ACECQA Newsletter Issue 11 2015

Thursday 19 November, 2015

Run your own workshop using ACECQA's new webcast

Following the success of ACECQA’s National Workshops we have developed a webcast for services to use as part of their professional development activities. Presented by ACECQA’s National Education Leader, Rhonda Livingstone, the webcast focuses on Quality Area 1: Educational Program and Practice. It is designed to support educators who attended a workshop and would like to run the session at their service, as well as give insight into the workshop structure for those who could not attend.

The webcast runs for 15 minutes and includes the accompanying workbooks and resources.


Educator qualification requirements

ACECQA’s enquiries team is often asked whether all educators working in centre-based services must have, or be working towards, a diploma by 2016 to be counted towards ratios.

There are no changes planned to require all educators counted towards ratios to have or be working towards an approved diploma qualification.

In centre-based services, half of all educators educating and caring for children preschool age and under required to meet the educator to child ratios must have, or be actively working towards, an approved diploma-level qualification or higher. All other educators required for the ratio, must have, or be actively working towards, at least an approved certificate III level qualification.

Some providers encourage all educators to have, or be working towards, an approved diploma level qualification. This is not mandated by the National Regulations and is at the discretion of individual providers.

If you have a question you would like answered, let us know on Facebook.


What to do if a serious incident happens at your service 

Despite the best intentions and planning, incidents of a serious nature sometimes occur. Education and care services are required to notify their regulatory authority of any incidents that seriously compromise the health, safety or wellbeing of children.

The first step in the process is to determine whether or not the incident is considered serious. The Education and Care Services National Regulations define a serious incident as one that involves any of the following:

  • serious injury, trauma or illness of a child, where urgent medical or hospital attention is required (or where a child ought reasonably to have attended a hospital)
  • the attendance of emergency services at the education and care service premises (or ought reasonably to have been sought) or
  • the death of a child, while being educated and cared for by a service or following an incident at a service.

A serious incident is also any circumstance where a child being educated and cared for by a service:

  • appears to be missing or cannot be accounted for
  • appears to have been taken or removed from the education and care service premises in a manner that contravenes the National Regulations
  • is mistakenly locked in or locked out of the education and care service premises or any part of the premises.

You must notify your regulatory authority within 24 hours of becoming aware of a serious incident by completing the form SI01 Notification of Serious Incident. If you are unsure if an injury, trauma or illness is a ‘serious incident’, contact your regulatory authority.

On some occasions, it may be some time after the incident that it becomes apparent it was serious. If this occurs, you will need to notify the regulatory authority within 24 hours of becoming aware that the incident was serious.

The serious incident form was updated earlier this month to capture what steps were taken (or will be taken) to prevent or minimise the incident in future. If you have printed copies of the form at your service, please ensure these are replaced with the updated version.


New data highlights emerging trends in early childhood education and care services

Nearly 70 per cent of children’s education and care services across Australia have received a quality rating, according to the latest National Quality Framework (NQF) Snapshot report released earlier this month.

ACECQA’s Board Chair, Rachel Hunter, said the significant increase in the past year of assessed and rated services means it is now possible to begin breaking the data down further to look for emerging trends.

“For the first time this Snapshot included the distribution of ratings by specific service type, previously captured under centre-based services, as well as a broad profile of the sector by provider management type,” Ms Hunter said.

“Overall, centre-based services, which include preschools/kindergartens, long day care and outside school hours care services, account for 93 per cent of all approved education and care services operating across Australia, with family day care services accounting for the remaining seven per cent.

“When we look nationally at the specific service types that have been rated to date, half are long day care services, just under a quarter are preschools/kindergartens or outside school hours care services, and the remaining four per cent are family day care services.

The Snapshot shows how the different service types are tracking against the National Quality Standard (NQS). The following proportions of services are Meeting or Exceeding the NQS:

  • 85% of preschool/kindergarten services
  • 63% of long day care services
  • 60% of outside school hours care services
  • 52% of family day care services.

Download the NQF Snapshot.


Improved ratios to start 1 January 2016

A reminder that improved educator to child ratios start 1 January 2016 for services in the ACT, NSW, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.

There are no changes in Tasmania and Western Australia where the ratios are already in place.

 

New ratios apply for:

  • children older than 24 months and younger than 36 months at centre-based services in NSW, Queensland and South Australia
  • children older than 36 months up to and including preschool age for all centre-based services in Queensland and Victoria
  • preschools in ACT, Northern Territory and South Australia
  • family day care services in Queensland.

For a summary of each jurisdiction’s ratio requirements and detailed information sheets see our ratios page.


A journey of embedding culturally inclusive practice

Building cultural competence and embedding inclusive practice is a focus for early education services and an important part of the Early Years Learning Framework.

Allison Sullings, Senior Manager Children’s Programs at Belconnen Community Service, writes about her journey on this path for ACECQA’s We Hear You blog. Hear from Allison about how her service furthered their understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and incorporated this into their education program.

Read more on We Hear You.


Play-based learning and intentional teaching

The Early Years Learning Framework describes play-based learning as a context through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds as they engage actively with people, objects and representations. So how can educators balance this with intentional teaching or intentionality?

Intentional educators engage with children through the contexts of play, real-life engagements and routines. They critically reflect and plan to support and extend learning, and are purposeful, deliberate and thoughtful in their practice. Intentional teaching is different from directing children towards specific learning in a structured environment, as practices are embedded in the decision making process of educators as they plan and organise the physical learning environment.

Quality Area 1 Educational program and practice, standard 1.2 advocates that educators design and deliver a program for each child. At the element level, this includes responding to children’s ideas and play while intentionally scaffolding and extending their learning.

Educators using intentional teaching achieve this by creating an environment where children can ask questions, solve problems and engage in critical thinking. This extends and adds value to play by providing opportunities to learn as children discover, create, improvise and imagine. Intentional educators support the emergent curriculum and children’s agency by being sensitive to the way children are already structuring their activity and interacting with their peers.

My Time Our Place defines intentionality as educators who recognise that learning occurs in social contexts, and that interactions and conversations are important for learning. Educators who engage in intentional actions actively promote children’s learning through meaningful and challenging experiences and interactions that extend or affirm learning.

As part of the E4Kids research, Professor Collette Tayler from the University of Melbourne (and Deputy Chair of the ACECQA Board) found that Within play-based approaches to supporting children’s learning, there is good evidence that ‘intentional teaching’ can make a major contribution to the learning and development of the child. Intentional teaching requires the adult to be aware of the individual child’s understanding and capabilities and then to ‘nudge’ them to extend their knowledge and skills”.


2015-16 National Workshops

Thank you to everyone who joined us in the ACT at the launch of our second series of National Workshops. The October session was attended by 100 educators and facilitated by ACECQA’s National Education Leader in partnership with the ACT regulatory authority and the ACT Professional Support Coordinator.

Workshops will take place in Western Australia in the week beginning 15 February and the Northern Territory in the week beginning 29 February.

Dates and locations for the remaining states and territories are being finalised and will be promoted through our Events page, social media and newsletter.