ACECQA Newsletter Issue 1 2016

Sustainability in children's education and care 

Services often find Quality Area 3 and elements relating to sustainability challenging to meet. This month, ACECQA’s National Education Leader, Rhonda Livingstone, promotes sustainability and looks at why it’s important for children to explore values and develop an appreciation of the environment. Read the full article on We Hear You


Sharing children's learning 

The beginning of the year is a time for services to welcome new children and their families. Families may ask about their children’s learning and how they will know about their progress. This is a good opportunity to begin developing effective partnerships with new families, sharing information about children’s current knowledge, interests and abilities.

Assessment for learning, as described in the Early Years Learning Framework, and evaluation for well-being and learning, as described in the Framework for School Age Care, are the processes of gathering and analysing information as evidence of children’s well-being and learning. They are practices integral to the ongoing cycle of planning, where documenting and evaluating children’s learning drives the planning process. 

There are many ways to gather information, such as through discussions with families; observations; children’s, educators’ and parents’ reflections; photos, video and audio recordings; and children’s work, chosen with children, that shows significant learning. 

Making children’s learning visible supports educators to celebrate children’s achievements, “in partnership with children, families and other professionals to plan effectively; communicate about children’s learning and progress; determine the extent to which all children are progressing; identify children who may need additional support; evaluate the effectiveness of learning opportunities and reflect on pedagogy and practice that will suit individual children” (EYLF p17 and FSAC p16). 

The Educators’ Guide to the Early Years Learning Framework and the Educators’ Guide to the Framework for School Age Care have some useful reflective questions to inform decision making when engaging in the assessment for well-being and learning process. At your next team meeting, you might like to discuss: 

  • What does observing, documenting and assessing look like in your setting and how does this include children’s and families’ voices? 
  • What does success look like for individual children and who recognises and interprets success? 
  • How do you support children to assess their own learning, including discussing their next steps based on their own interests and abilities? 
  • How do you use assessment information to support families to understand the skills and abilities of their children and how they can extend them at home? 
  • How do you know about the learning that is valued and expected for children within the family and local community cultural context, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children? In what ways is this valued and assessed in your setting? 
  • How do these aspects support quality improvement and is this reflected in your Quality Improvement Plan goals?

Research paper analyses results for Quality Area 1 of the NQS 

The first in ACECQA’s Occasional Paper series provides insights into education and care services’ quality ratings for Quality Area 1 – Educational Program and Practice.

Drawing on information from the reports of authorised officers and the National Quality Agenda Information Technology System (NQA ITS), this Occasional Paper  examines how service providers are delivering against the requirements of the National Quality Standard, focussing on performance against Quality Area 1. Download Educational Program and Practice - An analysis of Quality Area 1 of the National Quality Standard.

The paper examines the pattern of quality rating across service types, socio economic and remoteness classifications, jurisdictions and management types, and looks at possible explanations for the results.


Top research picks

From risky play to the life cycle and brain development, from health and wellbeing to Australia’s education system, there’s always new research available about children’s education and care. If, like us, you enjoy delving into the research behind practice, you might enjoy reading some of the latest research highlights.    

  • A University of Queensland study has shown music participation at home improves numeracy, prosocial skills and attention: Jamming with toddlers trumps hitting the books 
  • The E4Kids  study (across Victoria and Queensland) suggests specific intervention is needed to support children from low socio-economic families.
  • ARACY’s Better Systems, Better Chances, reviews research on early intervention and practices that change children’s negative life trajectories. It found clear evidence that children’s life chances are influenced by their families and communities; and through flexible and responsive systems, these outcomes can be changed for the better.
  • The new Heckman paper Early Childhood Education looks at literature on early childhood education and care. It considers evidence from high quality programs targeted at disadvantaged children around the world and finds the returns exceed the costs. 

We often post links to interesting articles and research on our Facebook page and we love hearing your thoughts on them.   


National Workshops to visit WA and NT

ACECQA’s 2015-16 National Workshops will visit Western Australia and the Northern Territory from 16 February to 3 March.

Sessions in Western Australia will focus on agency of the child and take place in Broome, Bunbury and Perth. In the Northern Territory sessions in Alice Springs, Darwin and Gove will focus on educational leadership. 

Book a place on ACECQA’s National Workshops page

Dates and locations for remaining states and territories are being finalised and will be published in the ACECQA Newsletter and Facebook page.


Have you shared Starting Blocks with your families? 

All the information that’s out there on raising children can sometimes be a little overwhelming for new parents. 

Starting Blocks, ACECQA’s family focused website, is a starting point to help families learn about children’s development, understand what to expect from a service, and find tips on things to do at home to encourage their child’s learning and development.

Help us spread the word about the importance of quality education and care. Invite parents to visit the Starting Blocks website and Facebook page. You can also download and print the promotional poster and display at your service.