Quality Area 3 – Physical environment


The aim of Quality Area 3 under the National Quality Standard is to ensure that the physical environment is safe, suitable and provides a rich and diverse range of experiences that promote children’s learning and development.

The way that the environment is designed, equipped and organised determines the way that the space and resources are used and has the potential to maximise children’s engagement and level of positive experience and inclusive relationships.

Physical environment

Standard 3.1 Design The design of the facilities is appropriate for the operation of a service.
Element 3.1.1 Fit for purpose Outdoor and indoor spaces, buildings, fixtures and fittings are suitable for their purpose, including supporting the access of every child.
Element 3.1.2 Upkeep Premises, furniture and equipment are safe, clean and well maintained.
Standard 3.2 Use The service environment is inclusive, promotes competence and supports exploration and play-based learning.
Element 3.2.1 Inclusive environment Outdoor and indoor spaces are organised and adapted to support every child's participation and to engage every child in quality experiences in both built and natural environments.
Element 3.2.2 Resources support play-based learning Resources, materials and equipment allow for multiple uses, are sufficient in number, and enable every child to engage in play-based learning.
Element 3.2.3 Environmentally responsible The service cares for the environment and supports children to become environmentally responsible.


ACECQA We Hear You blog: Physical environment
ACECQA We Hear You blog: Supporting indoor and outdoor play
Indoor and outdoor environment
Ideas to actions - Environment makeover
Standards Australia
ACECQA Information sheet: Quality Area 3 - Keeping pets in education and care services
ECA - Natural play in your environment
Greening services: practical sustainability


ACECQA We Hear You blog: Demystifying sustainability
ACECQA We Hear You blog: A green thumbs up to sustainable programs
ACECQA We Hear You blog: Taking an active role in the environment and promoting a sustainable future
Creating welcoming and inclusive spaces for all children
What are the consequences of limited play?
EYLF PLP - Spaces for children
Connecting with young children and nature
Talking about practice - environments for belonging, being and becoming
EYLF PLP - An environment for learning
EYLF PLP Indoor learning spaces
Create the perfect play space: Learning environments for young children
ACECQA Information sheet: Quality Area 3 -The environment as the third teacher
ACECQA Information sheet: Quality Area 3 - Babies and outdoor play
Which bin does this belong in? Pages 12- 14
NQS PLP Opportunities for learning in natural spaces
Building sustainability from the start
Talking about practice: embedding sustainable practices
Sustainability resources
Nature benefits for children
More than just a vegie patch: sustainability and sustainable practices in early childhood education
Sustainability and intentional teaching in early childhood