The National Quality Standard (NQS)
The NQS is the measurement system for education and care services.
It sets a high national benchmark for early childhood education and care and outside school hours care services in Australia.
It is part of the NQF.
Its role is to provide services with a clear set of guidelines showing how they are to meet an expected level of quality.
Services are assessed and rated by their regulatory authority against the NQS, and given a rating for each of the 7 quality areas and an overall rating based on these results.
The NQS includes seven quality areas relating to different aspects of education and care:
Quality area 1: Educational program and practice
- Guides you to understand development and learning, and use this information effectively
- Relevant to:
- programming / curriculum policy
Standard 1.1 Program
The educational program enhances each child’s learning and development.
|Element 1.1.1||Approved learning framework||Curriculum decision-making contributes to each child’s learning and development outcomes in relation to their identity, connection with community, wellbeing, confidence as learners and effectiveness as communicators.|
|Element 1.1.2||Child-centred||Each child’s current knowledge, strengths, ideas, culture, abilities and interests are the foundation of the program.|
|Element 1.1.3||Program learning opportunities||All aspects of the program, including routines, are organised in ways that maximise opportunities for each child’s learning.|
Standard 1.2 Practice
Educators facilitate and extend each child’s learning and development.
|Element 1.2.1||Intentional teaching||Educators are deliberate, purposeful, and thoughtful in their decisions and actions.|
|Element 1.2.2||Responsive teaching and scaffolding||Educators respond to children’s ideas and play and extend children’s learning through open-ended questions, interactions and feedback.|
|Element 1.2.3||Child directed learning||Each child’s agency is promoted, enabling them to make choices and decisions that influence events and their world.|
Standard 1.3 Assessment and planning
Educators and co-ordinators take a planned and reflective approach to implementing the program for each child.
|Element 1.3.1||Assessment and planning cycle||Each child’s learning and development is assessed or evaluated as part of an ongoing cycle of observation, analysing learning, documentation, planning, implementation and reflection.|
|Element 1.3.2||Critical reflection||Critical reflection on children’s learning and development, both as individuals and in groups, drives program planning and implementation.|
|Element 1.3.3||Information for families||Families are informed about the program and their child’s progress.|
Educational program and practice of educators are child-centred, stimulating and maximise opportunities for enhancing and extending each child’s learning and development.
The aim is to ensure that the educational program and practice is stimulating and engaging, and enhances children’s learning and development.
In school age care services, the program nurtures the development of life skills and complements children’s experiences, opportunities and relationships at school, at home and in the community.
It informs educators to implement intentional and responsive teaching practices balanced with child directed learning.
It also draws attention to the importance of engaging in critical reflection to drive program planning and the assessment and planning cycle.
Quality area 2: Children’s health and safety
- Supports you to make sure children’s basic needs are met (diet, sleep, rest, relaxation, illness, injuries, need for protection against abuse or neglect)
- Relevant to:
- supervision policy
Standard 2.1 Health
Each child’s health and physical activity is supported and promoted.
|Element 2.1.1||Wellbeing and comfort||Each child’s wellbeing and comfort is provided for, including appropriate opportunities to meet each child’s need for sleep, rest and relaxation.|
|Element 2.1.2||Health practices and procedures||Effective illness and injury management and hygiene practices are promoted and implemented.|
|Element 2.1.3||Healthy lifestyle||Healthy eating and physical activity are promoted and appropriate for each child.|
Standard 2.2 Safety
Each child is protected.
|Element 2.2.1||Supervision||At all times, reasonable precautions and adequate supervision ensure children are protected from harm and hazard|
|Element 2.2.2||Incident and emergency management||Plans to effectively manage incidents and emergencies are developed in consultation with relevant authorities, practised and implemented|
|Element 2.2.3||Child protection||Management, educators and staff are aware of their roles and responsibilities to identify and respond to every child at risk of abuse or neglect.|
Children have the right to experience quality education and care in an environment that safeguards and promotes their health, safety and wellbeing.
The aim is to safeguard and promote children’s health and safety, minimise risks and protect children from harm, injury and infection.
All children have the right to experience quality education and care in an environment that provides for their physical and psychological wellbeing and provides support for each child’s growing competence, confidence and independence.
Quality area 3: Physical environment
- How to set up and maintain an environment, resources and materials that are suited to children’s developmental needs and are adapted to the individual development of each child
- Relevant to:
- inclusive environment policy
- environment policy
- play-based learning policy
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.|
Physical environment is safe, suitable and provides a rich and diverse range of experiences that promote children’s learning and development.
The aim 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.
Quality area 4: Staffing arrangements
Standard 4.1 Staffing arrangements
Staffing arrangements enhance children’s learning and development.
|Element 4.1.1||Organisation of educators||The organisation of educators across the service supports children’s learning and development.|
|Element 4.1.2||Continuity of staff||Every effort is made for children to experience continuity of educators at the service.|
Standard 4.2 Professionalism
Management, educators and staff are collaborative, respectful and ethical.
|Element 4.2.1||Professional collaboration||Management, educators and staff work with mutual respect and collaboratively, and challenge and learn from each other, recognising each other’s strengths and skills.|
|Element 4.2.2||Professional standards||Professional standards guide practice, interactions and relationships.|
Qualified and experienced educators, who develop warm, respectful relationships with children, create predictable environments and encourage children’s active engagement in the learning program.
The aim 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.
Quality area 5: Relationships with children
- How to interact with and show respect for children
- Work with children and help them develop strong communication skills
- Relevant to:
- behaviour guidance policy
Standard 5.1 Relationships between educators and children
Respectful and equitable relationships are maintained with each child.
|Element 5.1.1||Positive educator to child interactions||Responsive and meaningful interactions build trusting relationships which engage and support each child to feel secure, confident and included.|
|Element 5.1.2||Dignity and rights of the child||The dignity and rights of every child are maintained.|
Standard 5.2 Relationships between children
Each child is supported to build and maintain sensitive and responsive relationships
|Element 5.2.1||Collaborative learning||Children are supported to collaborate, learn from and help each other.|
|Element 5.2.2||Self-regulation||Each child is supported to regulate their own behaviour, respond appropriately to the behaviour of others and communicate effectively to resolve conflicts.|
Relationships with children are responsive, respectful and promote children’s sense of security and belonging.
Quality area 6: Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
Standard 6.1 Supportive relationships with families
Respectful relationships with families are developed and maintained and families are supported in their parenting role.
|Element 6.1.1||Engagement with the service||Families are supported from enrolment to be involved in the service and contribute to service decisions.|
|Element 6.1.2||Parent views are respected||The expertise, culture, values and beliefs of families are respected and families share in decision-making about their child’s learning and wellbeing.|
|Element 6.1.3||Families are supported||Current information is available to families about the service and relevant community services and resources to support parenting and family wellbeing.|
Standard 6.2 Collaborative partnerships
Collaborative partnerships enhance children’s inclusion, learning and wellbeing.
|Element 6.2.1||Transitions||Continuity of learning and transitions for each child are supported by sharing information and clarifying responsibilities.|
|Element 6.2.2||Access and participation||Effective partnerships support children’s access, inclusion and participation in the program.|
|Element 6.2.3||Community engagement||The service builds relationships and engages with its community.|
The aim 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.
Collaborative relationships with families are fundamental to achieving quality outcomes for children, and community partnerships based on active communication, consultation and collaboration are essential.
Quality area 7: Governance and leadership
Standard 7.1 Governance
Governance supports the operation of a quality service.
|Element 7.1.1||Service philosophy and purpose||A statement of philosophy guides all aspects of the service’s operations.|
|Element 7.1.2||Management Systems||Systems are in place to manage risk and enable the effective management and operation of a quality service.|
|Element 7.1.3||Roles and responsibilities||Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, and understood, and support effective decision making and operation of the service.|
Standard 7.2 Leadership
Effective leadership builds and promotes a positive organisational culture and professional learning community.
|Element 7.2.1||Continuous improvement||There is an effective self-assessment and quality improvement process in place.|
|Element 7.2.2||Educational leadership||The educational leader is supported and leads the development and implementation of the educational program and assessment and planning cycle.|
|Element 7.2.3||Development of professionals||Educators, co-ordinators and staff members’ performance is regularly evaluated and individual plans are in place to support learning and development.|
Effective leadership and governance of the service contributes to quality environments for children’s learning and development. Effective leaders establish shared values for the service and set clear direction for the service’s continuous improvement.
The aim 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.