Xplor, Australia’s leading early learning software solution, has released a guide containing practical and actionable strategies for childcare centres to help improve ratings in Quality Area 3 (QA3) of the National Quality Standard (NQS). The free guide draws on recommendations from ACECQA and combines them with practical strategies that childcare owners and educators can use to improve the physical environment of their facilities, thereby improving the quality of care available to children at their centre.
This guide is the third of seven guides in the series, each covering a different Quality Area of the NQS, with the goal of helping centres improve their NQS ratings. Serving over 10,500 centres across Australia and New Zealand, Xplor endeavours to help centres provide the best quality care they can to children and families. Quality Area 3 is concerned with the centre’s indoor and outdoor physical environment and how well these spaces meet the needs of children in care and support play-based learning.
“With restrictions around COVID-19, it is now more important than ever that centres focus on maintaining a safe and suitable environment for those key early development years.”—Matt Varley, CEO of Education at Xplor
How to Improve NQS Ratings in Quality Area 3 (Physical Environment) focuses on a common theme in improving NQS ratings—documentation. This guide outlines the types of things centres need to document, from the planning to implementing learning plans, as well as recording children’s daily activities as they interact with the environment.
48% of early learning services were rated Working Towards NQS in three to five quality areas of the NQS.ACECQA
The use of software can help ease the burden for educators and help track all the necessary documentation for a centre’s assessment. Therefore, the guide is populated with software tips on storing documents for Assessment and Rating, including floor plans, meeting notes, videos and learning outcomes. As with previous guides, the NQS QA3 Guide includes handy self-assessment checklists for Meeting and Exceeding NQS ratings.
What can you document for NQS Quality Area 3 using Programming and Planning tools?
- Indoor and outdoor floor plans, including evaluations of equipment and furniture.
- Records that cots and bedding meet Australian Standards.
- Cleaning and maintenance records of indoor and outdoor areas.
- Records of children involved in sustainability efforts at the service.
- Child portfolios with learning outcomes that are attached to the pictures and videos.
To learn more about how you can use software for NQS Assessments and Ratings, download our detailed guide.
How to Improve Your Ratings in NQS QA3
Matt Varley, CEO of Education at Xplor, highlighted the advantages for services of achieving high NQS ratings, especially as competition in the childcare sector increases.
“According to Early Years Research, 48% of early learning services were rated Working Towards NQS in three to five quality areas of the NQS,” Matt said. “With restrictions around COVID-19, it is now more important than ever that centres focus on maintaining a safe and suitable environment for those key early development years.”
“The ability for Xplor’s platform to document educators’ efforts will ensure they have access to essential documentation and evidence for quality checks when it’s time for the next assessment. Through our educator and parent apps, we continue to improve the childcare administration and learning experience for all those involved so that children can continue to receive access to high-quality care and early education. ”