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.


Quality Area 3 resources:


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

Little Green Steps case study

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 Outdoor learning spaces

EYLF PLP - Spaces for children

Connecting with young children and nature

Talking about practice - environments for belonging, being and becoming

The physical environment and children's wellbeing

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

Environment makeover

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