Tips to meet Quality Area 7 – establishing and maintaining quality service operations

Learn how creating a strong vision and setting clear direction for your team supports effective service operations and continuous improvement.

An educator wearing a long-sleeved black top sits next to 2 small children at small round table. Her long blonde-brown hair is in a high ponytail. The 2 children, who both have short hair and wear long-sleeved shirts, play with wooden toys at the table. The room is decorated in neutral colours and features several plants, vines and other greenery. An educator wearing a long-sleeved black top sits next to 2 small children at small round table. Her long blonde-brown hair is in a high ponytail. The 2 children, who both have short hair and wear long-sleeved shirts, play with wooden toys at the table. The room is decorated in neutral colours and features several plants, vines and other greenery.
Image: Supporting each staff member’s performance and development will help build a culture of learning and sense of shared purpose, plus ensure your team feels valued and engaged.

Establishing a culture of accountability, collaboration and continuous improvement to support the effective operation of a quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) service doesn’t happen by chance. You need to identify a collective vision, clearly define each person's role, build clear expectations, and encourage learning and development for all members of staff.

The importance of supporting and developing educators and other staff in their roles as part of a service’s governance and leadership is highlighted in elements 7.1.1, 7.1.3 and 7.2.3 of the National Quality Standard.

Here are some ideas to help you get your team working in the same direction.

Statement of philosophy – identify a collective vision and guide decision-making

The National Quality Framework (NQF) requires all ECEC services to have a statement of philosophy to articulate their shared beliefs. Is it time to revisit yours and make sure it is a living document?

ACECQA suggests reviewing your philosophy (PDF 550 KB) every 12 months or after changes in your service or the sector, such as the introduction of updated Approved Learning Frameworks. Check if your families, children and educators are reflected in your philosophy and celebrate the changes you have recently made.

As noted in Element 7.1.1: Service philosophy and purpose of Guide to the NQF:

“When the educational leader, nominated supervisors, co-ordinators and educators contribute to the review of a philosophy statement, it is more likely to be owned by all members of the team. It encourages commitment and willingness to put it into practice.”

Establishing how to use your philosophy to guide the service’s operations can sometimes be difficult, but it is important to remember that your philosophy is part of the governance framework of your service. Make a conscious effort to use your philosophy when your team needs to make difficult decisions, establish effective policies and procedures, foster the culture of the service or identify improvements.

When thinking about the governance and leadership of your service and elements 7.1.3 and 7.2.3, go back to your philosophy and check what it says about what educators should know and what their roles should be. Does your philosophy say you value mentoring or that educators seek to be lifelong learners? Can you use these values to design your practice?

Measure your current procedures and decisions against your philosophy and ask are you able to act in ways that are in line with your philosophy. If not, what is getting in the way?

  • Does your philosophy guide educators’ pedagogy, planning and practice?

  • Does the philosophy reflect a shared understanding of the role of the service among staff, children, families and the community?

  • Does the philosophy underpin the decisions, policies and daily practices of the service?

  • Is the philosophy used to set directions and align actions with the service’s goals and objectives?

  • Who is in involved in developing, reviewing and adapting your philosophy? Are your children’s voices reflected?

Roles and responsibilities – develop clear expectations and set everyone up for success

Clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of all employees will support a good understanding of procedures, expectations for performance and the operation of a quality service. There are several strategies service leaders can implement to support a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities, such as:

  • clarifying organisational culture and its focus on child safety, including requirements for reporting concerns, ensuring all staff understand their obligations

  • creating individualised job and role descriptions

  • delegating specific roles throughout the service

  • developing induction procedures that are thorough but not overwhelming. You may choose to stagger the onboarding process to allow time for educators to familiarise themselves with their roles and responsibilities, while ensuring mandatory obligations are covered upfront

  • offering training specific to roles and responsibilities

  • providing mentoring

  • supporting discussions during regular team, room and 1:1 meetings

  • using communication platforms to share reminders or messages about roles and responsibilities

  • providing service handbooks, including your Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics. You may choose to keep these digitally to allow for quick referencing and ease of updating

  • supporting educators’ understanding of the NQF

  • engaging educators in discussions about how their personal philosophies reflect the values and beliefs of the service’s philosophy.

  • Are job/role descriptions in place for each role and provided during the induction and orientation process?

  • Are mentors available to support and guide new employees?

  • Is there an induction checklist in place that is tailored to the service and ensures all requirements are met. Does the checklist consider supportive communication strategies?

  • Are role descriptions revisited or only used during induction?

  • How do you assess staff understanding of their roles and responsibilities and their mandatory obligations?

Developing professionals – encourage learning and development for all team members

Regular performance evaluation and the implementation of individual development plans support educators' development of skills and professional knowledge. It’s important for all team members to be included in performance evaluation, professional development and training.

Effective performance evaluation may:

  • be linked with the employee’s job/position description and the service philosophy

  • include a review of the employee’s previous plan

  • acknowledge the employee’s achievements and contributions to the service

  • include participation by all educators, educational leaders and staff members in professional development activities to build their capacity and confidence.

Individual development plans may:

  • outline realistic and achievable goals with consideration to the position of the employee, their qualifications and skills

  • relate to any further development or training that the employee may require to perform their role or indicated further training requirements

  • identify leadership opportunities

  • identify strategies and approaches for support and mentoring

  • outline timelines for goals to be measured and progress to be revisited

  • link to other related documents such as the service’s Quality Improvement Plan

  • document regular review and updating of all educators, educational leaders and staff members professional strengths and objectives.

  • Is there a regular performance evaluation process in place for each educator that includes performance indicators based on the individuals position description?

  • Are there professional development events, support options and achievable goals identified that are being supported by management?

  • Does each educator, service leader or staff member’s development plan celebrate and acknowledge identified strengths and document and plan for areas of development?

  • News
Return to top of page Back to top