ACECQA Newsletter Issue 5 2015

The great outdoors and the role of play in sustainability

As the need for sustainability becomes more apparent, so does the importance of including education about sustainability in our programs for children.
 
When children participate in environmentally sustainable learning through play they gain knowledge, skills and attitudes which help them to become environmentally responsible. The NQS and the Early Years Learning Framework recommend that sustainability be ‘embedded in all daily routines and practices’.
 
Providing opportunities for children to observe and experience the natural environment is a good starting point. There are many ways educators can approach this, for example:
 
  • providing plants and other vegetation – involving children in the planting and care of indoor and outdoor plants and gardens; planning activities which support their knowledge about the benefits and uses of different herbs, fruits, vegetables and plant species
  • introducing activities which allow children to interact with the natural environment through imaginary play, such as materials that can be used in many ways, mud cooking, camping and nature exploration
  • supporting children to assess and take appropriate risks through natural play experiences, such as stepping stones or tree climbing
  • cooking and eating outdoors
  • using natural materials as resources to support learning – for storytelling, balancing, counting, matching and in craft activities
  • exploring how things work through science experiments with natural materials, such as exploring wind power as an energy source.
Interacting with the natural environment allows children to understand and feel a sense of connection with the environment, thereby fostering a respect for the natural world.
 
The possibilities are endless and adopting a collaborative approach with children, families, educators and the community, including participation and discussion of differing views, will help build a shared vision and commitment to sustainability now and in the future.

How we document - Albury Out of School Hours

This month on We Hear You, Cathy Northam, Director of Albury Out of School Hours (OOSH) writes about her team’s innovative approach to documentation, reminding us there are many ways to approach this responsibility.
 
Read more on ACECQA's We Hear You blog.

 

 

Mixed age ratios in centre-based services

It is common practice for many centre–based services to group children of mixed ages together at the beginning and end of each day. It provides services with flexibility during quieter periods, and creates opportunities for younger and older children to interact. Some services also offer ‘family grouping’ of children. 

If your service operates mixed age groups of children at times, you still need to meet the minimum number of educators required under the ratios. When educating and caring for children of mixed age groups, consideration needs to be given to children’s health, safety and wellbeing. At all times adequate supervision must be considered and maintained. 

To calculate the educator-to-child ratio for a mixed age group of children in centre-based care, ensure that the ratio is met for the youngest children in the group first (see the example outlined in table 1). 

Table 1: Educator to child ratio calculation example

Please note the below calculations are based on the national ratios and may vary across jurisdictions due to transitional and savings provisions.  

Figure 1: Mixed age group ratios in practice  

In this example, the educator required for the three children aged birth to 24 months could also be responsible for one of the children from the 25-35 months age range, and still meet the 1:4 ratio. 
 
A second educator is required for the remaining four children aged 25-35 months. As the ratio for this age range is 1:5, one of the children from the 36 months and over age range can also be included in this educator’s allocation. A third educator is required to meet the 1:11 ratio for the remaining 11 children aged 36 months to preschool.
 
This example shows how ratios can be calculated based on the ages of children while maintaining the ratio requirements for each age range. 

Annual fees due

Annual fee invoices for the 2015-16 financial year will be issued at the end of May. The invoice will be sent to the provider’s contact email address held by your regulatory authority.
 
The fee is payable in full for all service approvals held by the provider regardless of any subsequent transfers or closures. If you have any questions, please contact your regulatory authority

New online module for qualification assessments 

A new online module is available to help individuals apply to ACECQA for assessment of their overseas qualification. The interactive presentation looks at how to apply and walks prospective applicants through ACECQA’s qualification assessment guidelines. 
 
The qualifications assessment online module is a useful tool to help you consider all relevant information before starting your application. Read more about qualifications (including approved and former approved qualifications) on ACECQA’s website
 

Keeping it on the record

This month we look at the records services need to keep around staffing and operations, such as a service’s Quality Improvement Plan, details of staff working at the service and the staff member in day-to-day charge. 

For a list of required records, download one of our handy guides: 

For more information on record keeping read pages 116 to 119 of the Guide to the National Law and Regulations.

ACECQA's national workshops coming to Queensland 

ACECQA is coming to Queensland to host the final round of 2014-15 national workshops on Quality Area 1 – Educational program and practice. 
 
We’ll be making our way around the Sunshine State from 27 July to 18 August, visiting Brisbane, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns, Rockhampton, Toowoomba, Maryborough, the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast and Mount Isa.
 
Led by ACECQA’s National Education Leader, Rhonda Livingstone, the workshops are practical, hands-on sessions supported by the Workforce Council and local regulatory authority staff. 
 
The workshops provide a great opportunity for education and care professionals to network and form collaborative relationships within their community. 
 
Places are still available for regional NSW sessions in Lismore, Dubbo and Wagga Wagga. To secure your place, register at our Events page

NQF Snapshot Q1 2015 released

The latest figures in the NQF Snapshot Q1 2015 show that the proportion of children’s education and care services to receive a quality rating has increased to 56 per cent, with 8287 services now rated.
 
The report contains information about the number of services rated as Exceeding or Meeting NQS as well as the number of services rated Working towards NQS. Highlights include:
  • 14 827 children’s education and care services operate under the NQF across Australia
  • 34 per cent of services are rated as Working Towards NQS
  • 66 per cent of services are rated as Exceeding or Meeting NQS
  • 33 services are rated Excellent by ACECQA.
Download the NQF Snapshot Q1 2015