Quality Area 1 - Educational program and practice

The aim of Quality Area 1 of the National Quality Standard is to ensure that the educational program and practice is stimulating and engaging, and enhances children’s learning and development. In school age care services, the program nurtures the development of life skills and complements children’s experiences, opportunities and relationships at school, at home and in the community.

Educational program and practiceChildren's health and safetyPhysical environmentStaffing arrangementsRelationships with childrenBuilding partnerships with familiesEducational leadership and team building

Educational program and practice

Standard 1.1An approved learning framework informs the development of a curriculum that enhances each child’s learning and development.
Element 1.1.1Curriculum decision making contributes to each child’s learning and development outcomes in relation to their identity, connection with community, wellbeing, confidence as learners and effectiveness as communicators.
Element 1.1.2Each child’s current knowledge, ideas, culture, abilities and interests are the foundation of the program.
Element 1.1.3The program, including routines, is organised in ways that maximise opportunities for each child’s learning.
Element 1.1.4The documentation about each child’s program and progress is available to families.
Element 1.1.5Every child is supported to participate in the program.
Element 1.1.6Each child’s agency is promoted, enabling them to make choices and decisions and to influence events and their world.
Standard 1.2Educators and co-ordinators are focused, active and reflective in designing and delivering the program for each child.
Element 1.2.1Each child's learning and development is assessed as part of an ongoing cycle of planning, documenting and evaluation.
Element 1.2.2Educators respond to children's ideas and play and use intentional teaching to scaffold and extend each child's learning.
Element 1.2.3Critical reflection on children's learning and development, both as individuals and in groups, is regularly used to implement the program.

A 2016 ACECQA research paper drew on information from the reports of authorised officers and the National Quality Agenda IT System to examine how service providers are delivering against the requirements of Quality Area 1.

Read about the other quality areas here.

Additional information about the quality area, standards and elements can be found in the Guide to the National Quality Standard.

Quality Area 1 resources:


Educators Guide Belonging, Being, Becoming

Educators Guide My Time, Our Place

Developmental milestones and the EYLF

EYLF Practice Based Resources- Post cards

Playgrounds of learning: Valuing competence and agency in birth to three year olds

Routines to support learning and wellbeing

OSHC - Routines to support learning and wellbeing

Why play based learning?

What's pedagogy anyway - handbook

Agency in practice

Summative assessments


Early Years Learning Framework in Action

Thinking about practice - Working with the Early Years Learning Framework

Respect, reflect, relate

Case studies: Quality Area 1: Educational Program and Practice

The journey towards critical reflection

Critical reflection

Resources for Professionals

Making sense of intentional teaching

Assessment and Planning

Unpacking the Planning Cycle: A Three Part Series

Cycle of planning

Evaluating and communicating about children’s learning

Reviewing practice reflection tool

My time our place factsheet 6 - Recording the journey through digital documentation

Framework for integrated early childhood development

Effective curriculum planning and documentation methods in education and care services