Q. I read that Clifton Street CC is a community-run centre, what does this mean?

A. Yes, Clifton Street CC is a community run, not for profit Centre. This means that all profit (or surplus) is re-invested in the Centre to improve Clifton Street as a Service. This allows us to ensure that we have high quality resources and highly qualified educators. Additionally, being not for profit means that our number one interest is you and your child. As an incorporated association under Consumer Affairs, all families become ‘members’ when their children enrol. All members have the right to vote in our Annual General Meeting where a Committee of Management is elected from the parent members. The Committee makes all major legal, financial, planning and policy making decisions in conjunction with the Management team they employ. The Management Team consists of the Centre Manager, 2IC, Educational Leader and Administration Manager.

The Committee of Management consists of an executive (President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer) and regular members who form sub committees such as fundraising and community involvement, building and grounds, and sustainability. For more information on the role of the Committee please refer to the Committee tab on our home page.

Another benefit of a community run Centre like Clifton Street CC is that they are managed by the parents whose children are attending at any given time, which emphasises the community investment in the Centre offering quality educational program and a unique opportunity for community involvement.

As a community run Centre, we do depend on our families being involved - there are a variety of ways of families can assist the Service, such as:

  • Joining the Committee of Management.

  • Volunteering and participating in Working Bees.

  • Attending Community Events such as our Welcome Evening, Christmas party and fundraising events.

  • Volunteering on excursions or for incursions.

  • Sharing your interests and skills with the children to compliment the educational programs.

It is through working together as a team that we can continue to make Clifton Street CC a great place for children and families to be.


Q. I do not have any children at Clifton Street CC, how do I apply for a place?

A. Clifton St Children’s Centre manages its own waitlist and enrolment system for childcare placements. We will still be working with the Darebin Council Central Waitlist for 4 year-old Funded Kindergarten placements. 

This means that you are no longer required to apply through the Darebin Centralised Waitlist to seek a Childcare placement at Clifton Street. There is no Fee for joining the Clifton St Waitlist. Families can apply for a childcare place at Clifton St once your child is born – we can set up an account online prior to the birth of your child, and update the details once your child is born. If your child is already enrolled at Clifton Street and you are looking to re-enrol in child care for next year please contact us on 03 9486 3299 or email us at [email protected]. To register online for our waitlist visit our enrolment page here.


Q. My child already attends Clifton Street CC, do I need to apply through the centralised waitlist for a place next year?

A. Child Care:
No you do not - child care enrolments for existing families are done internally and not through the Darebin Centralised Waitlist. Internal re-enrolment offers for each following year will begin in September. If your child is currently enrolled at Clifton Street CC, you will receive re-enrolment information directly from the Centre.

If you are an existing family and have not received any information about enrolment for the following year by mid-October and are looking to re-enrol please contact our Administration Manager, Heather on (03) 9486 3299 or at [email protected].

Yes you will need to be on the Darebin Central Waitlist for Kinder - if your child has been attending child care at Clifton St, he or she will receive priority when it comes to available Clifton St CC Funded Kindergarten places. However, in order to secure a Funded Kindergarten place you must submit an application form to the Darebin Kindergarten Centralised Waitlist between 1st February and 30 April in the year prior to wanting your child to attend Kindergarten.

If you require further information or clarification regarding this, please contact our Administration Manager, Heather on 03 9486 3299 or at [email protected].


Q. Do siblings of enrolled children receive priority?

A. Yes, siblings of currently enrolled children receive priority when enrolled in the Clifton St Waitlist, though this does not guarantee that a place will be available, it is rare for a sibling to not get a place.

Government Priority of Access guidelines take precedence over a sibling enrolment – for more information on this, please speak to Management.


Q. Can I take a tour of Clifton Street CC?

A. We understand that choosing a Centre can be a difficult decision, and we encourage families to tour all Centre’s they are interested in before making a decision to apply for a Childcare or Kindergarten place.
A tour of Clifton Street CC will allow you to meet some of our highly dedicated Educators & Teachers, learn a little about our philosophy, get to see and feel how our Centre operates, and experience the interaction between our Educators and the children. A Tour will run for approximately 30 minutes, and are by appointment only. W prefer to run tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays, however if this does not suit please let us know and we will arrange a day and time to fit in with your schedule.

If you would like to learn more about our Centre, meet members of our Team, and see us in action, please contact us 03 9486 3299 to book in your Tour. Alternatively, please email our Administration Manager, Heather at [email protected].


Q. Orientation

A. Transitioning to a new Centre or between rooms within a Centre can be a challenging experience for children and families. Just like when starting a new school or a job, feeling anxious is perfectly normal both for you and your child. Our Educators are highly qualified and experienced and are here to support your child to settle into their new environment and to make the transition as positive an experience as possible.

We are aware that all children and families are unique, this means that our Orientation process is flexible to meet children’s and families’ individual needs. You and your child will initially be invited to spend some time together at the Centre, in the Room your child will be placed, becoming familiar with the space and the Educators. Our Centre has an open-door policy for our community, and this means you and your child are welcome to come and spend time in the Room as many times as you need prior to the commencement of your enrolment (we recommend a minimum or two Orientation sessions, and a maximum of four). After your initial Orientation session, you can arrange subsequent sessions directly with the Educators of the Room. During orientation sessions we recommend leaving your child in the Room without you for short periods of time (please note: during orientation you are required to stay on premises at all times).

New Children:
Once attendance of enrolment commences, we recommend that families initially leave children at the Centre for short periods of time (if this is possible), slowly building up to full day. For some children this will happen quickly and for others the transition may take longer. 

You are also always welcome to contact the Educators in the room throughout the day to check on your child. Additionally, our Educators will contact you if your child is not settling or becomes distressed for a prolonged period of time.

Families and Educators working together as a team is vital for a smooth orientation and transition period. We will appreciate as much information you can share about your child’s home routine, their interests and anything that helps them settle them at home. This information supports our Education team to provide your child with a consistent environment and routine which will support their transition and ongoing development.

Existing Children – Transitioning between rooms:
The orientation process for children transitions between rooms is a little different and generally informal. As a connected community most children already know most of our education team. We have several shared play spaces and conduct family grouping in the mornings and afternoons ensuring that children interact with the Educators from other rooms on a daily basis. This means that transitioning between rooms is generally a positive and smooth experience for children and families. Additionally, we endeavor to ensure that at least one Educator transitions between rooms with the children each year so that children continue to have a familiar Educator with whom they are already comfortable and familiar with.

Orientation when moving between rooms usually starts towards the end of the year with informal small group visits during the day with their existing educators. This allows child to start to explore their future play spaces and become confident in the new environment. These experiences continue until the full group are exploring their new environment together.

Families are always welcome to spend some time in the room with their children, getting to know the new environment and the team of Educators. 

We are here to support new and existing children orientate in a diverse range of ways, so please speak to Centre Management if you feel you may require additional support to settle into our Centre.


Q. Payment of fees

A. Clifton St aims to keep our fees affordable whilst maintaining a viable business model. As of January 2019, our fees will be $122 per day. Prior to commencing at the service please contact Centrelink to determine whether your family is eligible to receive the Childcare Subsidy (CCS), as these entitlements may reduce your child care fees: (https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/child-care-subsidy.)

Upon enrolment, Clifton St requires payment of a Security Bond of $250.00 per child, in addition to a minimum of two weeks of Fees charged in advance. Clifton St requires that Fees are to be paid a minimum of two weeks in advance at all times. Upon enrolling you will be required to sign up to Debit Success, a direct debit system that ensures your Fees are maintained as paid two weeks in advance at all times. More information on Debit Success will be provided upon Enrolment.


Q. What is Storypark and what do I use it for?

A. Storypark provides each family with an online community forum that parents and guardians can access to their child’s individual information, at no cost. Storypark is a secure, private online space that allows Educators to share information of the children and the events within the Room and Centre with the families in real time – this supports the ongoing development of the children attending, and allows families to have greater input into their children’s learning, and our education programs.

Educators document children’s learning and development through Storypark and families can access the documentation at any time from their computer or the Storypark app for iPhone and Android devices. 

Storypark helps Educators, children and families:

  • improve understanding of each child’s interests and abilities so they receive even better support

  • deepen relationships and strengthen communication

  • share videos, photos and text capturing children’s learning and development

  • create a portfolio of children’s learning that travels with each child and can be accessed by families forever

  • reinforce experiences and deepen children’s learning

  • capture family culture and heritage

  • involve the children in their portfolio

  • create smooth transitions when children move from one educator/centre to another.

Families can choose to add their own stories or leave comments and feedback for children and our teaching team. Parents and Guardians can also choose to share these stories with family member, other teachers and even specialists.

The Clifton Street team has considered the aspects of cybersafety and made sure our teaching team have the knowledge and skills to ensure we are cybersafe. Storypark takes security very seriously. Storypark is not open for anyone to read, it is a password-protected private space for children, families, and teachers.

Storypark is an opt in service – you are not obligated to use it.

More information about story park is available at: https://www.storypark.com/for_families


Q. If my child is sick or we are on holidays do I still need to pay my fees for the absent days.

A. Yes, Centre fees are payable when children are absent such as for illness and holidays. No Centre fees are payable on Victorian Public Holidays or other days when our Centre is closed (such as our our Christmas break, and two Professional Development days for staff each year).

We do ask that you let us know if your child will not be attending as there are often families waiting for an extra day. Additionally, if you are receiving Child Care Subsidy (CCS) you may be eligible to receive CCS against your absence fee for up to 42 allowable absences.

Please note: Eight consecutive weeks of absence from the Centre will result in no CCS applied to your Fees during that period; the Full Fee will be charged and payable.

More information on this is available here: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/child-care-subsidy/how-manage-your-payment/if-your-child-absent-from-child-care


Q. What is an allowable absence?

A. An allowable absence is a day where you can still claim Child Care Subsidy for a day when your child is absent from the Centre. A child is allowed up to 42 absent days per financial year without your Child Care Subsidy being affected.

You DO NOT need to provide any documentation, e.g. doctor’s certificate, for the 42 days but any subsequent absences will need to be supported by documentation.

Please note: Eight consecutive weeks of absence from the Centre will result in no CCS applied to your Fees during that period; the Full Fee will be charged and payable.

More information on this is available here: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/child-care-subsidy/how-manage-your-payment/if-your-child-absent-from-child-care


Q. Public holidays

A. We are not open on all the Public holidays, and we are also closed for two days each year for Professional Development of our staff (as per the Professional Childcare Standards Award); the Friday before the Labour Day Weekend in March, and Monday before Cup Day in November. No Fees are charged on these days.


Q. What does the Committee of Management do?

A. Clifton Street CC is an incorporated association bound by a constitution and governed by a Committee of Management made up of parent volunteers. The Committee of Management is the Service Provider and oversees Centre operations such as major legal, financial, and strategic planning decisions. The Committee of Management supports the Centre Manager and the rest of the team in their decision making.

The committee of management consists of an executive (President, Deputy President, Secretary and Treasurer) and regular members who form sub committees such as fundraising and community involvement, building and grounds, and sustainability. The various sub-committees organise and publicise events and fundraising, write and update policies, and co-ordinate building and grounds improvements.

All parents/guardians become members of the incorporated association and have the right to:

  • Vote at the Annual General Meeting.

  • Nominate themselves to join the Committee of Management.

  • Nominate themselves for election to the Executive of the committee of management.

For more information on the role of the Committee please refer to the Committee tab on our home page.


Q. How can I become involved with the Committee of Management?

A. Being on the committee of management is a great way to meet many other families in the area and take part in the Clifton Street community, while working together with the centre staff to create a wonderful learning and nurturing experience for our children.

There are a number of ways that you could join the committee of management; nominations for positions are typically taken at the AGM (normally held around September/October) for parents to join the committee of management for the following year, although any families, especially those new to the centre each January, are welcome to get involved in some capacity at any time.

If you are unsure if you want to join a sub-committee you are welcome to just become a general member and help out where you can. If you are unable to attend monthly committee meetings you are also welcome to join a sub-committee but not be formally part of the committee of management.

Anyone interested in joining the committee of management, please email our Centre Director Scott at [email protected] or our Committee President at [email protected]


Q. Celebrating Birthdays

A. Birthdays are a special time for children; at Clifton St we offer families the option of having a Birthday Cake prepared and served on the day (or closest day attending) should you wish to do so. We require an email request at least a week prior in order to arrange this for you. 


Q. I keep hearing the words “adult to child ratio”, what does this mean?

A. Adult to child ratio relates to the number of children per adult required. Minimum adult to child ratios are legal requirements set by the National Regulations as follows:

Children under 3 years:
1 Adult to 4 Children

Children between 3 and 5 years:
1 Adult to 11 children

At Clifton Street CC we value the importance of the child to adult interactions with our experienced Educators, and we maintain above minimum ratios in all our Rooms as a rule (this is sometimes compromised by illness of a Team member). This means that during most times in the day each room has above the minimum adult to child ratio as required by the National Regulations. This supports strong healthy relationships with the children and ensures that children get quality interactions time with the Educators.


Q. What is the difference between a sessional kindergarten and Clifton Street CC’s long day care integrated kindergarten?

A. Sessional Kindergartens offer 15 hours of government funded kindergarten programs per week to children in the year before school. The 15 hours are generally spread across shorter sessions over 2 to 3 days. Children bring their lunch and snacks and the program is run by a qualified kindergarten teacher and depending on the size of the group of children with the assistance of a Certificate III or Diploma qualified educators. Families generally pay a term fee which can be anything between $200 to $600 per term. Some kindergartens may also require families to pay for any incursions or excursions throughout the year.

Long-day integrated kindergarten at Clifton Street CC offers up to 40 hours of kindergarten per week running daily from 8am to 5pm. The Program is run by two bachelor qualified kindergarten teachers. Children involved can take advantage of our long day care hours 7.30am to 6pm. Families pay long day care daily fees and if eligible, receive Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate. Long day integrated kindergarten not only gives children the opportunity to spend more time in a kindergarten program, run by qualified kindergarten teachers but also provides families more flexibility when working or juggling commitments. Additionally Clifton Street CC offers all children morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea all cooked on premises by our talented cooks.

If you would like to discuss this further, please contact us and speak either with our Centre Director Scott or our Second in Charge staff Melissa and Kathy, who are both qualified kindergarten teachers.


Q. Why is your pre-kindergarten program not on the kindergarten Darebin list?

A. Our Darnum pre kindergarten room provides care and education programs for children aged 3 to 4 years. The Darnum program is run by a bachelor qualified kindergarten teacher or equivalent just like a 3 year old kindergarten program. Our program runs under child care and therefore is accessible through the Darebin Child Care centralised waitlist and not the kindergarten centralised waitlist. Children attending will be required to pay our centre daily fee and may be eligible to receive Child Care Rebate and Child Care Benefit.

Our Darnum program runs from 7.30 to 6pm daily and is run by a kindergarten teacher between 8am and 5pm. For more information on our programs please visit our Programs page or contact us on (03) 9486 3299.


Q. What kind of food is provided during the day?

A. We are excited about our menu which has been developed by our Centre cook (and holds a Bachelor in Applied Science) and is also approved by a dietician/nutritionist and incorporates the freshest seasonal ingredients. We sustainably source all our fresh produce and work directly with local providers.

Clifton Street CC provides morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and a late afternoon snack daily. Each meal is prepared on-site daily by our amazing Cook. We have a four-week rotating menu with a variety of foods which generates health and wellbeing. The four-week rotating menu also changes seasonally and is approved by a dietician/nutritionist. 

Each week’s menu is displayed in the foyer near the kitchen and all recipes are also available, so you can cook you child’s favourite meal at home!

Additionally, our Cook will accommodate any food allergies, intolerances and dietary requirements, so please make sure to specify any special requirements at the time of enrolment and appropriate options will be cooked on site.

For more information on our menu and full recipes, please see the Nutrition page.


Q. Are all the staff qualified at Clifton Street CC?

A. Providing high-quality care and education to children is our priority and that means that the qualifications of our staff are paramount. Our team consist of staff who hold a range of qualifications including Masters in Teaching, Bachelor in Teaching, Diploma in Children’s Services and Certificate III in Children’s Services. Our Centre Director and 2IC are qualified teachers and our kindergarten and pre-kindergarten programs are run by qualified teachers. In total the Centre currently employs 4 qualified kindergarten teachers. The majority of our staff hold a Diploma in Children’s Service with some holding Certificate III qualifications. Across the Team of Educators employed at Clifton St, we have over 330 years of experience, and a high staff retention rate.

On occasion, some of our junior staff may start working at Clifton Street CC if they are in the process of undertaking studies in teaching or children’s services, as a mentoring service who has worked closely with Melbourne University and Melbourne Polytechnic for many years, supporting educators undertaking studies is a great passion of ours and ensures we continue to be up to date with the latest research and continue to be reflective in our practices.