Tips to meet Quality Area 6– collaborative partnerships
Developing community connections and building deep relationships creates mutually beneficial partnerships which enhance outcomes for children.
16 June 2023
Making connections and developing relationships with families and local communities will assist you to begin mutually beneficial and collaborative partnerships. Your service should utilise collaborative connections to incorporate children’s cultural identities and lived experiences within your pedagogy and practice. Culturally responsive practices demonstrate value in the lives and experiences children bring to the service.
Standard 6.2 recognises the connections between children, families, the service and communities and the importance of collaborative relationships and partnerships in enhancing all children’s inclusion, learning, development and wellbeing (Early Years Learning Framework, p. 14; Framework for School Age Care, p. 13).
Benefit of building collaborative partnerships
It is crucial to a child’s sense of belonging that educators demonstrate respect for the knowledge and background each child brings to a service. Educators can draw on this knowledge to develop partnerships with children’s families and communities. Developing partnerships can enhance outcomes for children, for example:
Reciprocal relationships with families will develop trust and open lines of communication, providing educators with a better understanding of the perspectives and values each family hold. These perspectives can help the service develop strengths-based educational programs.
Inviting families into your service to share their cultural practices and ways of being develops mutual respect and unlocks learning possibilities. When a service has a deep understanding of the cultural backgrounds of families and communities, there are opportunities for deeper and more meaningful connections. Including families’ cultures and skills into the educational program can assist children and their families build a sense of belonging within the service. It also provides opportunities to respect diverse world views.
Partnerships with local child and family health services and health professionals may provide families with an understanding of allied health options and intervention services. Educators may benefit from hearing directly from allied health services to better inform their understanding of child development and opportunities to support pedagogically inclusive practices.
Connections with local schools may offer bilateral partnerships with the principal and early years teachers. Opportunities for school representatives to present school transition information to families may arise out of this. Perhaps children could attend the school on excursion for inclusion in kindergarten, sports, assembly or library activities.
Fostering culturally safe connections
National Reconciliation Week is held from 27 May to 3 June each year, dates that hold significance in Australia’s history. The anniversary of the 1967 referendum, when Australians voted to remove discriminatory clauses against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from the Australian Constitution, is on the 27 May. Meanwhile, 3 June marks the 1992 historic Mabo decision, which lead to the legal recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as Traditional Owners and Custodians of lands, paving the way for Native Title.
Your service should embrace and celebrate culturally significant dates, including National Reconciliation Week and the upcoming NAIDOC Week (2–9 July), in contextually appropriate ways.
Reflective questions you may consider when exploring how your service recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and voices include:
What can we implement that demonstrates working towards a just, equitable and reconciled Australia? How can we consider the 2023 Reconciliation Week theme, ‘Be a Voice’?
How have we considered children’s and families’ voices and lived experience in planning our pedagogy and practice?
How do we actively seek and promote respect for the voices of our team when collaborating? How do we balance this with the voices and values of our children and families?
How do our conversations as a team represent and honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture?
How do our policies, procedures and service philosophy inform respectful and reciprocal relationships with our children, families and communities?
How is our thinking guided by our Reconciliation Action Plan?
Tips for services and providers
Consider how the service’s community partnerships enhance outcomes for children.
Find guidance on the departments transition to school statement and associated research.
Access information data (such as the Australian Early Developmental Census) to build and deepen your understanding of the local community.
Utilise curriculum resources from Narragunnawali to promote reconciliation and develop children’s and students’ understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions.
Access ACECQA’s website for additional resources regarding family and community collaboration and connection.