One of the common discussions that I have recently had with educators is about Quality Area 1 – Educational Program and Practice, in particular QA 1.2: “Each child’s learning and development is assessed as part of an ongoing cycle of planning, documenting and evaluation.” (NQS)
In my experience, the planning cycle is an area that is often overlooked and has resulted in services not achieving the NQS rating that they had hoped for in Quality Area 1. The recent ACECQA snapshot identified this as an issue:
“Services are less likely to achieve Exceeding or Meeting NQS in Quality Area 1 – Educational Program and Practice, Quality Area 2 – Children’s Health and Safety, Quality Area 3 – Physical Environment, and Quality Area 7 – Leadership and Service Management.” (ACECQA snapshot May 2014) http://files.acecqa.gov.au/files/2014_ACECQA_Snapshot_Q1_May%202014.pdf
So let’s look at an example of planning, documenting and evaluation:
An observation was made by an educator about ‘Joe’ liking bugs. A learning story, or record, was made of Joe’s day at Kindergarten investigating bugs. The learning story identified the EYLF learning outcomes that were covered, recorded the child’s voice in the text, and documented Joe’s prior knowledge about bugs. The tone of the learning story was positive and created from the view of the child; it identified Joe as a capable and confident learner. It promoted a holistic view of the child, however the key link in the planning, documenting and evaluation cycle was missing: the ‘What’s Next?’ Educators may see benefit in considering the following points:
Planning: “What’s next?” What are you going to do with your observations? What is the next step for this child’s development? Could an Assessor look in this child’s individual program and observe a direct link between the child’s interests and abilities and the planned program?
Intended Outcomes: The language used to describe the “What’s next?” may include words like ‘support, develop, or extend’. Educators should consider ways to document learning goals for each child.
So, to all the educators who are reading this blog- ‘what’s next’ for you? Contact NQF Educational Consultancy today to discuss booking a consultant to review your programming practices in Quality Area 1.