ACECQA Newsletter Issue 4 2019

Children KU Lance playing outdoors at sand trestle with raincoats on

 

ACECQA CEO Foreword

Welcome to our April Newsletter.

In line with the expectation that we are all striving for continuous quality improvement, it is essential that we keep up to date on contemporary initiatives and events so that we participate as active professionals and continue to challenge and improve our policies, programs and professional practices for children’s optimal health, safety, wellbeing and development. 

To question why we do things in a certain way, to test our perceptions and to ask if there is a more effective or efficient way to achieve our goals are important habits to adopt. 

At ACECQA, we strive to improve our performance in delivering our functions and supporting the objectives and guiding principles of the National Quality Framework. We use every opportunity to influence national reviews relevant to our sector, to raise the status of educators and to champion society’s understanding of the vital role of children’s education and care services in the development of social, emotional, physical, cognitive, creative and language skills. 

We also try to support your role and service/organisations through this newsletter.

This month, there are a number of articles that I hope will inform and inspire you to be active in the improvement of qualifications, the National Quality Framework and your own programs and practice.

Please use your communities of practice and your networks to share the articles that appeal to you. 


Have Your Say on the 2019 NQF Review

NQF review logo

An important national conversation about the future regulation of children’s education and care in Australia is commencing. Families, communities, educators, services, providers and peak bodies are all invited to be part of informing government decision making.

It’s been five years since the last review started back in 2014 – and it’s time to check back in and see what areas of the National Quality Framework (NQF) can be improved, including the National Law and Regulations.

The NQF Review ‘Have Your Say’ website is now live – here you can read the NQF Issues Paper, complete an online survey and book into group consultations being held across Australia during May and June 2019. 

The 2019 NQF Review aims to ensure that the NQF is current, fit-for-purpose and implemented through best practice regulation.

Over the next two years, there will be opportunities to find out more, provide feedback, and get updates on options being considered by governments.

Terms of Reference have been agreed by all nine governments, and an Issues Paper prepared to guide this first consultation phase of the review.

The NQF Review team would like to receive as much feedback as possible by July 2019.  

Hop on to www.nqfreview.com.au and Have Your Say now!


Educational Leadership – supporting material

Educators talking to each other ECA image

Recently launched, The Educational Leader Resource has been very well received by educational leaders across the country. The resource was developed in response to sector feedback and has been designed for new and experienced educational leaders from all service types, as well as those aspiring to the role.

We have also recently released a series of videos to accompany the information and ideas in the Resource. Developed to enhance the understanding of the role further, the videos provide practical suggestions and real-life stories of leaders who have implemented the role with success. The videos include stories of practice and open, in-depth interviews with educational leaders and approved providers from different service types.

The first video, The Educational Leader Resource, looks at the four dimensions of the Effective Educational Leadership model shared in the Resource. The dimensions of knowledge, professionalism, reflection and relationships are unpacked, and consideration is given to how these come together to form the basis of educational leadership. This video, just like the Resource, has been produced to dip in and out of as needed to allow you to pause, reflect and discuss each dimension with colleagues and peers, including what it means to you, educators and your service community.

You may like to watch the videos individually, with your team of educators, the approved provider or within your professional sector or educational leader networks or associations. We encourage you to take your time as you watch the videos, listen to the stories and pause and reflect on the role of educational leader within your service and the sector.

This user-friendly free resource is available on our Educational Leadership page. The page also contains details of how to purchase a hard copy folder version of the Resource. To watch the videos, go to the Educational Leadership page on our website or the ACECQA YouTube channel.


SkillsIQ training package review – public consultation extended until 30 April

SkillsIQ logo

The Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) has commissioned SkillsIQ to review six children’s education and care qualifications. The Draft 2 training package material for these qualifications is currently available for public consultation.

As part of this review, SkillsIQ have also developed a Certificate II in Children’s Education Services. This qualification will not qualify graduates to work in early childhood settings under the National Quality Framework. Draft 1 material for this qualification is also available for public consultation.

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 Tuesday 30 April 2019. Full details on the revised qualifications, including the online feedback forum, is available on the SkillsIQ website.  


Vocational education and training review

Colourful pencils on table

In November 2018, the Prime Minister announced an independent review of Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) sector. The review focused on how the Australian Government’s investment in VET could be more effective to provide Australians with the skills they need to be successful throughout their working life. The review was led by the Honourable Steven Joyce and received 192 submissions, of which 144 have been published. These submissions, including ACECQA’s submission, are available on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website.

The final report from the review, Strengthening Skills: Expert Review of Australia’s Vocational Education and Training System, was delivered to the Australian Government in March 2019. The report includes 71 recommendations, structured around a six point plan for change. The six points are:

  • strengthening quality assurance
  • speeding up qualification development
  • simpler funding and skills matching
  • better careers information
  • clearer secondary school pathways
  • greater access for disadvantaged Australians.

Early this month, the Australian Government released its Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow package in response to the recommendations of the review.


2018 Australian Early Development Census results

Child at Goodstart Learning with a carer

Results of the 2018 Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) were recently released. The AEDC collects data on children’s wellbeing from more than 300,000 children in their first year of full time school.

Findings from the 2018 AEDC National Report include:

  • over 308,000 children were assessed, representing more than 96% of eligible children
  • one in five children were developmentally vulnerable in one or more domains in 2018
  • Indigenous developmental vulnerability has steadily decreased from 47% in 2009 to 41% in 2018.

There are 549 detailed community profiles that contain information about early childhood development outcomes and contextual information for local communities. You might consider using these community profiles to inform your practice and planning, particularly in relation to Quality Area 5 (Relationships with children) and Quality Area 6 (Collaborative partnerships with families and communities) of the National Quality Standard.

To find out more, visit the AEDC website.


World Creativity and Innovation Week 

Boy playing with blocks

'You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.' – Maya Angelou

This week (15–21 April) is World Creativity and Innovation Week, and is a good opportunity to think about how your services and educators create spaces for children to explore their creativity, develop their social, emotional and physical skills and engage in innovative activities.

Educators can support children’s creative thinking and development by providing them with time and resources to engage in active play. By having long periods to play, children can develop their innovative skills, test their thinking and ideas, make mistakes and solve problems. When you meaningfully enable, praise and support children’s creative play through solitary, parallel and group activities, you develop their confidence and their sense of identity (Standard 5.1). When children feel safe to be creative, they test their understanding of how the world functions and become confident to assess and take appropriate risks and try new things. They become more engaged in creativity, exploring and learning.

Educators have an important role in facilitating and extending each child’s learning and development. When you respond to children’s ideas, innovate creative play and extend their learning through meaningful interactions, open-ended questions, challenges and feedback, you are supporting their learning and development.

This week is a good time to think about how you and your team can revisit your service’s program and environment, consider how you support creative play and activities, and how you might include more inquiry and play-based learning. How can you play your part to encourage children’s creativity and innovative thinking?

Further reading and resources

ACECQA – Guide to the National Quality Framework

Cool Australia – How can educators and families nurture creativity in young children?

Early Childhood Australia (The Spoke) – Supporting children’s creativity

We Hear You – Making bubbles: Scientific research in early childhood settings


Starting Blocks resources

Happy girls painting

Our family focused website, Starting Blocks, has recently published a variety of free, downloadable resources for families.

These resources not only provide useful information for families to help them understand more about early childhood education and care services, but also offer tips on how children’s learning and development can be fostered at home.

The recently published resources focus on the following topics:

  1. Hygiene at child care – outlining hygiene methods used in education and care services, and how parents and families can help implement these methods at home.
  2. Dressing your child for child care – sharing factors to consider when helping children decide what to wear to education and care services.
  3. Developing children’s positive behaviour in child care – detailing ways families can help shape their child’s knowledge of positive behaviour in preparation for attendance at education and care services.

For more information and resources, visit the Starting Blocks website.