ACECQA Newsletter Issue 1 2019

ACECQA CEO Gabrielle Sinclair

 

ACECQA CEO Foreword

Welcome to our first ACECQA Newsletter for 2019, and hope you are enjoying a very happy and successful start to the New Year.

Like you, here at ACECQA, we are preparing for the opportunities and challenges of 2019 with every child’s best start in life firmly at the heart of our plans.

ACECQA provides national leadership on the implementation of the National Quality Framework (NQF) by facilitating a successful collaboration with Australian and state and territory governments.

The NQF is a national approach to regulation, including quality rating and improvement for nearly 16,000 education and care services across Australia.

Research shows quality education and care early in life leads to better health, education and employment outcomes. The early years are critical for establishing self-esteem, resilience, healthy growth and capacity to learn. Quality education and care shapes every child’s future and lays the foundation for development and learning.

The delivery of quality education and care can be complex, and we know children develop and learn best when we all work together. Our role is to develop and deliver programs, services and resources that support families, educators, service providers and regulatory authorities across all Australian communities. 

As you know, engaging families in their child’s learning and development is key to their successful start in life. Over the years, we have gauged families’ perceptions of quality in early childhood education and care services.  Our Starting Blocks website was created to provide a reliable, informative and free resource for families to help them understand the importance of early childhood development, quality education and care and their essential role as their child’s first teacher.

This month we are trialling an engaging new creative concept to raise awareness of quality education and care and link families to the Starting Blocks resources.  

In 2017 and 2018, we prepared performance reports to Education Ministers on how the sector was performing against the objectives of the National Quality Framework. I hope you find our second annual performance report an interesting read.  It shows the inspiring outcomes achieved for over a million children. The data in the report can be accessed online in interactive charts, to bring insights to your fingertips for reflections, conversations and team meetings.

Just as all services strive for continuous improvement, we also want to produce the best and latest information for you.  We would like you to join in some big conversations with us this year, and this newsletter highlights some great ways to get started. We’ll be sharing ACECQA’s goals for 2019 and our progress achieving them, and encourage you to pass them on to your colleagues and networks.


National Partnership Annual Performance Report 2018

Group of boys with hats standing in line

Late last year, ACECQA, in collaboration with all governments, released its second Annual Performance Report on the National Partnership on the National Quality Agenda for Early Childhood Education and Care.

The report builds on the inaugural 2017 report and focusses on progress made during 2017-18.

It analyses many aspects of the National Quality Framework (NQF), including chapters on children’s health and safety, educational outcomes, social inclusion and the education and care workforce.

There is detailed information on how different services types and parts of our sector are faring.

As well as the main report, there is a promotional video and summary slide pack. There are also mobile-friendly interactive charts which make it quick and easy to explore data at a glance.

You’ll find the report and supplementary resources on the ACECQA website.


Each child, every child – Building children’s sense of belonging

Educator with boy discussion

As we settle into 2019 and welcome families into a new year, the impact of transitions on children should not be underestimated. By forming close attachments through personal and consistent engagement, every child will feel safe and secure, building trust and a sense of belonging in your service.

When children feel safe, secure and supported, they develop the confidence to explore and learn (Early Years Learning Framework, p. 20; Framework for School Age Care, p. 19).

Of course, each child comes with different experiences and feelings about experiencing a new year. Some may already have an established sense of belonging: they are confident because they know their educators and other children, what the routine involves and how to navigate their time at the service. Others may be feeling unsure about the transition as they separate from families, move rooms or begin at a new service or service type.

Your help in building trusting and meaningful relationships is essential for children to develop a sense of belonging and agency. Each child’s journey will be different, your knowledge of their personalities, their families and their interests will help them to relate to their peers and other educators and staff.

Consider and reflect on how you and the service team:

  • Respond to the feelings children have when they are faced with unfamiliar routines, new people and new places
  • Build close attachments and secure relationships with children of all ages, abilities, genders and backgrounds 
  • Give children opportunities to have agency in the day to day decisions that affect them
  • Maintain respectful and equitable relationships with each child, amongst the other daily tasks and routine activities.

Further reading and resources to support your practice

ACECQA Information Sheet: Quality Area 1 – Supporting Agency: Involving children in decision making

ACECQA Information Sheet: Quality Area 5 – Relationships with Children

ACECQA Information Sheet: Quality Area 5 – Supporting Children to manage their own behaviour

Kids Matter Factsheet – Understanding and managing separation distress


Starting Blocks - new resources

Children playing outside in sandpit

Starting Blocks, ACECQA’s family focused website, is a useful hub of information and printable resources on children’s early education and care. We encourage you to share the resources with families at the service and in your local community.

This month, two new resources have been added to Starting Blocks:

Sun protection in child care – this fact sheet, contributed by Cancer Council Australia, focuses on sun protection and offers useful tips on how to implement sun protection measures so that children can have fun while being safe in the sun

Raising concerns with your child care service – this fact sheet focuses on providing information and building confidence in raising and expressing concerns parents may have with the service that their child is attending, including contact details for lodging complaints.

Visit Starting Blocks for these resources and other information and tips for parents.


Wellbeing Wednesdays

Educator outdoors interacting with child

‘As educators, parents, carers, community members, we need to think about and look after our own mental health’ – KidsMatter.

Mental health matters, and it’s important to take a moment to reflect, prioritise your own wellbeing and practice mindfulness.

Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University research shows that for children, positive experiences with educators and carers early on act as a foundation for a broad range of emotional and social skills and learning capacities later on in life. By using practices and strategies that promote good mental health and by being in a positive frame of mind, we’re able to leave meaningful impacts on those around us.

Taking care of your mental health is important for your own wellbeing and helps you in your professional life to better support the children and families you’re working with.

ACECQA’s launched a new Wellbeing Wednesday series just for educators on our Facebook page. Follow us every Wednesday to get useful tips, resources and information on educator mental health and wellbeing. Keep an eye out for our #educatorwellbeingwednesday hashtag.


SkillsIQ training package review – have your say

SkillsIQ logo

The Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) has commissioned SkillsIQ to review six children’s education and care qualifications, including the national Certificate III and Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care.

We encourage all employers and educators to take the opportunity to provide feedback on the revised training package.

The national consultation is open until Thursday 28 February. More information, including the online feedback forum and information on workshops in major cities, is available on the SkillsIQ website.