The journey to ‘Exceeding’ with Sanctuary Early Learning Adventure

In early childhood education and care, achieving an ‘Exceeding’ rating isn’t just a goal; it’s a testament to dedication, collaboration, and unwavering commitment. For Sanctuary Early Learning Adventure, the journey to receiving an ‘Exceeding’ rating in the Assessment and Rating (A&R) process was a combination of passion, teamwork, and a shared vision of excellence.

At the end of 2022, the collective leadership team at Sanctuary Early Learning Adventure, comprising of the approved providers, support office and centre directors from each of the five centres, decided to embed ‘Exceeding’ into their vision for 2023 and beyond. This began a year-long journey working with pedagogical leader Kelly Goodsir. It continued with the ongoing professional development of all their team members with a strong emphasis on the educational leaders.

Through the initiative to focus more on and support the teams within the centres, the leadership team was convinced that the outcomes for the children, families and communities each centre serves would be significant.

The advantages of having a dedicated and committed workforce passionate about supporting each other and invested in achieving the best outcomes for children were becoming more evident. Thus, it is natural for the directors of Sanctuary to feel more confident in accompanying their team during an A&R.

Child at Sanctuary Early Learning Playing in Garden

Children at Sanctuary Early Learning love the water play! Credit: Supplied.


Achieving ‘exceeding’ in early learning

Operations Manager Michelle Tuffley reflects on the emotions she experienced upon receiving the long-awaited news.

“I was shocked because we had waited so long for the letter, almost three and a half years since we opened,” she says.

The culmination of years of dedication led to an excited Michelle exchanging a flurry of calls and texts into the night with Sanctuary Maudsland’s Director, Fiona Morgan, and Approved Provider, Lauren Hall.

Centre Director Fiona Morgan vividly recalls the day the announcement of the A&R visit arrived.

“When Michelle called me, she said, ‘Are you sitting down?’ and then told me that we would be having A&R the following week,” she reminisces, ”It was honestly such a great feeling as I knew we were ready.”

Fiona’s confidence in the team’s readiness was palpable, reflecting a year-long journey of professional development, growth and learning.

Fiona was responsible for sharing the exciting news with her leadership team. She was eager to find a way to convey their enthusiasm and anticipation to the broader team. After considering different options, they created a video message instead of sending an email. Fiona explained, “We wanted to do something that would truly share our excitement with the team—an email can be read in any tone.” The video provided information about the upcoming process and showed the leadership team’s genuine excitement and confidence, setting the tone for the journey ahead.

The team’s response was overwhelmingly positive, and excitement was in the air at the centre. Fiona shared, “Our team was thrilled that the moment had finally arrived. While some of the newer team members expressed understandable nerves, the leadership team ensured each member felt supported and reassured. They emphasised the opportunity to showcase their dedication and growth.”

Inside the Classroom at Sanctuary Early Learning Adventure Maudsland

Inside the classroom at Sanctuary Early Learning Adventure Maudsland. Credit: Supplied.


Involving the whole early learning team

The involvement of lead educators and teachers further exemplified Sanctuary’s commitment to ‘Exceeding’. Lead educator Nik expressed pride in showcasing the team’s achievements, while teacher Sara approached the process with calm confidence, reflecting the thorough preparation and support provided by the centre.

Reflecting on the A&R experience, Fiona highlights the continued momentum and camaraderie within the team. “The whole team has been buzzing since our A&R visit. The sense of pride and support exhibited during the visit has translated into ongoing positivity and unity, further fostering a culture of collaboration and celebration.”

In offering advice to fellow leadership teams embarking on their own A&R journey, Fiona emphasises the importance of authenticity and confidence. “Just do what you always do,” she advises. “Enjoy the process and know that the authorised officer wants to see all the great things you are doing, so show off!!”

From an operational perspective, Michelle advises using this as an opportunity to showcase all the amazing things you do each and every day. “Remember that the Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) is your evidence; the visit is just an opportunity for the authorised officer to validate that what you have said in your QIP is happening in practice at the centre,” she states.

The attainment of an ‘Exceeding’ rating by Sanctuary Early Learning Adventure in Maudsland is an incredible achievement for the centre and an inspiration for the wider early childhood education community. Through its unwavering dedication, transparent communication, and innovative approaches, Sanctuary epitomises the essence of excellence in early childhood education and care, enriching the lives of all Sanctuary children and their families.


Sanctuary Early Learning Adventure Locations


182 Maudsland Road, Maudsland,
QLD, 4210 | 07 5551 6729


5 Freda Street, Ashmore,
QLD, 4214 | 07 5551 6730


22 Frazer Street, Southport,
QLD | 07 5551 6730

Keep Reading

Creating a Sanctuary in Gold Coast child care and early learning

An innovative gardening program for Gold Coast early learners

Cultivating curiosity with a nurturing learning environment


Search tags: Early Learning | Gold Coast
By Angela Sutherland
After spending many years hustling stories on busy editorial desks around the world, Angela is now mum of two little ones and owner/editor at Kids on the Coast / Kids in the City. She is an atrocious cook and loves cutting shapes to 90s dance music. Angela is the editor of Kids on the Coast - a free family magazine whats on guide for Kids: things to do, school holiday fun and free activities for kids... Fun attractions, family food & travel, kids health & wellbeing, kids parties venues, parenting, pregnancy & babies, guide for parents. Servicing Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and beyond, Kids on the Coast is an online guide for parents with kids things to do with kids, schools and education and lifestyle news located on Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & Brisbane, QLD.

You might also like…