Quality Area 6: Collaborative partnerships with families and communities


Quality Area 6 focuses on supportive, respectful relationships with families which are fundamental to achieving quality outcomes for children. Community partnerships that are based on active communication, consultation and collaboration also contribute to children’s inclusion, learning and wellbeing.

Families are the primary influence in their children’s lives; they often have strong beliefs and values regarding the education and care of their children. When families and services collaborate and build respectful relationships, children have the opportunity to develop a positive sense of self and experience respectful relationships. As well, the child, the family and the service do not exist in isolation; they are part of a much wider community. Children benefit from services engaging with local communities because these partnerships strengthen children’s interest and skills in being active contributors to their community. Collaborative partnerships are achieved when the service’s philosophy has a strong commitment to valuing diversity, inclusive practice, creating culturally safe and secure environments and connecting to the community. To help services be prepared to engage all children in the educational program, services may also develop specific plans (for example a Strategic Inclusion Plan) to ensure the service is ‘inclusion ready’.

Partnerships involve educators, families, other professionals, community members and teachers in schools working together for the best interests of children. Educators create opportunities for open and authentic partnerships with all families, communities and organisations, including with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations and those from culturally diverse backgrounds (Early Years Learning Framework; Framework for School Age Care).  

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the longest surviving Indigenous culture in the world and the custodians of this land. Through genuine and sustainable partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations, as well as culturally responsive practices, educators can ensure the history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is respectfully and truthfully reflected throughout the service and its program, for the benefit of all children. The contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – past and present – should be acknowledged and valued in children’s learning and throughout the service’s program (Early Years Learning Framework; Framework for School Age Care).

Related National Law

A number of the guiding principles that underpin the National Law support services’ engagement with Quality Area 6. These principles are:

  • that the principles of equity, inclusion and diversity underlie the National Law
  • that Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are valued
  • that the role of parents and families is respected and supported
    (see section 3(3) of the National Law).

Standards, elements and concepts

Quality Area 6 has two Standards that support building collaborative partnerships with families and communities to enhance children’s inclusion, learning and wellbeing as they transition through the early years into school and/or attend outside school hours care services. These Standards are crucial to delivering quality outcomes for children under the National Quality Framework because:

  • authentic family engagement encourages the active participation of each child and their family in service decisions and the educational program
  • reflecting on inclusive practice helps the service to identify and remove potential barriers to an inclusive environment and support the wellbeing of all children and families
  • community engagement helps the service to build relationships between each child, the families of the service and the community they reside in, and encourages each child to develop their identity within the context of their local community
  • as well as enriching programs, practices and policies, it provides an opportunity to support children to respect and value diversity.
QA6 Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
6.1Supportive relationships with familiesRespectful relationships with families are developed and maintained and families are supported in their parenting role.
6.1.1Engagement with the serviceFamilies are supported from enrolment to be involved in the service and contribute to service decisions.
6.1.2Parent views are respectedThe expertise, culture, values and beliefs of families are respected and families share in decision-making about their child’s learning and wellbeing.
6.1.3Families are supportedCurrent information is available to families about the service and relevant community services and resources to support parenting and family wellbeing.
6.2Collaborative partnershipsCollaborative partnerships enhance children’s inclusion, learning and wellbeing.
6.2.1TransitionsContinuity of learning and transitions for each child are supported by sharing information and clarifying responsibilities.
6.2.2Access and participationEffective partnerships support children's access, inclusion and participation in the program.
6.2.3Community engagementThe service builds relationships and engages with its community.
See the ACECQA Educational Leader Resource for information for educational leaders.