Element 5.2.1: Collaborative learning

Children are supported to collaborate, learn from and help each other.

What Element 5.2.1 aims to achieve

Services provide a range of opportunities for children to learn how to work with others collaboratively, respectfully and effectively, including through play experiences. Educators can support children to learn about and experience cooperation by modelling cooperative behaviour themselves and acknowledging cooperation when it occurs. As children develop their social skills, educators provide time and space for children to engage in collaborative experiences. These enjoyable experiences help children to learn about their responsibilities to others and to appreciate their connectedness and interdependence as learners. They learn to balance their own needs and wants with those of other children. By nurturing respectful and reciprocal relationships among children, educators support children to value collaboration and teamwork.

School age care settings are places for children to learn more about themselves, others and the world as they increasingly cooperate and work collaboratively with others. By encouraging children’s active involvement in learning experiences, children learn to explore and solve problems and develop greater capacity for independence and collaboration. Older children can challenge and extend their own thinking, and that of others, and create new knowledge in collaborative interactions and negotiations with peers. By exchanging ideas and collaborating with others, older children can also learn life and social skills, such as conflict resolution and negotiation skills.

Assessment guide for meeting Element 5.2.1 (for all services)

Supporting cooperation and collaboration

Assessors may observe:


  • children:
    • participating in play and showing awareness and interest in others
    • developing friendships as part of a small group
    • engaging in enjoyable interactions with their peers, contributing to shared play experiences, and responding positively to ideas and suggestions from others
    • engaged in experiences that support them in establishing and maintaining relationships with children of various ages, genders, cultures and capabilities
    • engaged in ongoing collaborative projects they have initiated that involve research, planning, problem-solving and shared decision-making
    • engaged in activities that may benefit others (such as helping re-set experiences or setting the table for a meal)
    • showing kindness and compassion towards their peers
    • negotiating roles and relationships in play and leisure experiences
    • spending time with their peers

Family day care

  • experiencing friendly and genuine interactions with members of the educator’s family
  • educators:
    • supporting children’s progress through different stages of play, to help them gain confidence in interacting with their peers
    • modelling collaborative behaviour through their interactions with children and colleagues, to help children to initiate interactions and join in play and social experiences with their peers
    • respectfully and thoughtfully engaging in children’s group play and projects
    • supporting children to understand or communicate with each other
    • planning experiences that encourage children to work together to achieve success
    • allocating time for relaxed, unhurried experiences that enable children to collaborate and direct their own learning together
    • creating opportunities for peer scaffolding in small and large group play
    • asking follow-up questions to extend children’s learning in group situations
    • promoting a sense of community in the service
    • providing opportunities and resources for children to assume leadership roles and direct play experiences with their peers
    • acknowledging older children’s complex relationships and sensitively intervening in ways that promote social inclusion

School age children

  • implementing mentoring programs within the service to connect older children with younger children
  • providing grouping opportunities related to children’s interests

Family day care

  • supporting, in a fair and consistent way, collaboration and teamwork between the children at the service and their own children.

Assessors may discuss:


  • how staffing and grouping arrangements support positive relationships between children
  • how educators support and promote children’s interpersonal relationships
  • how educators support inclusion of children from diverse backgrounds and capabilities in collaborative play, projects and experiences with others
  • how educators learn about children’s shared interests and how they use this information to plan further learning opportunities
  • how educators assist children to explore diverse perspectives on issues of inclusion and exclusion and fair and unfair behaviour (Early Years Learning Framework; Framework for School Age Care)
  • how educators help children understand the concept of consent by modelling or demonstrating asking for and providing consent and provide opportunities for children to practice (Early Years Learning Framework; Framework for School Age Care)

School age children

  • opportunities provided for children and young people to take on leadership roles within the service
  • how educators broaden children’s and young people's perspectives and encourage an appreciation of diverse views and ideas within the group
  • how educators differentiate the curriculum to engage children and young people in collaborative learning experiences when they differ in knowledge and skills

Family day care

  • how educators provide opportunities for children to experience a variety of group settings
  • how the service addresses and communicates the role that educators’ family members may play in the service.

Assessors may sight:

  • the service’s policy on interactions with children and behaviour guidance
  • evidence that:
    • the program and routines include regular opportunities for children to engage in social play and collaborative experiences
    • educators identify children’s shared interests and use this information to plan further collaborative learning opportunities

School age children

  • the program includes collaborative and challenging learning experiences that are responsive to children’s and young people's interests

Family day care

  • guidelines about the role of educators’ families in the provision of family day care
  • documented plans for children to spend time in group experiences with children of similar ages and other educators.