ACECQA Newsletter Issue 5 2015
- providing plants and other vegetation – involving children in the planting and care of indoor and outdoor plants and gardens; planning activities which support their knowledge about the benefits and uses of different herbs, fruits, vegetables and plant species
- introducing activities which allow children to interact with the natural environment through imaginary play, such as materials that can be used in many ways, mud cooking, camping and nature exploration
- supporting children to assess and take appropriate risks through natural play experiences, such as stepping stones or tree climbing
- cooking and eating outdoors
- using natural materials as resources to support learning – for storytelling, balancing, counting, matching and in craft activities
- exploring how things work through science experiments with natural materials, such as exploring wind power as an energy source.
It is common practice for many centre–based services to group children of mixed ages together at the beginning and end of each day. It provides services with flexibility during quieter periods, and creates opportunities for younger and older children to interact. Some services also offer ‘family grouping’ of children.
If your service operates mixed age groups of children at times, you still need to meet the minimum number of educators required under the ratios. When educating and caring for children of mixed age groups, consideration needs to be given to children’s health, safety and wellbeing. At all times adequate supervision must be considered and maintained.
To calculate the educator-to-child ratio for a mixed age group of children in centre-based care, ensure that the ratio is met for the youngest children in the group first (see the example outlined in table 1).
Table 1: Educator to child ratio calculation example
Please note the below calculations are based on the national ratios and may vary across jurisdictions due to transitional and savings provisions.
Figure 1: Mixed age group ratios in practice
This month we look at the records services need to keep around staffing and operations, such as a service’s Quality Improvement Plan, details of staff working at the service and the staff member in day-to-day charge.
For a list of required records, download one of our handy guides:
- Staff and operations record keeping for centre-based services
- Staff and operations record keeping for family day care services
- Keeping children’s records
- 14 827 children’s education and care services operate under the NQF across Australia
- 34 per cent of services are rated as Working Towards NQS
- 66 per cent of services are rated as Exceeding or Meeting NQS
- 33 services are rated Excellent by ACECQA.