Areas for improvement in Quality Area 1

Did you know? Across all service types in NSW, Elements 1.3.1 (Assessment and Planning Cycle) & 1.3.2 (Critical Reflection) are the most significant drivers for not meeting NQS under Quality Area 1.

Across all service types, elements 1.3.1 (Assessment and Planning Cycle) and 1.3.2 (Critical Reflection) are the most significant drivers for not meeting the NQS under Quality Area 1.

In particular, there is much improvement to be made in the area of Critical Reflection across all service types that are rated Working Towards.

The Guide to the National Quality Standard Assessment describes the assessment and planning cycle as the “ongoing process of planning, documenting and evaluating children’s learning” (p. 24).

It is important that all aspects of the planning cycle are present and to remember that documentation is a way to make the process visible.

The approved learning frameworks notes that critical reflection is broader than the reflection and evaluation of the assessment and planning cycle. Critical reflection involves closely examining all aspects of events and experiences from different perspectives to understand what happened and why. Critical reflection often has a focus on equity, inclusion and diversity. (EYLF p.13, MTOP P.12).

Please remember that you are required to document particular aspects of each child’s educational program under the National Law and Regulations:

Reg 74 - For children preschool age or under you must document:

  • assessments of the child’s developmental needs, interests, experiences and participation in the educational program.
  • assessments of the child’s progress against the outcomes of the educational program.

Reg 274A - For school-aged children you must document evidence about the development of the educational program (NSW-specific). In preparing the documentation you must consider:

  • the period of time that the child is being educated and cared for by the service;
  • how the documentation will be used by the educators at the service; and
  • whether it is readily understandable by the educators at the service and the parents of the child (regulation R74(2))

Some helpful tips:

The assessment and planning cycle

  • Educators may include observations such as personal and group interactions, activity preferences, successes and challenges, conversations with families, and anecdotes recorded by educators.
  • Photographs with captions, or video clips, are a great documentation form.
  • Educators may include an individual support plan for children with an additional need.
  • Children may, if interested, describe the experience and why it was important to them. Their feedback may be evidence for the continuation of an aspect of the program. The children may use journals to record their own significant moments and to communicate this with educators.

Critical reflection

  • Educators may critically reflect on their own practice and the feelings, thoughts and ideas of children, families, and colleagues.
  • Educators may critically reflect as part of their documentation and in daily diaries, reflective journals and conversations.
  • Educators may ask question of themselves and each other about why they made the decisions they did and how they were guided by their philosophies and theories about how children learn.
  • Educators may share their critical reflections at meetings as a way of implementing service wide change and continuous improvement.

For more information about how and what to document, view ACECQA’s factsheet “Guidelines for documenting children’s learning”.

For more information on critical reflection, view ACECQA’s guidance “What is critical reflection?”.

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