Xplor, Australia’s leading early learning software solution, has compiled an informative guide for childcare centres to help improve ratings in Quality Area 1 of the National Quality Standard (NQS). Available for free download, the guide combines recommendations from ACECQA with practical applications using software technology and acts as a handy resource for childcare owners and educators looking to improve the quality of service.
The guide is the first in a series of NQS guides prepared by Xplor to help centres improve ratings in each of the seven quality areas under the National Quality Framework (NQF). Xplor is one of the leading providers of early learning solutions and currently serves over 10,500 services across Australia and New Zealand through the QikKids and Xplor brands. Quality Area 1 (QA1) focuses on ensuring that the educational program, practice, assessment and planning for each child maximises learning opportunities for children.
“Xplor offers a single platform that makes it easy to document, store, and share individual children’s development. Having all this information in one place also makes it easy for educators to review child development critically.”
– Mark Woodland, CEO of Education at Xplor
The document includes software tips for educators who are taxed with taking observations by hand, preparing learning plans, documenting progress and finally sharing it with parents. It explains how child-centred programmes can be developed using cloud-based Educator apps, such as Playground, making it easier for educators to document activities using pictures and videos. Practical solutions include creating “Daily Synopsis Videos” for parents and building more profound relationships with families through consistent communication channels.
The NQS also places a lot of weight on the ongoing analysis of learning activities as well as ‘Information for Families’ (as in element 1.3.3). Therefore, updates from Playground can then be shared directly with parents in real-time through the secure and user-friendly parent app, Home, available for free on their smartphones.
“Services with high NQS ratings stand out among competition and gain parents trust over time.”Download Guide
The educational guide builds on data from Early Years Research, Australia’s leading first dedicated early education research portal, and provides evidence-based suggestions on ramping up documentation and planning in the centre. The Early Years Research Report 2021 finds that occupancy for centres Exceeding NQS was at 65%, compared to 49% for those rated Working Towards NQS. Following this information, the guide suggests that centres can use improved ratings to promote their services and increase occupancy.
For centres that want to Exceed NQS, the guide clarifies how NQS assessors look for an in-depth understanding of NQS requirements by childcare staff. In addition, it relays practical information regarding:
- Importance of maintaining a high NQS rating for your centre
- Implementing approved learning frameworks for child-centred learning
- Developing intentional and responsive teaching methods
- Critical reflection of child learning and development programs
- Using software to help with documentation and parent communication
A self-assessment checklist at the end of the downloadable document is meant to help educators work through each of the three standards under QA1 and ensure they have a working process for documentation, planning and sharing.
“According to Early Years Research, services using P&P (Programming and Planning) Software charged 10% higher ADRs and saw a 6% increase in revenue, amounting to $93 K,” said Mark Woodland, CEO of Education at Xplor. “Xplor offers a single platform that makes it easy to document, store, and share individual children’s development. Having all this information in one place also makes it easy for educators to review child development critically. The resulting analysis and improvements implemented will further enhance each child’s development, as well as improve ratings in QA1.”