The National Quality Standard (NQS) is the benchmark of Early Childhood Education and Care in Australia and is part of the National Quality Framework (NQF).
The NQS aims to promote the safety, health and wellbeing of children. The core focus is to help achieve positive outcomes for children through high-quality educational programs. It is extremely important for childcares to set this high national benchmark for early childhood education, care and outside school hours care services in Australia.
The National Quality Standard (NQS) consists of seven quality areas that education and care services for children are assessed and rated against.
These are the seven quality areas covered by the NQS:
Educational program and practice
Children’s health and safety
Relationships with children
Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
Leadership and service management
Here’s a breakdown on each of the quality areas:
1. Educational program and practice
The aim of this first quality area is to ensure that the educational program and practice is stimulating, engaging, and enhances children’s learning and development.
In school age care services, the program needs to nurture the development of life skills and complement children’s experiences, opportunities and relationships at school, at home and in the community.
2. Children’s health and safety
The aim of this quality area is to safeguard and promote children’s health and safety, minimise risks and protect children from harm, injury and infection.
It is very important that all children have the right to experience quality education and care in an environment that provides for their physical and psychological wellbeing. NQS aims to provide support for each child’s growing competence, confidence and independence.
3. Physical environment
It is important to ensure that the physical environment of any childcare 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.
4. Staffing arrangements
The main goal for this quality area is to ensure the provision of qualified and experienced educators, coordinators and nominated supervisors who are able to develop warm, respectful relationships with children, create safe and predictable environments and encourage children’s active engagement in the learning program.
5. Relationships with children
Now let’s focus on the need to promote relationships with children that are responsive, respectful and promote children’s sense of security and belonging.
Relationships of this kind free children to explore the environment and engage in play and learning.
6. Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
The aim of Quality Area 6 under the National Quality Standard is to recognise that collaborative relationships with families are fundamental to achieving quality outcomes for children and that community partnerships that are based on active communication, consultation and collaboration are also essential.
7. Governance and leadership
The last Quality Area is to support effective leadership and management of the service that contributes to quality environments for children’s learning and development.
Well-documented policies and procedures, well-maintained records, shared values, clear direction and reflective practices enable the service to function as a learning community.
An ongoing cycle of planning and review, including engagement with families, creates a setting for continuous improvement.
At the Help2Group, we help your childcare adhere to these standards. If you’d like to find out more information about the NQS, visit ACECQA's website or get in touch with one of our whs consultants today.