ACECQA Newsletter Issue 2 2019
Welcome to our February Newsletter.
Having recently celebrated my second year at ACECQA, I am pleased to say that I am still learning about the amazing diversity of our Australian communities and the unique circumstances in which they exist. Nearly 16,000 NQF approved education and care services are working and thriving, building networks of services and relationships with councils, local schools and businesses to respond to the changing interests and needs of their children and families.
One of ACECQA’s roles is to help families, educators, providers, regulatory authorities and governments to navigate this complexity. We do this by providing high quality resources, identifying and sharing reliable data sources, highlighting great programs and practice, tracking quality improvements and, sometimes, challenging or clarifying misconceptions that are not supported by evidence.
This month, we have a number of articles that I hope you will find interesting.
We understand that undergoing assessment and rating can be challenging, knowing that great education and care program and practice needs to be tailored to each community – what works in one service may not be effective in another. The tips in the We Hear You blog may assist in thinking about how your programs and practice were developed, how they have improved year by year and why.
We have also provided links to give you ease of access to two important reports – the latest Report on Government Services 2019 and our latest NQF Snapshot. Both provide a good insight into how the sector is performing and a sound foundation for reflections about what works in the best interests of children.
In this edition, we have updates on the resources available on our Starting Blocks website. We share with you the opportunity to help parents and families to make choices about services that will best meet the needs of their children, and to support them as their child’s first teacher.
As always, our Newsletter is written for you – aligning your important role with the spirit and intent of the six NQF Guiding Principles.
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.
The draft two training package material for the Certificate III and Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care have been available for public consultation since 30 November 2018. To date, the majority of feedback has been provided by Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).
As part of SkillsIQ’s review, there are significant changes being proposed that would impact on the early childhood education and care sector.
One change being proposed is for educators to have to complete the new Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC30119) before being eligible to enrol in the new Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC50119).
There are also changes being proposed to the supervised work placement requirements for both early childhood qualifications, as below:
- certificate III work placements to be increased to 160 hours, of which 120 hours must be in a regulated education and care service
- diploma work placements to be increased to 280 hours, of which 240 hours must be in a regulated education and care service.
Changes made to the children’s education and care training package will directly impact on providers and educators. We encourage all employers and educators to take the opportunity to provide feedback on the revised training package material.
Public consultation has been extended to Friday 29 March 2019. Full details on the revised certificate III and diploma in early childhood education and care, including the online feedback forum, is available on the SkillsIQ website.
Quality Area 2: Children’s health and safety of the National Quality Standard supports the development of children’s healthy eating and positive, relaxed mealtimes as a way to contribute to every child’s ability to socialise, concentrate, cooperate and learn. When children have positive experiences, they develop an understanding of themselves as significant and respected and feel a sense of belonging. (Early Years Learning Framework, p. 23; Framework for School Age Care, p. 20).
Valuing the importance of quality, relaxed and enjoyable mealtime experiences provides educators with the opportunity to implement practices that support children to develop independence, agency, social skills, friendships and trusting relationships.
Positive mealtimes provide opportunities for the continuing development of our positive relationships with children and their relationships with others. They also support a wide variety of learning and development opportunities. While developing children’s understanding of food, nutrition and healthy choices, we can also build their confidence, curiosity and resilience.
How we approach the routine activity of mealtimes helps set the tone for other educators and children. It can also influence the children’s play and sleep/rest routines after the meal. Calm and respectful transitions from the meal provide predictability to assist children in feeling safe, secure and confident to explore and learn.
Sharing mealtimes with children is an important opportunity in providing positive and responsive one-to-one interactions. For every child, and especially those under three years, it supports their wellbeing and their future development. Creating positive mealtimes with school age children can also provide opportunities for leadership skills to develop, for them to interact positively with children of different ages and to demonstrate positive responses to diversity in behaviour and conversations with other children.
Consider and reflect on how you and the service team:
- collaborate with children to plan mealtime routines, and ensure the rights and needs of every child is reflected in this planning
- design the environment for mealtime, and support small group interactions and opportunities for independence and the development of skills related to preparing, presenting and serving food
- consider strategies to ensure that children and families have genuine opportunities to participate in decision making around food to be served (whether brought from home or provided at the service)
- collaborate and talk with children about the mealtime, listen to their choices and provide opportunities for them to make decisions during the routine.
Further reading and resources to support your practice
ACECQA – The Guide to the National Quality Framework – Quality Area 2 and 5.
ACECQA Information Sheet: Quality Area 3 – The environment as the ‘third teacher’.
ACECQA Information Sheet: Quality Area 5 – Relationships with Children
Nutrition Australia – Five food tips for healthy kids
During assessment and rating visits, authorised officers follow an 'observe-discuss-sight' method, gathering evidence to support a rating against the National Quality Standard (NQS).
On We Hear You, ACECQA’s Quality Support Program Team outlines the importance of articulating practice and provides practical tips to assist educators articulate the achievements and strengths of their service and team members during these visits.
Together with State and Territory Governments, we contribute to the annual Report on Government Services (RoGS), which provides information on the equity, effectiveness and efficiency of government services in Australia.
The early childhood education and care chapter of RoGS 2019 was released on 1 February. It contains data on the quality of NQF approved education and care services and compliance measures, including serious incidents that occurred at approved services and the number of confirmed breaches of the National Law and Regulations.
There is also data contributed by other organisations on the size, scope and funding of the education and care sector and performance indicators relating to participation, cost and demand for services.
Almost eight out of 10 services with a quality rating (79%) have an overall rating of Meeting National Quality Standard (NQS) or above, according to data in the NQF Snapshot, Q4 2018. More than three out of 10 (32%) are rated Exceeding NQS and 47 services currently hold the Excellent rating – the highest rating an education and care service can achieve under the NQF.
As at 31 December 2018, 14,896 education and care services – 94% of all services approved to operate under the NQF – have received a quality rating. (Note: The proportion of services with a quality rating will never reach 100% as new and recently approved services may not yet be rated).
ACECQA’s NQF Snapshot provides analysis and information on the profile of the education and care sector, the progress of quality assessment and rating, and the quality ratings awarded to services, including examining the distribution of ratings by service type, provider management type and geographically.
This month, two new resources have been added to ACECQA’s family focused website, Starting Blocks.
One of the resources details useful tips for parents and carers raising bilingual or multilingual children. The 2016 census revealed that more than one-fifth (21%) of Australians speak a language other than English at home and there are many practical benefits associated with this. This resource outlines how to enhance a child’s experience of learning another language.
The second resource illustrates the importance of talking and reading with babies and how this can be a wonderful opportunity to bond with babies. This resource also shares valuable tips on how to keep them engaged.
To access these resources and other information and tips to share with families, visit the Starting Blocks website.