What is national quality standard? | quality area 1 - educational program and practice what is national quality standard

What is National Quality Standard? | Quality Area 1 – Educational Program and Practice

In the previous blog we shared with you an overview of National Quality Standard. Continuing with the National Quality Standards, in this blog, we will share more information about National Quality area 1.

Quality Area 1 of the National Quality Standard focuses on ensuring that the educational program and practice of educators are child-centred, stimulating and maximise opportunities for enhancing and extending each child’s learning and development. It recognises that a quality program that builds on children’s individual knowledge, strengths, ideas, culture, abilities and interests is likely to have long term benefits for children and for the broader society.

This quality area is linked to the two national approved learning frameworks; EYLF-Belonging, Being and Becoming (0-5 years) and My Time, Our place (school age) to guide educator’s pedagogical (teaching) practices and development of meaningful programs to promote children’s learning and development.

To design meaningful programs, it is essential that Educational Leader of service and educators has a good understanding of the learning framework and focus of each standard and element of Quality area 1, so that education and care services can meet the requirements of quality standards.

Education and care services have an ‘Educational Leader’ to overlook the educational program and planning. The educational leader has an influential role in inspiring, motivating, affirming and also challenging or extending the practice and pedagogy of educators. It is a joint endeavour involving inquiry and reflection, which can significantly impact on the important work educators do with children and families. Educators should take a planned and reflective approach to implementing the educational programs by using an assessment and planning cycle and engaging with critical reflection to improve the program and practice.

With guidance from the educational leader, educators:

  • Use an approved learning framework to underpin their everyday practice. The framework guides interactions with children and families and provides the basis for educators’ pedagogical decision-making, including the experiences that are planned for children and the teaching and learning that occurs.
  • Develop the educational program based on their knowledge of each child so that the interactions, experiences, routines and events that each child engages in are relevant to them, respectful of their background and recognise and build on their current strengths, abilities and interests
  • Ensure that the interactions, experiences, routines and events included in the educational program maximise opportunities for children’s learning.

Educational programs planned in line with above guidance enable education and care services to meet the Standards of National Quality area 1. During assessment and rating Early Childhood Education and Care services are assessed against the following Standards and Elements of Quality Area 1:




                   Educational program and practice
Program The educational program enhances each child’s learning and development.
1.1.1 Approved learning framework



Curriculum decision-making contributes to each child’s learning and development outcomes in relation to their identity, connection with community, wellbeing, confidence as learners and effectiveness as communicators.


1.1.2 Child-centred


Each child’s current knowledge, strengths, ideas, culture, abilities and interests are the foundation of the program.



Program learning opportunities


All aspects of the program, including routines, are organised in ways that maximise opportunities for each child’s learning.


1.2 Practice


Educators facilitate and extend each child’s learning and development.


1.2.1 Intentional teaching


Educators are deliberate, purposeful, and thoughtful in their decisions and

Intentional teaching actions.


1.2.2 Responsive teaching and scaffolding


Educators respond to children’s ideas and play and extend children’s learning through open-ended questions, interactions and feedback.


1.2.3 Child directed learning



Each child’s agency is promoted, enabling them to make choices and decisions that influence events and their world.


1.3 Assessment and planning


Educators and co-ordinators take a planned and reflective approach to implementing the program for each child.


1.3.1 Assessment and planning cycle


Each child’s learning and development is assessed or evaluated as part of an ongoing cycle of observation, analysing learning, documentation, planning, implementation and reflection.


1.3.2 Critical reflection


Critical reflection on children’s learning and development, both as individuals and in groups, drives program planning and implementation.


1.3.3 Information for families


Families are informed about the program and their child’s progress.


Sourced from National Quality standard published by ACECQA https://www.acecqa.gov.au/sites/default/files/acecqa/files/NQF/Guide-to-the-NQF-3-Guide-to-the-NQS-Part-A.pdf

In our next blog we will share what assessors will observe in relation to each Standard and Element when the services undergo assessment and rating.