Fundamental to the Framework is a view of children’s lives as characterised by belonging, being and becoming. From before birth children are connected to family, community, culture and place. Their earliest development and learning takes place through these relationships, particularly within families, who are children’s first and most influential educators. As children participate in everyday life, they develop interests and construct their own identities and understandings of the world.
On 1 January 2012 the National Quality Framework replaced existing state and territory licensing and national quality assurance processes.
The National Quality Framework, which is governed by the new national body the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA), includes:
- the national legislative framework that consists of the Education and Care Services National Law and Education and Care Services National Regulations
- the National Quality Standard
- a national quality rating and assessment process
- a regulatory authority in each state and territory that will have primary responsibility for the approval, monitoring and quality assessment of services in its jurisdiction in accordance with the national legislative framework and in relation to the National Quality Standard
- ACECQA itself
The National Quality Standard
The National Quality Standard sets a new national benchmark for the quality of children’s education and care services. It will also give services and families a better understanding of a quality service. This enables families to make informed decisions about the services providing education and care to their child. The National Quality Standard is a key aspect of the National Quality Framework.
The National Quality Standard was informed by research about best practice and the way in which high-quality education and care contributes to positive outcomes for children. It comprises quality areas, standards and elements.
The seven quality areas in the National Quality Standard
- Educational program and practice
- Children’s health and safety
- Physical environment
- Staffing arrangements
- Relationships with children
- Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
- Leadership and service management
The National Quality Standard is linked to the Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework and the My Time, Our Place - Framework for School Age Care in Australia. Australia’s first national framework aims to extend and enrich children’s learning from birth to school age care.
The five learning outcomes
The five Learning Outcomes are designed to capture the integrated and complex learning and development of all children across birth to school age care. The outcomes are:
- Children have a strong sense of identity.
- Children are connected with and contribute to their world.
- Children have a strong sense of wellbeing.
- Children are confident and involved learners.
- Children are effective communicators.