ACECQA’s National Education Leader, Rhonda Livingstone provides insight into National Quality Framework topics of interest.
How can families and the community contribute to your quality improvement processes and goals? How can these collaborative relationships support children and contribute to quality outcomes? In this third instalment, I turn my attention to the partnerships at the heart of Quality Area 6 and their potential for supporting and enhancing outcomes for children.
Part 3: Family and community engagement – Continuous improvement is a shared endeavour
Relationships are very much at the heart of our profession. Quality Area 6 – Collaborative partnerships with families and communities speaks to the familiar adage ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and reflects current research that suggests when educators, families and communities work together as partners to collectively support children’s healthy development and wellbeing, the potential for improving positive learning outcomes is enhanced. This quality area focuses on educators, families and communities uniting around a shared vision for children and working together to achieve goals.
The changes to the National Quality Standard (NQS) present an opportunity to reflect on existing practices and consider how families – as children’s first and influential educators – are meaningfully supported from the time of enrolment to exercise their agency and contribute to service self-assessment, decision-making and quality improvement processes. The 2018 NQS can also help you consider how your service establishes and maintains an active presence in the local community, seeks to strengthen community links and learn about local community contexts, aspirations and needs to develop inclusive and responsive programs and quality improvement goals. You might also like to reflect on the way family and community engagement in your service’s self-assessment and quality improvement processes speak to the advocacy of education and care in your community and help raise public awareness of the importance of early childhood development and the benefits of quality education and care.
Questions for consideration:
- How are your self-assessment and quality improvement processes shaped by meaningful engagement with families and the community?
- What techniques or strategies do you use to encourage families and the community to meaningfully inform the development and review of quality improvement planning processes, including self-assessment? How effective are these strategies in receiving and addressing feedback?
- Is your service’s Quality Improvement Plan displayed or accessible so families can view the current goals and strategies for quality improvement? How do you share your progress and celebrate achievements with families?
- How is community level data (e.g. the Australian Early Development Census [AEDC]) used to identify the vulnerabilities of children in your community, identify quality improvement priorities and support partnerships that provide targeted support to children and families?
Building on these collaborative relationships, in the next instalment we will look at relationships with children and their active and meaningful participation in your self-assessment and quality improvement processes.