Element 4.2.1: Professional collaboration

Management, educators and staff work with mutual respect and collaboratively, and challenge and learn from each other, recognising each other’s strengths and skills.

What Element 4.2.1 aims to achieve

Professional collaboration involves working together cooperatively towards common goals. Collaboration is achieved through open communication, information sharing, joint planning and the development of common understandings and objectives (Framework for School Age Care, p.12).

In a collaborative environment, all staff are encouraged to respect and value the diverse contributions and viewpoints of their colleagues. Staff also share resources, provide constructive feedback, and work together respectfully and professionally to solve problems. Interactions between management, educators and staff are guided by Early Childhood Australia’s Code of Ethics (2016), the service’s code of conduct and the service philosophy. By collaborating effectively, service staff model successful working relationships for children.

A lively culture of professional inquiry is established when the educational leader, nominated supervisor, co-ordinators and educators are all contributing to continuous improvement at the service. In this setting, staff members can raise and debate issues including program quality, environment design, inclusion and equity, children’s wellbeing and working with families (Early Years Learning Framework, p. 13; Framework for School Age Care, p. 12). By drawing on each person’s diverse perspectives, skills, experiences and background, these discussions enhance the team and provide opportunities for educators to revise their practice and implement strategies for improvement. These discussions also provide educators with an opportunity to develop a shared understanding of how children learn and their role in supporting this, contributing to more effective and responsive programs for children.

Updating and maintaining educators’ knowledge is a joint responsibility of management and educators. This can be achieved through providing a range of professional development strategies that challenge and extend current thinking.

Assessment guide for meeting Element 4.2.1 (for all services)

Developing a culture of professional collaboration, recognition and continuous improvement


Assessors may observe:

  • positive working relationships within the service and an atmosphere of openness
  • new educators, co-ordinators and staff members being supported by other team members
  • educators, co-ordinators and staff members using strategies that assist casual and relief educators to feel a sense of belonging to the team and service
  • information about current recognised approaches and research on education and care is shared among management, educators and staff members
  • educators sharing their knowledge and discussing and reflecting on the needs of particular children and families
  • educators, co-ordinators and staff members:
    • sharing tasks and responsibilities
    • offering assistance to each other
    • responding promptly to support other team members in difficult situations
  • the educational leader, nominated supervisor, co-ordinators and educators:
    • working collaboratively to affirm and challenge their practice through supportive relationships with their colleagues
    • discussing and adopting inclusive practices and strategies that best support each child
    • demonstrating a commitment to learn more, regardless of their experience and current knowledge and skills.

Assessors may discuss:

  • the service’s approach to using particular strengths, talents and interests of individual educators
  • how educators acknowledge each other’s strengths and diverse knowledge and skills
  • how the educational leader, nominated supervisor, educators and co-ordinators openly reflect on all aspects of the service as a team
  • whether the service has regular team meetings, or similar opportunities, that include a cycle of inquiry that collaboratively affirms, challenges, supports and provides opportunities for educators and staff members to learn from each other, share new information and further develop the team’s skills
  • how educators and staff members are encouraged to support and mentor each other
  • how the approved provider, educational leader, nominated supervisor, co-ordinators and educators demonstrate that they are open to change and new possibilities
  • how the service ensures that all interactions, including grievance procedures, convey mutual respect, equity and recognition of each other’s strengths and skills
Centre-based services
  • the strategies the service has in place to facilitate communication and reflection between educators.


Assessors may sight:

  • evidence recorded in staff meeting minutes or reflective journals that demonstrates that the educational leader, nominated supervisor, co-ordinators and educators are engaging with their colleagues to reflect on practice, explore new possibilities and record outcomes that have resulted in improved practice so that children and families benefit
  • documented examples of projects or teamwork that recognises and builds on the diverse skills, knowledge and strengths of the team.