ACECQA Newsletter Issue 2 2016

Thursday 18 February, 2016


Giving children a voice in their community

Michelle Gujer, Manager of Docklands Children’s Program and Georgie Meyer, Melbourne Museum’s Education and Community Program Manager, share a rewarding project showcasing children’s sense of agency and partnerships with their community. Read more on We Hear You


Planning cultural activities in your service? 

Are you starting to think about planning activities and experiences to celebrate upcoming cultural activities, such as Harmony Day, Holi and Easter, with children, families and educators at your service?

To include cultural activities authentically within the learning environment, it is important to design open-ended activities with children. Educators might provide a range of materials for children to use as they choose, with time to explore and create something to share at home.

Be sure to reflect on what children are learning from the activities and experiences offered. How do they support children’s creativity and agency, and their understanding of the celebration within their culture? Consider this when planning and, if you would typically think about choosing templates and stencils, it is a great opportunity to reflect on whether they provide opportunities for children to be creative and express their ideas, in line with element 1.1.1 of the National Quality Standard.

Consider ways to support and extend children’s thinking and learning about this celebration through open, reflective discussions. Educators can share the creative process with families through photographs and celebrating the different outcomes for children.

In making curriculum decisions about celebrations such as Easter, educators also need to ensure they are respectful of the cultures, beliefs and values of the children, families and educators at their service. Anne Stonehouse’s Celebration, holidays and special occasions resource sheet has tips to ensure that 'special occasions are celebrated in ways that recognise, respect and strengthen children’s appreciation of diversity and difference'.

Other resources that might assist are Early Childhood Australia’s Nurturing creativity, promoting independence and agency and Becoming culturally competent information sheets. Anne Stonehouse has also developed a resource sheet on Creative play in art and craft.


Calendar for days of cultural significance 

The multicultural calendar from Embrace Culture in Kindy highlights days of cultural significance.

It provides advice and resources to help services create experiences that promote diversity, as well as build relationships with culturally and linguistically diverse children and families.

 


National Workshops to visit NT and Queensland

Dates and locations for ACECQA’s 2015-16 National Workshops are confirmed for the Northern Territory and Queensland.

Sessions will take place in:

  • Alice Springs, Darwin and Gove in the Northern Territory from 29 February to 3 March focussing on educational leadership.
  • Brisbane, Bundaberg, Caboolture, Cairns, Gladstone, Gold Coast, Gympie, Ipswich, Logan, Mount Isa, Rockhampton, Toowoomba and Townsville in Queensland from 7-21 March on agency of the child.

Book your place on ACECQA’s National Workshops page.

Details are being finalised for sessions in NSW, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. The ACT and Western Australian workshops have been held.


Review of training providers

Since the release of the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) report on early childhood education and care providers last year, ASQA has continued to make the regulation of registered training organisations offering early childhood education and care training a high priority.

The review found almost 90 per cent of training providers offering qualifications in early childhood education and care were able to demonstrate compliance with the required national standards by the end of the audit process.

In their report, ASQA made 10 recommendations to address issues identified, including the inclusion of minimum training requirements for each unit of competency and qualification across the vocational education and training sector. ASQA is working with stakeholders, including ACECQA, to implement these recommendations.

ASQA continues to target poor-quality training providers and remove them from the sector.

Visit the ASQA website for more information.


Discussion paper on quality of assessment in vocational training 

A discussion paper has been released by the Australian Government inviting feedback on how to improve the quality of assessment in vocational training.

Learn how to participate in the consultation process here, consultation closes on Friday 11 March 2016. 

 

 


NQF continues to set a higher benchmark for children's education and care

Nearly 75 per cent of children’s education and care services have received a quality rating under the National Quality Framework (NQF) according to ACECQA's latest Snapshot report.

ACECQA Chief Executive Officer Karen Curtis said since assessment and rating began in 2012, the NQF has set a higher benchmark for children’s education and care services.

“The national assessment and rating system raises the bar on quality and continuous improvement, and services are making good progress in meeting standards that are more rigorous,” Ms Curtis said.

“In this edition of the Snapshot, ACECQA is able to provide more transparency around the performance of service types and by the classification of providers that manage these services. This level of detail will help drive improvement in our sector as the NQF continues to be implemented across the country.

“When we look at quality ratings by service sub-type, 85 per cent of preschool/kindergartens have been rated as Meeting or Exceeding, compared with 65 per cent of long day care and 61 per cent of outside school hours care services.

“And when we look at quality ratings by provider management type, 85 per cent of ‘State/Territory and Local Government managed’ services have been rated as Meeting or Exceeding, compared with 60 per cent of ‘Private for profit’ managed services,” Ms Curtis said.

These differences are not unexpected as they reflect a range of contextual factors, such as the service profile of these provider types, including the historical levels of government investment, staffing qualifications and regulatory oversight of different types of service.

Other highlights from the Snapshot include:

  • 15,166 children’s education and care services operating across Australia
  • 74 per cent of these (11,261) have received a quality rating, an increase of 47 per cent over the past 12 months
  • 44 services have been rated as Excellent by ACECQA

Download the NQF Snapshot.


Professional recognition for NSW early childhood teachers

Early childhood teachers in NSW will need to provide the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) with evidence of their ACECQA approved or recognised qualification and a current Working with Children Check clearance before 18 July 2016 to meet new compulsory accreditation requirements.

Accreditation recognises the professional standing of early childhood teachers in the community and will see early childhood teachers recognised as teaching professionals alongside NSW school teachers.

BOSTES will send information packs to all NSW based services in the coming weeks, inviting early childhood teachers to register for accreditation. Visit the BOSTES website for more information.


Benefits of intergenerational programs

A report by the International Specialised Skills Institute (ISSI) identified the benefits of shared site intergenerational programs in early education.

Researchers looked at sites where different generations share facilities, for example where children attend a preschool located on the same site as an aged care centre, and found that both groups benefit from sharing spaces.

The study highlighted increased literacy, social acceptance and life skills as the benefits to children while seniors involved in the program showed improvements in mood, mobility and interaction skills.

Read the full report, including interviews with educators who were part of the study, on the ISSI website.

You can also learn more about a similar program on ACECQA’s We Hear You Blog.

 


Nominations open for Australian Family Early Education & Care Awards

If you know an early childhood practitioner who is providing outstanding education and care to young children, you can nominate them for the 2016 Australian Family Early Education & Care Awards. The awards support the continuous improvement of early childhood education in Australia by recognising and awarding exceptional educational practice.

Nominations are open until 13 March.