Exceeding NQS in Quality Area 1: Child-centred (Element 1.1.2)

We’ve read over 1,000 pages of ACEQA guides, case studies and content (in September 2023) and have used this information to provide practical steps you can take to attempt to get a rating of Exceeding NQS for your service. We also provide an example weekly schedule for improvement, reflective questions and insights from ACEQA case studies.

Want to use a user-friendly QIP template? See the templates we’ve created in Notion & Google Docs.

See QIP Template →

Practical Steps Towards an Exceeding NQS Rating in Quality Area 1: Element 1.1.2

Let’s delve deeper into the practical steps to achieve an Exceeding NQS Rating in Element 1.1.2:

Embedded in service operations (Theme 1)

Consistent Implementation:

  • Train all educators on the importance of a child-centred approach, ensuring everyone understands and values its significance.
  • Regularly review and update training materials to reflect the latest research and best practices in child-centred education.

Frequent Monitoring:

  • Schedule regular check-ins and observations to ensure that educators are consistently applying child-centred practices in their interactions and lesson plans.
  • Use tools like checklists or observation sheets to document and assess the frequency of child-centred practices.

Intentional Planning:

  • Design the curriculum with clear intentions to prioritize each child’s unique knowledge, strengths, ideas, culture, abilities, and interests.
  • Regularly review and adjust the curriculum based on feedback from educators, children, and families to ensure it remains relevant and engaging.

Informed by critical reflection (Theme 2)

Deep Analysis:

  • Encourage educators to go beyond surface-level evaluations. For instance, instead of just noting that a child enjoys a particular activity, delve into why they enjoy it and how it relates to their personal and cultural background.

Regular Reflection Sessions:

  • Organize regular team meetings where educators can share their observations, insights, and challenges. This collaborative approach can lead to richer insights and more effective strategies.

Continuous Improvement:

  • Use the insights from reflection sessions to make informed decisions about curriculum adjustments, teaching methods, and interactions with children.
  • Encourage educators to document their reflections and the subsequent changes they make in their approach. This documentation can be valuable during assessment and rating processes.

Shaped by meaningful engagement with families and/or the community (Theme 3)

Active Communication:

  • Establish open lines of communication with families. This could be through regular parent-teacher meetings, feedback forms, or informal chats at drop-off and pick-up times.

Community Involvement:

  • Organize events or workshops where families and community members can share their skills, knowledge, and cultural practices. This not only enriches the program but also fosters a sense of community and belonging.

Feedback Integration:

  • Actively seek feedback from children about their learning experiences. This can be done through discussions, suggestion boxes, or creative methods like drawing or storytelling.
  • Use the feedback from families and children to refine and enhance the educational program, ensuring it remains child-centred and relevant to the community it serves.

Promote Cultural Inclusivity:

  • Ensure that the curriculum and learning environment reflect the diverse cultures of the children in the service. This can be achieved by incorporating multicultural books, toys, and activities.
  • Celebrate cultural events and festivals, inviting families to share their traditions and customs.

By meticulously following and expanding upon these steps, and ensuring that they are deeply rooted in daily operations, your service can make significant strides towards achieving an Exceeding NQS rating in Element 1.1.2. Remember, the key is to keep the child at the center of all decisions and practices.

An Example Monthly Schedule

Ready to implement these practical steps in your service? Using the constraints of 4 hours per week to work on improvements, we’ve created an example schedule below.

Given the constraint of 4 hours per week, it’s essential to prioritize tasks that will have the most immediate and significant impact on achieving an Exceeding NQS rating in Element 1.1.2. Here’s a sample monthly schedule for an educator:

Week 1: Understanding and Planning

  • Hour 1: Research and Self-Education. Spend time understanding the requirements of Element 1.1.2 in-depth. Revisit the NQS documentation and any other relevant resources.
  • Hour 2: Self-Reflection. Reflect on current practices. Identify areas of strength and areas that need improvement in relation to child-centred practices.
  • Hours 3-4: Draft a Plan. Based on the reflection, draft a plan for the month, detailing specific actions and goals.

Week 2: Engagement and Communication

  • Hour 1: Engage with Families. Send out a survey or feedback form to families to understand more about each child’s knowledge, strengths, ideas, culture, abilities, and interests.
  • Hour 2: Analyze Feedback. Review the feedback from families to identify common themes and areas of focus.
  • Hours 3-4: Child Engagement. Spend time directly engaging with children, observing their interests, and noting their responses to various activities. This direct observation can provide valuable insights.

Week 3: Implementation and Adjustment

  • Hour 1: Curriculum Adjustment. Based on feedback and observations, make necessary adjustments to the curriculum to make it more child-centred.
  • Hour 2: Training and Resources. Research and gather resources or training materials that can help in implementing child-centred practices more effectively.
  • Hours 3-4: Practice and Observe. Implement some of the new strategies or activities and observe children’s responses. Take notes for further reflection.

Week 4: Reflection and Forward Planning

  • Hour 1: Team Meeting. If possible, organize a meeting with other educators to share insights, challenges, and successes. Collaborative reflection can lead to richer insights.
  • Hour 2: Documentation. Document all the changes made, observations noted, and feedback received. This will be valuable for future reference and for assessment processes.
  • Hours 3-4: Plan for Next Month. Based on the month’s experiences, draft a plan for the next month. Identify areas that need more focus and new strategies to try.

By following this schedule, the educator can systematically work towards improving their service in alignment with the requirements of Element 1.1.2. It’s essential to remain flexible and adjust the plan as needed based on observations and feedback.

Reflective Questions

Reflective questions are crucial for deepening understanding and enhancing practice. Here’s an exhaustive list of reflective questions tailored for Element 1.1.2:

Understanding the Child

  1. How do I ensure that I recognize and value each child’s unique knowledge, strengths, ideas, culture, abilities, and interests?
  2. In what ways do I actively seek to understand the diverse backgrounds and experiences of the children in my care?
  3. How do I ensure that children’s voices and choices are central to the educational program?

Engagement with Families

  1. How often do I engage with families to gather insights about their child’s interests, strengths, and needs?
  2. In what ways do I incorporate feedback from families into the educational program?
  3. How can I improve communication with families to better understand each child’s background and experiences?

Curriculum and Planning

  1. How does the current curriculum reflect the individual needs and interests of each child?
  2. What strategies do I use to adjust the curriculum based on daily observations and interactions with children?
  3. How do I ensure that the learning environment is flexible and responsive to children’s emerging interests?

Observation and Assessment

  1. How do I document my observations of children’s play, interactions, and learning experiences?
  2. How do these observations inform my planning and decision-making?
  3. Are there any biases in my observations, and how can I address them?

Collaboration and Teamwork

  1. How do I collaborate with other educators to ensure a consistent and cohesive child-centred approach?
  2. In what ways do I share my insights and reflections with the broader team?
  3. How do we, as a team, ensure that our practices are consistently child-centred across different settings and situations?

Continuous Improvement

  1. What strategies have been most effective in promoting a child-centred approach, and why?
  2. Are there any challenges or barriers to implementing a child-centred approach, and how can they be addressed?
  3. How do I stay updated with the latest research and best practices related to child-centred education?

Community Engagement

  1. How do I engage with the broader community to enrich the educational program?
  2. In what ways do I incorporate community resources, events, and experiences into the curriculum?
  3. How do I ensure that the educational program reflects the diverse cultures and languages of the community?

Self-awareness and Professional Growth

  1. How do my personal beliefs, values, and experiences influence my approach to child-centred education?
  2. What professional development opportunities can further enhance my understanding and implementation of a child-centred approach?
  3. How do I ensure that I am continually growing and evolving in my role as an educator?

By regularly reflecting on these questions, educators can gain deeper insights into their practices, identify areas for improvement, and ensure that their approach is genuinely child-centred.

Learning from ACEQA case studies

Case Study 1 Description: An inner-city Council manages a family day care service with educators located across various suburbs. The service emphasizes aligning with its philosophy and approach, ensuring comprehensive induction training, communication with families, and regular team meetings. The service also values the inclusion of diverse cultural backgrounds and engages in critical reflection to ensure meaningful practices.

Top 5 Practical Steps from Case Study 1

Deep Knowledge of Each Child

  • Reason: Educators draw on their knowledge of children, gained through information provided by families and ongoing conversations, to understand each child deeply.
  • Tips: Regularly update children’s profiles, maintain open communication with families, and use tools like two-way notebooks.
  • Estimated Time: 1-2 hours per week for updates and communication.

Reflective Conversations on Educational Theories

  • Reason: Educators discuss and reflect on the influence of educational theories and frameworks in their programs.
  • Tips: Organize regular team meetings to discuss and share insights on various educational theories.
  • Estimated Time: 2-3 hours per month for team meetings.

Consistent Connection of Practice with Philosophy

  • Reason: By aligning practice with the service’s philosophy, educators can confidently discuss these connections with families.
  • Tips: Regularly review and reflect on the service’s philosophy and ensure all practices align with it.
  • Estimated Time: 1 hour per week for reflection and alignment checks.

Incorporation of Cultural Traditions

  • Reason: Incorporating cultural traditions, like the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, fosters inclusivity and respect for diversity.
  • Tips: Collaborate with parents to understand and integrate cultural traditions into the educational program.
  • Estimated Time: 2-3 hours per month for planning and implementation.

Anti-Bias Approaches

  • Reason: Educators critically reflect on their practices to avoid tokenistic or biased approaches.
  • Tips: Engage in readings about anti-bias approaches and maintain open communication with families to ensure diverse perspectives are considered.
  • Estimated Time: 2 hours per week for readings and discussions.

Now, let’s proceed to extract the top 5 practical steps from the second case study, along with the reasons they meet the Exceeding NQS standard, tips for implementation, and estimated time for each step.

Case Study 2 Description: This case study revolves around a long day care service situated in an inner city suburb. The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) is deeply integrated into the service’s philosophy, guiding interactions with children and families and forming the foundation for pedagogical decision-making. The service emphasizes the importance of the EYLF, ensuring all educators understand its significance. The service also values family input, ensuring that each child’s unique experiences and perspectives are central to the educational program.

Top 5 Practical Steps from Case Study 2

Deep Exploration of the EYLF

  • Reason: The service ensures that the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) is deeply embedded in their philosophy and practices.
  • Tips: Allocate time in team meetings to explore and document reflections on the EYLF.
  • Estimated Time: 2-3 hours per month for team reflections.

Engagement with Families

  • Reason: The service encourages families to share their knowledge of their child, ensuring a child-centered approach.
  • Tips: Maintain open channels of communication with families, share initial observations, and seek feedback regularly.
  • Estimated Time: 1-2 hours per week for family engagement.

Critical Reflection on Data Collected

  • Reason: Educators critically reflect on the data collected, such as photos and observations, to inform their educational programs.
  • Tips: Regularly review and discuss collected data in team meetings and align findings with the EYLF outcomes.
  • Estimated Time: 2 hours per week for data reflection.

Exploration of Theoretical Perspectives

  • Reason: Educators draw on various theoretical perspectives to guide their curriculum decisions.
  • Tips: Engage in readings and discussions on various educational theories and approaches.
  • Estimated Time: 2 hours per week for exploration and discussions.

Community Engagement

  • Reason: Engaging with the community, like visiting local shops or community gardens, enhances children’s learning experiences.
  • Tips: Plan regular outings or activities that involve the local community and integrate the experiences into the educational program.
  • Estimated Time: 2-3 hours per month for planning and execution.

These steps, when implemented effectively, can significantly enhance the quality of the educational program and help achieve an Exceeding NQS rating in Element 1.1.2.



Category: Tag: