Quality Area 5: Relationships with children

Inappropriate discipline


National Law, Section 166 ]

Approved providers, nominated supervisors, staff members, volunteers and family day care educators must ensure that no child being educated and cared for by the service is subject to any form of corporal punishment, or any discipline that is unreasonable.

Authorised officers may discuss what measures are in place to ensure children at the service are not subject to any form of corporal punishment or unreasonable discipline. Compliance may be demonstrated by:

  • regular staff awareness sessions
  • a clear reporting structure for concerns
  • a clear and comprehensive policy and procedure about staff interactions with children.

Authorised officers may also look at the policies and procedures in place regarding staff interactions with children which is a requirement under regulation 168.

Interactions with children

National Regulations, Regulation 155 ]

An approved provider must take reasonable steps to ensure the service provides education and care in a way that:

  • encourages children to express themselves and their opinions
  • allows children to undertake experiences that develop self-reliance and self-esteem
  • maintains the dignity and rights of each child at all times
  • gives each child positive guidance and encouragement toward acceptable behaviour
  • considers family and cultural values, age, physical and intellectual development and abilities of each child.

Relationships in groups

National Regulations, Regulation 156 ]

The approved provider must take reasonable steps to ensure the service provides children with opportunities to interact and develop respectful and positive relationships with each other, staff members and volunteers at the service.

In doing so, the approved provider must consider the size and composition of the groups of children.

Authorised officers may consider:

  • the service’s policy on interactions with children (required under regulation 168)
  • whether any attachment occurs between children and educators
  • whether the service has implemented inclusive practices which allow all children to participate in the program, regardless of background or ability
  • whether the environment and routines at the service assist children to manage their own behaviour and promote positive relationships
  • whether group sizes take into account children’s ages, development and individual needs.

Authorised officers may work with services to ensure group sizes achieve positive outcomes for each child by discussing what the approved provider considered in determining group sizes, for example:

  • the physical environment
  • service philosophy
  • developmental needs of the children
  • educators’ qualifications and experience
  • the operational requirements of the service.

Group size affects factors such as noise level, the amount of stimulation and level of engagement in an education and care setting.

Smaller groups enable children to form caring relationships with one another, engage in meaningful shared experiences and discovery through play. Larger groups can help foster a sense of community and assist in developing strong teamwork and social skills. It is important for educators to consider the context of the group to ensure its size will benefit the experience of each child.

Small groups are particularly important for infants. They are also associated with a lower risk of infection and appear to improve the safety of children.

Responsibilities of the approved provider, nominated supervisor and family day care educator


Approved provider

Nominated supervisor

Family day care educator


Infringement notice

Compliance direction


Interactions with children (Regulation 155)


Relationships in groups (Regulation 156)



Inappropriate discipline (Section 166)**


*Waivers do not apply to any of these requirements.

**This offence also applies to staff members and volunteers at the service.