ACECQA Newsletter Issue 1 2022

Educator reading to children who are sitting in circle


CEO foreword

Happy New Year and welcome to our first newsletter for 2022.

No matter how much we were hoping for a different start to the new year, in each State and Territory, services, families and governments are managing with, or preparing for, the Omicron wave of the pandemic. It is important to acknowledge this difficult period and our first article provides latest updates to our websites, linking you and your families with the latest health and education advice in each jurisdiction. 

Throughout 2021, the high demand for, and professional status of, educators and early childhood teachers were dominant issues for the sector and governments. It is expected that workforce sustainability – supply, attraction, retention, wellbeing and quality – will continue to be a major topic this year for collaborative action.

To this end, our monthly newsletter is dedicated to supporting your professional development and fulfilling ACECQA’s role in promoting and fostering continuous quality improvement by approved ECEC services and supporting the sector in understanding the National Quality Framework through guides and resources.  Each month, we focus on an array of topics and issues that aim to keep you up to date with the latest government news, contemporary research and shared stories from diverse services.  

This month, we begin a series of articles on play-based learning. Known by various names, play-based learning has had many interpretations and, sometime over the years and in various countries, it has become a definition narrowed to mean ‘free play’ and parents have asked “is my child wasting time when they should be working/learning/preparing for school or achieving?" Of course, this does not do play-based learning or the professional role of educator/teacher any justice. A number of years ago, the Queensland Department of Education commissioned Griffith University to write a foundation paper explaining the characteristics, approaches, practice notes and underpinning research of effective play-based learning. This valuable research guide is still available at We hope through our series you will have greater confidence to explore your own tool box of play-based learning approaches including inquiry learning, explicit instruction, direct teaching, project themes and imaginative play.

Please share these articles with colleagues and families if you find them useful.

Gabrielle Sinclair


COVID-19 information to support the sector and families: Updates to ACECQA's websites

Covid illustration on blue background

Our websites provide a national source of information for the sector and families to find information and guidance, consistent with our role as the national authority. In 2020, we worked in partnership with the Australian Government to create two dedicated COVID-19 information pages: 

View the COVID-19 information on the ACECQA website

View the COVID-19 information on

They are national reference points for the sector and families to access information and guidance on education and health topics during the pandemic.

Noting impacts of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 on children’s education and care services, we are working with governments to support the sector and families with more information and guidance. 

We've added new links to state and territory and Australian Government information and guidance 

These new links are supporting access to education and care information and health information across Australia and by jurisdiction. They provide links to specific information and guidance on a range of topics, including:

  • Testing and Isolation requirements                                  
  • Service closure requirements                     
  • Mask requirements                                        
  • Staff vaccinations

We will continue to provide links to new information and guidance as it becomes available. 

Our search tools are providing information about open and closed services Find Child Care search tool is only displaying services that are open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ACECQA's temporary service closures mapping tool displays the open/closed status of children’s education and care services approved under the Education and Care Services National Law across Australia. It shows close to real time temporary closure information about services on ACECQA’s national registers based on notifications of temporary service closures made under Regulation 175(2)(b).

Starting 2022 with a shared understanding of quality

Educator at table with three children

We know and understand that high quality education and care early in a child’s life promotes their learning, development and wellbeing and leads to improved health, wellbeing, social and longer term educational outcomes later in life.

The research and our own experiences tell us that high quality children’s education and care is multi-dimensional and there are many elements that comprise quality

Quality education and care requires a holistic approach to practice. For example, quality can not be achieved if there is high quality educational programming but poor quality health and safety practices. 

The benefits of children’s education and care are realised when children have access to interactions, learning and leisure opportunities that are of sufficiently high quality to substantially impact their learning and development. Research has identified that low quality education and care can be associated with no benefits, or even have detrimental effects on children’s learning, wellbeing and development. 

The National Quality Framework promotes a holistic approach, embedding system, structural and process components of quality through the National Law and National Regulations, the National Quality Standard (NQS) and the approved learning frameworks

As a sector, we have much to be proud of. The commitment to quality improvement is reflected in the overall rating data outlined in the ACECQA NQF Snapshot, which reported that 86% of services with a quality rating are meeting or exceeding the NQS. 

Understanding the elements of education and care that provide ongoing benefits and positive outcomes to each child is an important step in the continuous improvement journey. It is particularly relevant for new educators when building highly effective collaboration and a shared purpose.

Collaborating to develop a clear and shared understanding of these elements of quality has the potential to: 

  • support quality in daily practice and improve relationships, interactions and children’s learning and development
  • help educators and teachers to articulate the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of their practice and what they do each day in their work with children and families
  • inform effective planning for continuous quality improvement. 

We all have our own perspectives on what quality means. These have been influenced by our own pre-service training, life experiences, values, beliefs and even our biases.

Each service community will also have unique views on quality. To promote discussion and a shared understanding of, and commitment to, quality you might like to consider posing the question at a team meeting: 

When you talk about quality children’s education and care, what do you mean by ‘quality’?

Think about including everyone’s perspective into a word cloud, painting or mind map, as a strategy to help shape or review the service philosophy and identify quality improvement opportunities.  

The ACECQA Quest for Quality – Components of Quality set will help continue to build your understanding of these important components of quality. 

Recognition as an 'equivalent early childhood teacher'

Illustrator of female figure next to clipboard with checklist

First introduced in September 2013, this transitional measure was most recently reviewed by the ACECQA Board in June 2021, at which point the Board decided to extend and amend the measure until the end of 2023 as follows. From 1 January 2022, a person who holds ALL of the following will be recognised as equivalent to an early childhood teacher:

  • a primary or secondary teaching qualification


  • teacher registration in Australia (called ‘accreditation’ in New South Wales)


  • an ACECQA approved certificate III level (or higher) early childhood education and care qualification.

This transitional measure is scheduled to cease at the end of 2023, however individuals who have obtained this combination of qualifications before the end of 2023 will continue to be recognised under this provision.

Read more information about this decision.

New anaphylaxis management resources 

Illustration with three colourful figures holding hands

The National Allergy Strategy has now finalised the Best practice guidelines for anaphylaxis prevention and management in children’s education and care services. They are comprehensive and practical, featuring key principles for reducing the risk of anaphylaxis and recommendations on: 

  • anaphylaxis management policy and plans
  • allergy documentation
  • emergency responses
  • staff training
  • community and peer education 
  • post incident management and incident reporting.

An Allergy Aware resource hub has also been developed, which includes key principles for reducing the risk of anaphylaxis and developing risk minimisation strategies. There are also helpful templates and checklists for children’s education and care services to use to prevent and manage anaphylaxis.

Quality and innovation continue to rise in children’s education and care sector

NQF Annual Performance Report 2021

Our fifth NQF Annual Performance Report is now available online.

The report highlights continuous improvement across all seven quality areas of the National Quality Standard (NQS).

In 2021, children’s education and care service providers and staff demonstrated significant resilience, commitment and innovation during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The report showcases some innovative programs and practices introduced as part of remote and blended learning environments.

The report finds public awareness of the NQF and the quality rating system continues to increase. It also identifies sector-wide challenges, such as workforce sustainability and educator wellbeing. Initiatives intended to address these issues include a new ten year national workforce strategy to support the recruitment, retention, sustainability and quality of the sector workforce.

Along with the report, you can access supporting resources including a brief summary report, slide pack and interactive content. Find out what’s changing

Girl painting at table

Soon we will be publishing service fees, vacancies, quality ratings and inclusions on our family focused website,

We are also adding some new features to help families find and compare services. will be the national government website helping families to: 

  • find children’s education and care services and view their vacancies, costs, quality ratings and inclusions 
  • compare services side-by-side 
  • estimate their out-of-pocket costs 
  • get information and advice about education, children’s development, and parenting. 

Having this information in one place helps parents choose the best early childhood education and care for their family. 

Please let your families know that these details will soon only be published on the website.

There are a few things services need to do

  • update your communication products with this information
  • replace old phone numbers like the My Child Hotline and Child Care Access Hotline with links to
  • continue to report your fees and information as required by Family Assistance Law through the Provider Entry Point (PEP) or your third-party software.


Play-based learning resources for educators and families 

Boy playing outside

Play (and leisure) provides opportunities for children to learn as they discover, create, improvise and imagine. When children play with other children they create social groups, test out ideas, challenge each other’s thinking and build new understandings. Play provides a supportive environment where children can ask questions, solve problems and engage in critical thinking. Play can expand children’s thinking and enhance their desire to know and to learn. In these ways play can promote positive dispositions towards learning. ‘Children’s immersion in their play illustrates how play enables them to simply enjoy being’ (Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework, p. 17; My Time, Our Place: Framework for School Age Care in Australia, p. 15).

There is a wealth of research available to support the positive impact of play on a child’s lifelong learning and wellbeing. Neurological research confirms that play is a powerful tool to support healthy brain development and cognitive function. Play allows children to be active leaders in their own learning and development. It takes shape in many forms and will look different in every context. 

Play-based learning is a key feature of quality early childhood and school age care programs and involves a range of sensory learning experiences that promote discovery, curiosity, creativity, exploration, interaction, learning and development. A play-based learning approach also fosters children’s critical skills, understanding and dispositions which are essential to their successful learning and development.   

Children are intrinsically motivated by play and a play-based learning approach nurtures a positive attitude towards learning. Through play children develop connections, build relationships and make meaning of the world around them.

Parents, families and educators play an important role in supporting play-based learning. We have created a range of free resources about play-based learning to support families and educators. Some examples include:  

NQF Evaluation Framework

Child looking at rock with magnifying glass and text 'research' over image

We have recently published a refreshed version of the NQF Evaluation Framework, developed in collaboration with the Australian and state and territory governments.

The framework provides an agreed way of understanding how the NQF is meeting its objectives. This gives governments and all sector stakeholders a common reference point when considering research activities.

Universities, research institutions, governments, and other stakeholders are encouraged to contribute to the NQF evidence base by commissioning, undertaking or supporting research in line with the NQF Evaluation Framework.

Our own research and evaluation activities align to one or more of the objectives of the NQF, contributing evidence in answer to the key questions in the NQF Evaluation Framework.

You can find out more on our Research and reports page, which also provides a wide range of NQF related research and evidence.

Queensland’s Educational Leader Professional Program

Three educators in discussion looking at document

This month we hear from Donna Wynn, a Principal Project Officer from the Queensland Department of Education. 

Donna was recently involved in the development and facilitation of the Queensland Department of Education Early Childhood Education and Care Metropolitan Region Educational Leader Professional Program.

The intensive six-month program was developed in response to an identified need within the metropolitan region to support educational leaders’ professional development and understanding of Quality Area 1 – Educational program and practice and Quality Area 7 – Governance and leadership, specifically Standard 7.2. 

Read the full blog post

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