All posts by Linda Irvine

13Feb/17

National Quality Agenda Review Outcomes Announced.

Advocacy In Action

Monday 13th February 2017

National Quality Agenda Review Outcomes Announced.

Dear Members

In  2014 the federal government commenced the NQA Review to determine if the goals of the NQF to improve the quality of education and care in Australia are being met in the most efficient and effective way.

Many of you paticpated in consultations some years back.  Along with FDCAQ submitting our written response as part of the consultation process.  Our response FDCAQ RIS Submission 2015 outlined some key points that members highlighted as critical.

The State and Territory Ministers have now agreed to the NQA outcomes.  These decisions can be found in the Decision Regulation Impact Statement for changes to the National Quality Framework January 2017.

Some of the key changes are:

  • A revised National Quality Standard (NQS) to strengthen quality through greater clarity, remove conceptual overlap between elements and standards, clarify language and reduce the number of standards and elements from 18 standards to 15, and 58 to 40 elements. 
  • A reduction in documentation requirements for children over preschool age attending early childhood education and care to reduce the administrative burden for these services (applies in Queensland, NSW and NT only)
  • Introducing a national educator to child ratio of 1:15 for services providing education and care to school age children to align with Queensland’s current requirement for OSHC services.
  • Removing supervisor certificate requirements so service providers have more autonomy in deciding who can be the responsible person in each service, and to reduce red tape.
  • Improving oversight of the FDC sector with requirements that predominantly align with Queensland’s current regulatory practices with a focus on maintaining the safety and well-being of children.
  • Requiring all early childhood education and care services to have sleep and rest policies and procedures for children and infants in response to recommendation from a Queensland coronial inquest.

Regarding the outcomes for FDC, FDCAQ fought hard to ensure that services delivering quality practice are not required to meet the same Practice Mentor/Coordinator to Educator ratios as services who do not meet the National Quality Standards.  Existing services will be required to meet a 1 to 25 ratio, whilst new providers or services with serious non-compliance may have tighter ratios applied to their approval conditions.  This already occurs in Queensland.

We also advocated strongly against the recommendation that educators in FDC must have their full Certificate III prior to commencement.   Again we were successful, as this recommendation has not been taken up by the government.

The increased oversight on assessment of new providers being required to demonstrate their suitability and capability are changes that we as a Peak Body fully support.  We want to see more families using FDC, as it is the best for their child. Not because of an influx of providers taking advantage of government funding. We want to ensure the very best is available and that the negative stories over the past few years in the media are no longer about FDC.  

Many of you already have in place policies and procedures for sleep and rest and as your peak body we have training both online and face to face to support the development of best practice for supervision, including how educators manage their environments for sleep and rest. Our training is called Supervision- More than What You See. Check out the link for our next webinar in April or give us a call if you would like some face to face training.

Changes to the legislation will commence from 1 October 2017, subject to the passage of legislation, in all states and territories except Western Australia. A revised National Quality Standard will be introduced on 1 February 2018 in all states and territories (including Western Australia). Other changes will take place in October 2017

ACECQA have developed a Information Sheet | Changes to the National Quality Framework.  Decision_RIS_Summary_Of_Changes_To_The_NQF or for further information go to their Decision RIS information webpage.

We will be meeting with the Queensland State Regulator to consult on the transition period for FDC and confirm how these changes will be implemented . We will keep you updated as this occurs.

Yours in perseverance

Peta 

22Jul/16

State FDC Regional Meeting 20th July | MURARRIE

On Wednesday the 20th of July we were very fortunate to have Rhonda Livingstone (ACECQA) and Cathy O’Malley (DET) present at our State FDC Regional Meeting at our Murarrie office. We had 32 participants attend and 23 online.

Handbook

 

Download your copy of the Participants Handbook Here 

 


Rhonda Livingstone
shared with the group ways to build confidence when preparing and undertaking the Ratings and Assessment process.  Click on the below button to view Rhonda’s presentation.

 Go-for-it-button

Cathy O’Malley spoke about the new DET Fencing Requirements for a Family Day Care residence. She also shared that Family Day Care is diverse and every environment and situation is different and each should be considered in their own context.

DET-Fencing-Fact-Sheet

 

 

 

We finished the morning off with a Professional conversation around these questions. 
  • What were the key themes that stood out for you? 
  • How do I advocate for my service? 
  • What three key themes do you want to share?
The key themes from the four groups are below : 
From Rhonda Livingstone 
  • Advocating for Educators – Building their confidence to promote what they do 
  • How? What? Why? 
  • Meaningful, informed and achievable 
  • Relationships with families, children and communities 
  • Developing the community relationships 
  • Not to FEAR Department 
  • Articulate the information
  • Always about children

 

  • Not to FEAR Department
  • Articulate the Information
  • Every child 
  • Collection of information 
  • Empowering Educators 
  • Understanding regulations 
  • Needing to Educate community on professionalism of Family Day Care 
  • What are your strengths? 
From Cathy O’Malley 
  • Open for interpretation – coming back to outcomes for children 
  • Cannot blanket – All about safety 
  • Every child, environment, needs are different 
  • Family Day Care is diverse 
  • Open communication 
  • Consistency of information 
  • Collection of information  3 key things we heard 
 

 

Group One 
  • Challenge outcomes 
  • Empowering Educators to have confidence in own practice 
  • Requires our professional judgement – what has informed our decision 
Group Two 
  • Authentic 
  • Empowering 
  • Collaborative 
  • Quality of care for children – good outcomes 
  • Why? What? How? – Youtube. Critical Reflection 
  • Looking at the data – using as a basis 
  • Health: Safety and Wellbeing – Policy and Best Practice 
  • Regional Meeting – sharing 
 
Group Three 
  • Emails including Fact Sheet re: Fencing 
  • Consistency with Regional Office in Assessment and Ratings 
  • Sharing of General Practice Guide – openness/transparency 
  • Embedded Practice and what it means 
Group Four
  • What, how, why
  • Children as a focus – Outcomes for children’s wellbeing and safety
  • Confidence to challenge
05Jun/16

Workforce Council – Educator Unchained

On the 4 May 2016, FDCAQ representatives attended the Workforce Council Conference – Educator Unchained.

The Educator Unchained Conference posed a series of questions to the attendees. Have your say below on the following questions asked.

  1. What are the connections between a predominately female workforce and the challenges the ECEC sector currently are facing?
  2. How is professional identity influencing the service children receive in Australia
  3. Stand out- As EC professional ” What is our role in changing the thinking about  EC Teaching?”
  4. “What do we need to do as a sector?”
  5. “Do we need to claim the right language and space around ECEC teaching?”
05Jun/16

Creating a culture of Adventurous Play-risk rich environment

“We feel that risk has a role to play in learning and as research shows, has the potential to achieve positive outcomes for children.” (Lewis, 2005; Nichol, 2000).

“Children and young people need to encounter some real risks if they are to respond positively to challenging situations and learn how to deal with uncertainty. This cannot be achieved by limiting them to supposedly safe environments. Therefore, providers of play opportunities have no choice but to offer situations in which children and young people can experience real, not make-believe, hazards”
from
Managing Risk in Play Provision, by Ball, Gill and Spiegal

Think back to your own childhood! What did that look like? Was the main focus outdoors and freedom?

Research has shown that contact with the outdoors is often limited for many children in modern society, and the vital experience of using the outdoors and being comfortable in nature is being lost. According to research by Planet Ark (2013), “one in ten Australian children play outside once a week or less. We have become a nation of indoors, not outdoors.” Not only is the frequency of outdoor play changing, the nature of outdoor activity in Australia is also changing. Ball games are still popular and organized youth sport remains popular at 35%, however games like tag, hop scotch, street games and exploring local nature have declined significantly in the last decade.

The Planet Ark (2013) data states that the decline of outdoor play is not linked to the amount of homework children receive however parents commented that concerns about crime and safety and lack of time to play outside were identified all as significant factors that prevent children from playing outdoors. As a result children have become reliant on indoor sedentary play for recreation, learning and socializing with low risk associated. These modern pastimes are filling the space of that outdoor play occupied.

Children are driven by nature to seek challenges; it is how they learn. Taking risks are an essential element in play, learning, exploring, experiencing and growing. However a culture and adult expectations can increase or diminish this drive. If there are no challenges in an environment children will create their own acts of daring or experimentation that can result in harm.

As Educators working in Education and Care environments we have a duty of care to the children and their families to manage risk whilst still ensuring children have appropriate opportunities to belong, be and become. As a society we are increasingly recognising the necessity and the developmental value in children engaging with natural and built environments, taking on some challenges and testing themselves as they explore, grow and play and this is supported by the National Quality Standards.

It is our role as Educators to showcase and engage children in the natural environment paying close attention to creating a culture of Adventurous play-risk rich environments. When this is a main focus children will:

  • learn through child-led play at the child’s pace
  • develop a sense of responsibility for themselves and others
  • build early risk management strategies
  • develop coping mechanisms and problem solving capabilities
  • learn to take on challenges and accept responsibility
  • consider the impact of their actions on themselves and on others
  • develop a respect for danger, hazards and experimentation.
  • foster their self-esteem and self-belief

Claire Warden (2011) suggests by offering children a risk-rich environment allows adults to help keep children safe by letting them take more risks, whilst guiding them through a progression of experiences.

What is your role and responsibilities as an Educator creating an adventurous play environment?

Educators play lots of roles in children’s group settings; they make it possible to go outside frequently, they help to make experiences challenging, spirited and safe, they help to make the outdoors a place for growth and learning, they observe, they interact and make judgements around the safety of the environment.

Here are a number of roles you may play….Consider which role/s do you take around creating a culture of adventurous play;

  • Rule Maker
  • Provisioner
  • Observer
  • Safety Monitor
  • Participant
  • Mentor and Guide
  • Conflict Resolver
  • Enthusiast
  • Maintainer
  • Safety, Liability and Risk Management

 

Educator Reflective Questions when creating a culture of Adventurous Play- Risk Rich environments

  • What are the real safety issues and risks in your environment and what are the perceived ones?
  • Who sees these risks?
  • Do you focus on both risk assessment and benefit assessment? For example, it may be risky to climb a tree, but the sense of achievement and physical skills that children gain from climbing are very beneficial.
  • Does avoiding the risks reduce the benefits?
  • What is risky for one child, in a particular setting on a particular day, may not be for another child. Risk is relative.
  • How do you share this with families and the service?

 

Current evidence shows that when Educators are thoughtful and purposeful around planning for a risk rich environments this supports the best learning outcomes for children. This approach enables children to become strong stakeholders in their own development, which allows them to build confidence, competence and independence.

How can services create a balance between being aware of risks, while honouring and valuing children’s play, freedom of movement, indoor and outdoor learning opportunities and, most importantly, the relationships children have within the service?

 

References

Buchan. N (2015) “Children in Wild Nature- a practical guide to nature based practice” Teaching Solutions, Blairgowrie.

Lewis, I. (2005) Nature and adventure ECOS 1

Nichols (2000) Risk and Adventure Education Journal of Risk Research 3(2)

Planet Ark (2013) From Climbing Trees –Getting Aussie Kids back outdoors:

 

Websites

www.naturesplayqld.org.au

www.kidsafensw.org/playground-safety/challenging-play-risky/

www.playengland.org.uk/welcome-to-play-englands-new-website/