Exceeding NQS in Quality Area 6: Parent views are respected (Element 6.1.2)

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.

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Practical Steps Towards an Exceeding NQS Rating in Quality Area 6: Element 6.1.2

To achieve an Exceeding NQS rating in the National Quality Standard 6.1, specifically for ELEMENT 6.1.2 “PARENTS VIEWS ARE RESPECTED”, here’s an exhaustive list of practical steps based on the provided references:

Element 6.1.2: Parent views are respected

Aim of Element 6.1.2:

  • Recognize that families are children’s first and most influential teachers.
  • Respect the expertise, cultures, languages, values, beliefs, and child-rearing practices of families.
  • Support each child’s learning and wellbeing by tailoring educational programs based on each child’s background and strengths.
  • Develop genuine partnership relationships with families, including shared decision-making, to enhance children’s learning, wellbeing, and inclusion.

Practical Steps:

  1. Communication:
    • Regularly communicate with families to understand their child’s evolving preferences, experiences, and routines.
    • Exchange information between families and educators during arrival and departure times.
    • Discuss children’s individual requirements and play preferences sensitively, respectfully, and confidentially.
    • Share children’s successes, achievements, and interactions with their families.
  2. Shared Decision-making:
    • Involve families in curriculum decision-making.
    • Provide opportunities for families to give feedback about the experiences planned for their child.
    • Allow families to have private discussions with the educational leader, nominated supervisor, coordinators, and educators.
    • Update and record information from families about each child’s background, experiences, preferences, and routines to support curriculum decision-making.
  3. Respect and Inclusion:
    • Inform families promptly and sensitively of any incidents affecting their child.
    • Encourage families to share their values, expectations, knowledge, skills, expertise, family life, and culture.
    • Incorporate families’ knowledge of their children into plans for children’s experiences and learning.

Exceeding NQS Guidance for Standard 6.1

Exceeding Theme 1: Practice is embedded in service operations:

  • Ensure that educators, the educational leader, and the coordinator understand the requirements of the Standard and demonstrate a commitment to high-quality practice.
  • Engage collaboratively and respectfully with families from enrollment and orientation.
  • Provide families with comprehensive information about the service and relevant community services.
  • Align the approach to building relationships with families with the service’s philosophy and the approved learning framework/s.

Exceeding Theme 2: Practice is informed by critical reflection:

  • Reflect on the service’s approach to supporting relationships with families.
  • Engage in robust debate and discussion about the service’s approach to engaging with families.
  • Challenge personal, professional, and organizational values that influence practice.

Exceeding Theme 3: Practice is shaped by meaningful engagement with families and/or the community:

  • Build relationships that reflect the unique context of the service.
  • Support families to build relationships with other families and community services.
  • Tailor communication approaches to individual families’ circumstances.
  • Explore opportunities to build trust and support families in contributing to the educational program.

By implementing these steps and ensuring that the practices are embedded in service operations, informed by critical reflection, and shaped by meaningful engagement with families, your service will be well-positioned to achieve an Exceeding NQS rating in the National Quality Standard 6.1.

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 educator has 4 hours per week, which totals 16 hours in a month, here’s a suggested monthly schedule to work on improving their service based on the practical steps mentioned:

Week 1: Understanding and Communication (4 hours)

  1. Research and Understanding (1 hour):
    • Review the requirements of the National Quality Standard 6.1 and ELEMENT 6.1.2.
    • Understand the importance of respecting parents’ views and the role of families in children’s learning and wellbeing.
  2. Communication Enhancement (3 hours):
    • Spend 1 hour observing current communication practices during arrival and departure times.
    • Dedicate 1 hour to brainstorming ways to enhance communication with families.
    • Use the remaining hour to draft a communication guideline or checklist to ensure consistent and effective communication with families.

Week 2: Shared Decision-making (4 hours)

  1. Feedback Mechanism (2 hours):
    • Design a feedback form or digital survey for families to provide input on their child’s experiences and the curriculum.
    • Test the feedback mechanism with a few families and gather initial feedback.
  2. Decision-making Workshop (2 hours):
    • Organize a 1-hour workshop or meeting with fellow educators to discuss the importance of shared decision-making.
    • Spend the remaining hour discussing and noting down strategies to involve families more in curriculum decision-making.

Week 3: Respect and Inclusion (4 hours)

  1. Cultural Awareness (1.5 hours):
    • Dedicate time to research and understand the diverse cultures, values, and beliefs of the families in the service.
    • Create a list of cultural events or celebrations that can be incorporated into the curriculum.
  2. Inclusion Strategies (2.5 hours):
    • Spend 1 hour reviewing current practices to ensure they are inclusive and respect the diverse backgrounds of families.
    • Dedicate 1.5 hours to brainstorming and documenting strategies to enhance inclusion and respect in the service.

Week 4: Reflection and Engagement (4 hours)

  1. Critical Reflection (2 hours):
    • Dedicate 1 hour to a self-reflection session, noting down personal biases and areas of improvement.
    • Spend the next hour discussing with fellow educators about the service’s approach to engaging with families and gather their insights.
  2. Community Engagement (2 hours):
    • Spend 1 hour researching local community events or services that can be beneficial for families.
    • Use the remaining hour to draft a plan on how to engage with these community services or how to inform families about them.

By following this schedule, the educator can systematically address key areas to improve their service in line with the National Quality Standard 6.1 and ELEMENT 6.1.2.

Reflective Questions

Reflective questions are essential for educators to deeply consider their practices, identify areas of improvement, and ensure they are effectively respecting parents’ views as per Element 6.1.2. Here’s an exhaustive list of reflective questions tailored for Element 6.1.2 “PARENTS VIEWS ARE RESPECTED”:

Understanding and Respecting Parents’ Views

  1. How do I ensure that I genuinely understand and respect the views of each child’s family?
  2. In what ways do I actively seek feedback from families about their child’s learning and wellbeing?
  3. How do I incorporate the cultural, linguistic, and individual values of families into my teaching approach?
  4. What strategies do I use to ensure that families feel their views are not just heard, but also valued and acted upon?


  1. How effective are my communication methods with families?
  2. Are there barriers to effective communication with some families? If so, what are they and how can they be addressed?
  3. How do I ensure that I communicate sensitively and confidentially with each family?
  4. In what ways do I share positive feedback and achievements about children with their families?

Shared Decision-making

  1. How do I involve families in decision-making processes related to their child’s learning and wellbeing?
  2. Are there opportunities for families to be more involved in curriculum planning and decision-making?
  3. How frequently do I consult with families about their child’s progress and any changes to the curriculum or learning environment?
  4. In what ways do I ensure that families have a voice in setting goals for their child’s learning?

Cultural Respect and Inclusion

  1. How do I ensure that the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of families are reflected in the curriculum and learning environment?
  2. What steps do I take to ensure that I am culturally competent and respectful of diverse family backgrounds?
  3. How do I address and challenge any biases or stereotypes that may arise in the learning environment?
  4. In what ways do I celebrate and acknowledge the diverse cultures and backgrounds of families in the service?

Continuous Improvement

  1. How do I regularly review and reflect on my practices to ensure that parents’ views are respected?
  2. What feedback mechanisms are in place for families to share their views, concerns, and suggestions?
  3. How do I handle disagreements or conflicts with families, and how can these situations be used as learning opportunities?
  4. What professional development opportunities can I seek to enhance my skills in respecting and incorporating parents’ views?

Collaboration and Partnership

  1. How do I foster a genuine partnership with families to ensure a consistent approach between home and the service?
  2. In what ways do I encourage families to share their expertise, knowledge, and cultural practices with the service community?
  3. How do I ensure that families feel a sense of belonging and inclusion in the service?
  4. What strategies are in place to support families in their parenting roles and to acknowledge them as their child’s first and most influential teachers?

By reflecting on these questions, educators can gain deeper insights into their practices, identify areas for improvement, and ensure they are effectively respecting and incorporating parents’ views in line with Element 6.1.2.

Learning from ACEQA case studies

Let’s break down the practical steps taken by services in the provided case studies to achieve Exceeding NQS standards in Element 6.1.2, along with the reasons, tips, and estimated implementation time for each step.

Case Study 1

Respectful relationships with children, families and communities are at the core of the philosophy of this regionally located before and after school care and vacation care service. This philosophy acknowledges families as children’s first and most influential teachers. It is also informed by and consistent with the principles and practices of My Time Our Place. This includes the value of collaborative partnerships with families to contribute to decision-making processes. It also includes appreciation and respect for diversity and difference.

  1. Developing a Service Philosophy Reflecting Respectful Relationships
    • Reason: This philosophy acknowledges families as children’s first and most influential teachers and values collaborative partnerships.
    • Tips: Engage with all stakeholders, including educators, families, and community members, to collaboratively develop and refine the service philosophy.
    • Estimated Time: 2-3 weeks for discussions, drafting, and finalizing.
  2. Ongoing Reflective Conversations Among Educators
    • Reason: These conversations help educators articulate and understand what genuine partnerships with families look like in practice.
    • Tips: Schedule regular staff meetings dedicated to reflective practice. Document these conversations for future reference.
    • Estimated Time: Ongoing, with initial setup taking a few hours.
  3. Incorporating Research and External Resources
    • Reason: Using research, like the OECD working paper, helps the service to critically reflect on their practices and make informed decisions.
    • Tips: Stay updated with recent research and publications related to early childhood education and care. Incorporate findings into staff training and discussions.
    • Estimated Time: 2-3 hours per month for research and discussion.
  4. Revising Enrolment and Orientation Processes
    • Reason: Ensuring these processes are inclusive and responsive to the diverse needs of families.
    • Tips: Regularly review and seek feedback on enrolment and orientation processes. Offer flexibility in how these processes are conducted, such as offering home visits or meetings in familiar settings.
    • Estimated Time: 1-2 weeks for review and implementation of changes.
  5. Engaging with the Wider Community
    • Reason: Building connections with the community, like the fundraising day for the local rural fire service, fosters a sense of belonging and collaboration.
    • Tips: Organize community events and actively seek opportunities for collaboration. Engage with local services, businesses, and community groups.
    • Estimated Time: Varies depending on the event, from a few days to several weeks for planning and execution.

Case Study 2

This family day care service is situated in a regional agricultural town where the main crops grown in the surrounding area are wheat, barley and canola. The town is home to children and families from a range of diverse cultural backgrounds, including Aboriginal families who are descendants of the Traditional Custodians of the local land and Anglo-Australian families, who have lived in the community for many years. The town’s residents also include families who are new to the community, having immigrated to Australia and moved to the town to seek work.

  1. Building and Sustaining Respectful Relationships and Collaborative Partnerships
    • Reason: Strong connections with local stakeholders, including Aboriginal Elders and community partners, enhance the service’s inclusivity and responsiveness.
    • Tips: Regularly engage with local community groups, hold joint events, and seek feedback to strengthen relationships.
    • Estimated Time: Ongoing, with initial outreach taking a few days to weeks.
  2. Opening Weekly Play Sessions to All Families
    • Reason: This initiative promotes inclusivity and provides an opportunity for families to experience the service’s offerings.
    • Tips: Advertise these sessions widely, ensure they are accessible, and actively seek feedback to improve.
    • Estimated Time: 1-2 weeks for planning and promotion.
  3. Reflecting on Cultural Sensitivity and Responsiveness
    • Reason: Ensuring the service is respectful of and responsive to the diverse cultural backgrounds of families.
    • Tips: Engage in regular training on cultural competence, seek feedback from families, and adjust practices accordingly.
    • Estimated Time: Ongoing, with initial training sessions taking a few hours to days.
  4. Revising Enrolment Interviews to be More Accessible
    • Reason: Recognizing potential barriers and offering flexible enrolment options ensures the service is accessible to all families.
    • Tips: Offer a range of enrolment options, such as home visits or meetings in familiar settings, and ensure families are aware of these options.
    • Estimated Time: 1 week for review and implementation of changes.
  5. Engaging in Ongoing Reflection and Seeking Feedback
    • Reason: Continuous improvement is achieved by actively seeking feedback and reflecting on current practices.
    • Tips: Implement regular feedback mechanisms, such as surveys or feedback sessions, and act on the feedback received.
    • Estimated Time: Ongoing, with initial setup of feedback mechanisms taking a few days.

Implementing these steps will require a dedicated effort, but they are crucial for achieving and maintaining an Exceeding NQS rating in Element 6.1.2.



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