ACECQA Newsletter Issue 6 2015

New podcast series on documentation  

National Education Leader, Rhonda Livingstone unpacks documentation in the new NQF podcast series. Documentation is an area many services find challenging. It is the key to assessing and monitoring children’s learning and is a powerful tool to make the process of learning visible to children, parents, educators and other professionals. 
 
Find information on why educators document, the relevant requirements, tips for improving your service’s approach and what authorised officers are looking for. Download each episode and share them with educators at your service. 

Be part of Reconciliation

In the lead up to NAIDOC Week (5 - 12 July), National Education Leader Rhonda Livingstone discusses our shared responsibility to contribute to National Reconciliation.
 
Read more on ACECQA's We Hear You blog.
 
 
 
 
 

Starting Blocks - the guide to early education and care for new parents and families 

Starting Blocks provides new parents and families with helpful information on what to consider when looking for an early education and care service.
 
It answers questions such as “What are my options?” listing the different types of services, and explaining their features and how they might suit different lifestyles.
 
Starting Blocks also provides information on the educational programs a service will run and how these help children to learn and develop. 
 
View the new animated video and translated fact sheets for more information. You can also join the conversation by visiting our Facebook page and YouTube channel. 

Developing a culture of reflective practice 

Quality experiences for children do not happen automatically. They require a strong commitment to quality improvement by those delivering programs to children. A key part of achieving this is through ongoing learning and reflective practice. When educators strive to analyse and understand the impact of their practice they are able to identify any potential issues and work to overcome them.
 
The Early Years Learning Framework and Framework for School Age Care list ‘ongoing learning and reflective practice’ as one of the principles that underpin effective early education and care. This aligns with Element 1.2.3 of the National Quality Standard, which requires that ‘critical reflection on children’s learning and development, both as individuals and in groups, is regularly used to implement the program’. 
 
So what does it mean to think critically? Critical reflection or reflective practice is a form of personal learning and development that involves engaging with questions of philosophy, ethics and practice. As professionals, educators examine what happens within their settings and reflect on what they might change. 
 
Critically reflecting involves:
  • reflecting on your own personal biases
  • examining and rethinking your perspectives
  • questioning whether your perspectives generalise
  • considering all aspects of experiences
  • engaging in professional conversations with colleagues, families, professionals and community members 
  • using the reflective questions in the learning frameworks to prompt your thinking, for example ‘Who is advantaged when I work in this way? Who is disadvantaged?’ (Early Years Learning Framework, page 13)
In working with children we need to constantly reflect on how our practice is influenced by our own world views. Engaging in reflective practice allows us to examine our own practice and gain insights to inform future decision making.
 
An educator who examines their interactions with children, assesses the quality of learning environments and experiences, and critiques their own practice is using critical reflection to strengthen their own professional practice. It allows them to develop deeper understandings, explore concerns, improve the program and raise the overall quality of education and care experiences for children.
 
Sometimes reflecting on our practice with other people helps us come up with new ideas and clarify opportunities for further development. The approved learning frameworks acknowledge the importance of establishing a culture of professional inquiry where service staff are all involved in a culture of ongoing review, where practices are examined, outcomes reviewed and new ideas generated. This allows issues relating to program quality, environment design, equity and children’s wellbeing to be raised and debated (Early Years Learning Framework page 13). 
 
In establishing a culture of professional inquiry, there needs to be openness, trust and respect amongst colleagues, where everyone has a voice and is listened to. Educators need to be able to openly raise questions and concerns and know that their perspective will be valued, discussed and considered. It is amazing what can be achieved when educators are able to use their collective knowledge and perspectives to improve practice and contribute to quality experiences for children. 
 
As highlighted in the Educators’ Guide to the Early Years Learning Framework, a focus on ongoing learning and reflective practice guides you to seek ways to research, build your professional knowledge and develop learning communities in your service. 
 
There are many ways that educators can engage in critical reflection, for example setting a regular time when you are programming to write down thoughts, pose questions and record ideas. This could be done by using a reflective journal. Another way may be allocating time during meetings to engage in professional discussion, share ideas, new insights and interesting research and articles. 
 
Reflective practice helps educators to find new ways of thinking about their work and paves the way towards new possibilities. The questions you ask will take you on a journey of investigation and inspire creativity about what changes can be made to enrich children’s daily experiences.
 

Resources 

Department of Education and Children’s Services South Australia, Reflect Respect Relate

Melinda Miller, Queensland University of Technology, Critical Reflection

Early Childhood Australia (ECA), Talking about practice (TAPS), Reflecting on practice videos


Registration for Early Childhood Teachers

Registration is not a requirement for Early Childhood Teachers (ECT) under the NQF but it is an obligation under some state and territory legislation. See the table below for individual teacher registration requirements in your state or territory, or contact your local teacher registration body for more information.
 
To work as an ECT under the NQF, you do still need to hold an approved early childhood teaching qualification. You can use the ACECQA online qualifications checker to see if your qualification is approved. If you do not hold an approved qualification and would like to see if you are recognised as equivalent to an early childhood teacher, visit the ACECQA website
 

Jurisdiction

ECT registration requirements

Contact your local teacher regulatory authority for more information

ACT

No registration requirements for ECTs in NQF settings

The ACT Teacher Quality Institute

NSW

As of 2016 all ECTs will need to be accredited, including those working in NQF settings

The Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards NSW

SA

From 1 January 2014 all ECTs must be registered as teachers, including those working in NQF settings

The Teachers Registration Board of South Australia

VIC

As of 30 September 2015 all ECTs must be registered as ECTs, including those working in NQF settings

The Victorian Institute of Teaching

WA

As of 6 December 2012 all ECTs must be registered as ECTs

The Teacher Registration Board of  Western Australia

TAS

Registration is not required for ECTs in NQF settings

The Teachers Registration Board of Tasmania

NT

Registration is not required for all ECTs. However, if you are working in a preschool you may require registration as a condition of employment

Teacher Registration Board of the  Northern Territory

QLD

No registration requirements for ECTs in NQF settings

The Queensland College of Teachers

*Table updated 11 January 2016


Including every child 

If your service is looking for ways to improve the education and care of children with disability or high support needs, the Inclusion and Professional Support Program (IPSP) may be able to help. It aims to remove barriers for children with additional needs by offering assistance to educators through funding and professional development initiatives.  
 
The IPSP includes Inclusion Support Agencies (ISAs), which provide practical advice and support to help services access training. ISAs can also recommend additional resources and support provided by Professional Support Coordinators (PSCs).
 
Education and care services may also be eligible for the Inclusion Support Subsidy (ISS). This helps services improve their capacity to include children with ongoing high support needs, for example by employing an additional worker to help educators. Eligible services include those approved for child care benefit and those funded under the budget based program.
 
The Indigenous Professional Support Units (IPSUs) are another arm of the IPSP, providing professional development and support to services that have a high proportion of indigenous children attending. The IPSUs also advise ISAs on support and resources to help services meet the needs of indigenous children and educators.
 
For more information about the IPSP, including the contact details for each program, visit the Department of Social Services website.
 
Wynnum Family Day Care in Queensland is one service that accesses the ISS program. The service’s manager, Catherine Bavage, said the hard work done by the coordination unit to organise and support professional development for educators has directly resulted in the inclusion of children with additional needs at their service. 
 
“Educators feel more confident about supporting children’s needs and it directly impacts on children’s inclusion and their outcomes in the program,” Catherine said. 
 
Funding allows Wynnum to employ a coordinator to further support professional development and build on educators’ existing skills.   
 
“The additional support we receive enables us as educators to offer inclusive, high quality education and care to all the children enrolled in our program.” 

ACECQA's national workshops coming to Queensland 

ACECQA’s national workshops supporting services in Quality Area 1 have been well received, with more than 2500 educators attending from around Australia. Places are still available for Queensland regional sessions in Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast, Maryborough and Mount Isa.
 
Led by ACECQA’s National Education Leader, Rhonda Livingstone, the workshops are practical, hands-on sessions supported by local Professional Support Co-ordinators and regulatory authority staff.
 
The workshops are open to all educators and providers, but are particularly targeted at services that have received a rating of Working Towards National Quality Standard or have not yet been rated. Register at our Events page

Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards announced

State winners have been announced for 2015 in the categories of Director of the Year, Service of the Year, Educator of the Year and the Rising Star Award. From a pool of 100 finalists from across Australia, 18 state winners are up for the national title in their respective category. National winners will be awarded on Friday 19 June at the 2015 Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards gala in Sydney. Good luck and congratulations to all of the nominees.