safety check. I already had the shaded area and the secure fencing that's required for the outside of the house, and the locks on the doors of areas not accessible to FDC children such as my study, bedroom, laundry, garage and the cats' playroom (where they spend the day away from the children). The walk through took about ten minutes.
Yes, meeting some of the other FDC educators in the area is going to be really good. We're all encouraged to meet up at the local playgroup as well as getting together for things like trips to the park and story time at the local library. The nearest park, for me, is just across the road from my front door! Which was the other reason I picked this house! So believe me, I'm already thinking about that sort of thing for when the weather is a bit more reliably decent and my service is more settled and comfortable.
One thing I was really, really glad to have was my ergonomic cots and camp-stretcher sleep beds. I brought them because I'd loathe and hate normal cots (too hard on my back) and had had good experience with them during my placement when I was training in Melbourne. By complete chance, it turns out that they are EXACTLY what the council recommends for FDC, so they were very pleased to see them on my walk through of the house. A lot of people make the mistake of buying porta-cots and the council really doesn't approve of them for more then VERY short term use. And they strongly prefer that older children don't
sleep directly on mats on the floor in case it triggers asthma or allergies, so they consider camp beds to be quote "perfect" unquote. I'm told that varies by state and council, however. NSW, for example, doesn't
allow camp beds in FDC, so that's one of those things people should check with their local service.
Overall, it was a very good experience and I'm excited about what comes next.
This turned into a bit of a novel. Oh dear. Hope it is useful at least.