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Early Childhood Education and National Quality Standards

In 2008 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education was signed, reforming the delivery of early childhood education and care services through the provision of universal access to early childhood education (15 hours access per week by 2013).

In 2009 COAG agreed on new national standards for quality childcare, the National Quality Agenda The goal is to ensure that every child has access to quality care in a learning environment, whether it be in preschool or whilst at school. Also in 2009, the state government announced its Early Years Learning and Development Framework which advances children’s learning and development from birth to eight years.The impact of these changes at Annie Dennis means

  • improved staff to child ratios that ensures each child gets more individual care and attention, and
  • new staff qualification requirements which ensures staff have the skills to help children learn and develop.

The National Quality Standards (NQS) were rolled out in 2013 that will link our license with the National Quality Agenda. The Centre will need to meet the standards of National Quality Agenda by ensuring quality in child care in the following areas:

1. Educational program and practice
2. Children’s health and safety
3. Physical environment
4. Staffing arrangements (including the number of staff looking after children)
5. Relationships with children
6. Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
7. Leadership and service management

The staff has an important role in these changes. ‘Education program and practice’ requires staff to link children’s experience to the following Learning Outcomes under the Early Years Learning and Development Framework, which is part of the National Quality Agenda:

1. Identity
2. Community
3. Wellbeing
4. Learning
5. Communication

Implementation timelines are as follows

1 January 2012
Birth to 24 months: ratio of 1 staff member to 4 children

1 January 2013
Universal access to 15 hours of kinder/preschool, for 40 weeks per year in the year before school

1 January 2014
An early childhood teacher will need to be in attendance all of the time when long day care and preschool services are being provided to 25 children or more

Within each long day care centre or preschool, half of all staff will need to (or to be actively working towards) a diploma-level early childhood education care qualification or above, and the remaining staff will all be required to have (or be actively working towards) a Certificate III level early childhood education and care qualification, or equivalent.

1 January 2016
25 to 35 months: ratio 1 staff member to 5 children

1 January 2016
36 months to school age: ratio 1 staff member to 11 children

1 January 2020
A second early childhood teacher, or another suitably qualified leader, will need to be in attendance all of the time when long day care and preschool services are being provided to more than 80 children.

For information on changes to the early childhood education over the next 9 years, visit the MyChild website, Use the Early Childhood Agenda menu to navigate your way through the changes.