ACECQA’s National Education Leader, Rhonda Livingstone provides insights into National Quality Framework topics of interest.
Year-end is a time for celebration, as we reflect on accomplishments and progress across the last twelve months. In a busy education and care service, progress can sometimes be difficult to see or feel in a tangible way. What is progress? What counts as progress? How do we measure progress or success?
Progress is generally considered to be a measure of how well we are moving towards improvement or defined goals. In quality education and care, our overarching goals are positive outcomes for children and families.
What counts as progress towards these outcomes can involve a multitude of factors. For example, progress could be seen though factors such as children’s learning, family belonging, stability of educators and through children’s wellbeing. These factors can all improve positively over time and are valid ways to assess your progress towards defined goals. If these factors are not improving over time, it provides an opportunity to critically reflect on your practices and consider any changes needed.
Measuring progress with a holistic lens
Using just one factor, such as family belonging, to measure progress may not capture all of the rich ways in which outcomes for children and families are being achieved by your service. Just one factor can be important, but it won’t give the complete picture.
Internationally, measurements of progress are shifting to a holistic perspective and moving beyond one simple measure. For example, the Australian National Development Index (ANDI) aims to measure Australia’s progress by twelve domains, such as wellbeing, education, health and the environment, not just simply by economic gross domestic product (GDP). This recognises the many factors that contribute to community development and sustainable wellbeing.
Similarly, progress in education and care can be reviewed and celebrated using a holistic lens. The seven quality areas of the National Quality Standard are a great starting point. They capture the diverse and important components of quality education and care that deliver positive outcomes.
It’s important to recognise and celebrate the important contributions that educators, service leaders, staff and approved providers make in the lives of children and families. It is timely to identify and celebrate the contribution of you and your colleagues.
As the year draws to a close, I encourage you to find time to pause to consider how far your service and the children, families and staff of your community have travelled this year. It’s important to celebrate the progress that you are making to give children the best possible start in life.
The ideas and questions attached in this table offer a starting point.
I wish you and your teams a very well deserved break over the summer, and am looking forward to hearing more about your celebrations and achievements in the New Year.
Further reading and resources
ACECQA – Information Sheet – Developing a culture of learning through reflective practice
ACECQA – Information Sheet – Reviewing your service philosophy
ACECQA – Information Sheet – Using complaints to support continuous improvement
Early Childhood Australia – Code of Ethics
Mitchell Institute – Fact Sheet – Capabilities at 0-2 years
Mitchell Institute – Fact Sheet – Capabilities at 3-5 years
Mitchell Institute – Fact Sheet – Capabilities at 6-8 years
Mitchell Institute – Fact Sheet – Capabilities at 9-12 years