The Australian government has recently released a set of guidelines (and a National Quality Framework) for early childhood care. Nothing particularly surprising in there, primarily it reads as an attempt to professionalise the sector, and bring a more educational focus to what might previously have been 'baby-sitting' programs. Key outtakes include;
- for kids 3+yrs, a staff ration of 1:10 (in NSW)
- an early childhood teacher present (part time is under 25 kids)
Of course, no framework would be complete without a standardised assessment battery. The Department has released a draft ratings tool that shows how services may be assessed to provide a uniform metric that will assist parents in making the right decision about where to send their kids.
I shouldn't be too harsh, their five outcomes for quality service aren't bad at all;
- Children have a strong sense of identity
- Children are connected with and contribute to their world
- Children have a strong sense of wellbeing
- Children are confident and involved learners
- Children are effective communicators
I mean heck, some of it even sounds disturbingly like it's recommending emergent curriculum development;
"Critical reflection and evaluation of each child’s learning and development, both as individuals and in groups, is consistently used as a primary source of information for planning and improves the effectiveness of the program and teaching strategies."
"The service actively engages in appropriate community projects and events contributing to children’s learning and wellbeing."
"Innovative use of natural elements and materials, and innovative design or adaptation for multiple uses in outdoor spaces provide an advanced learning and care environment for children."
Look out, they used the 'i' word! One does wonder exactly what "[w]ell developed behaviour guidance strategies preserve and promote the dignity and the rights of each child at all times" could means, but I'm sure people will figure it out.