Qualifications for early childhood educators working with 0-to-2 year-olds
This literature review was originally published 27 October 2014.
Recently in Australia there has been considerable debate about the level of qualification that early childhood educators should hold. The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care (NQF), implemented in 2012, established a national requirement that all early childhood educators should hold or be working towards a minimum Certificate III in early childhood1. The NQF also requires that at least 50 per cent of educators hold, or be working towards, a diploma level qualification. More recently, however, the Productivity Commission, in a review of early childhood care and learning in Australia, has recommended that some NQF qualification requirements for educators working with 0-to-2 year-olds be lowered2. For example, the Productivity Commission recommends that a Certificate III be the only requirement for educators working with children aged birth to 36 months3.
The total number of children in early childhood education and care has risen since 2010. In 2010, there were 278,5420-to-2 year-olds attending early childhood education and care services Australia-wide in an average week4, increasing to 306,732 in 20135. This compares to 446,393 3-5 year-olds attending such services on an average week Australia-wide in 2013. Most of the 0-to-2 year-old children were in long day care (250,417) or family day care (49,753). In NSW in 2013, there were 96,947 0-to-2 year-olds in child care per week. Like the Australia-wide trend, most of these children were in long day care (77,381) or family day care (17,780). A small number of 0-to-2 year-olds also attend occasional care and in-home care.
This paper looks at the evidence regarding qualifications for early childhood educators working with 0-to-2 year-olds. It begins by discussing what defines quality early childhood education for 0-to-2 year-olds; best practice pedagogy for 0-to-2 year-olds; what the literature says about teacher qualifications for this cohort; and recommended qualification levels for early childhood educators working with 0-to-2 year-olds internationally.
1 Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority 2012, National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care, Canberra.
2 The Productivity Commission also recommends the removal of the requirement for educators working with 0-to-2 year olds to have practical experience with 0-to-2 year-olds prior to employment.
3 Productivity Commission 2014, Childcare and Early Childcare Learning: Draft Report, Canberra.
4 Department of Education 2011, 2010 National early childhood education and care: Workforce census, prepared by The Social Research Centre.
5 Department of Education 2014, 2013 National early childhood education and care: Workforce census, prepared by The Social Research Centre.