Research shows that quality education and care early in life leads to better health, education, and employment outcomes later in life. At Mother Duck, we stand behind the Queensland Government’s belief that a great start for all children occurs when we provide environments and opportunities that establish and promote the development of self-esteem, and resilience, encourage healthy growth, and inspire and support each child’s capacity to learn – https://earlychildhood.qld.gov.au/
At Mother Duck, we are committed to upholding the rights of all children and acknowledging the place childhood has as a unique and critical part of the human lifespan. By inviting children to engage in meaningful and purposeful experiences, we promote their natural desire for learning through playful curiosity, inquiry and wonder. Children use these important thinking skills to investigate an environment that supports the growth of positive and respectful relationships with others, which in turn nurtures each child’s sense of well-being, identity, self-worth and joy. – The Philosophy, Ethics and Social Responsibility of Mother Duck Child Care and Kindergarten (Philosophy, Ethics & SR Final (V6) July 2022)
On 1 January 2012, the National Quality Framework (NQF) commenced in Queensland. This framework aimed to improve the quality of early childhood education and care services in Australia by ensuring the safety, health, and well-being of children attending services, through improving educational and developmental outcomes for children, and by promoting continuous improvement.
The NQF applies to most education and care services including long day care centres, outside school hours care, family day care, and kindergartens, and operates under a nationally applied law system comprising of the Education and Care Services National Law and the Education and Care Services National Regulations. As our Mother Duck services fall into the service type of long day care centres, there are legal requirements that all our services must comply with, including:
- the number of staff and their qualifications
- ensuring children’s health and safety
- service space and layout
- the quality of developmental and learning experiences for children.
The Education and Care Services National Regulations also include the National Quality Standards (NQS), 7 quality areas that form the basis of ratings and assessment. The following links will take you to the ACECQA website for more information on each of the 7 quality areas:
- Educational program and practice External link
- Children’s health and safety External link
- Physical environment External link
- Staffing arrangements External link
- Relationships with children External link
- Collaborative partnerships with families and communities External link
- Governance and leadership
To achieve a service rating there are a number of steps in the assessment and rating process –
- Every Mother Duck service must create a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) that identifies strengths and areas for improvement on an ongoing basis.
- The Regulatory Authority (Queensland Government, Department of Education, Early Childhood Education and Care) then provides written notice that the assessment and rating process has commenced.
- The quality improvement plan is submitted to the Regulatory Authority prior to the visit, along with any additional information requested.
- The Regulatory Authority attends the service for anywhere from 3 – 4 days to assess against the 7 quality areas, take observations and observe practice.
- 3-5 weeks after the visit the Regulatory Authority provides the service with a draft assessment and rating report and offers the opportunity for the service to provide feedback on any factual inaccuracies in the report and evidence to support feedback.
- Any feedback received is considered and the final report is issued.
- Once the review period has ended, the final ratings are published on the national registers.
Our national quality system sets a high bar for all services across Australia, and ratings assessed for each of our Mother Duck services confirm that we provide quality education and care in all quality areas. Since 2012 every Mother Duck service has been assessed and rated against the 7 quality areas and each of our services has received an overall rating of either Meeting or Exceeding National Quality Standard. This means that every Mother Duck service meets the NQS and provides quality education and care in all 7 quality areas or goes beyond the requirements of the NQS in at least 4 of the 7 quality areas.
As per legislative requirements, you will find information displayed in each of our Mother Duck service’s foyers displaying the ratings achieved. You can also discuss quality ratings with your child’s service at any time to learn how they are working to meet the NQS.
Additionally, you can visit the StartingBlocks.gov.au website which provides information about the early childhood education and care industry and contains a number of resources to support your decision making for your child and family. The Starting Blocks See our checklist resource will assist you to spot quality when you visit your child’s education and care service.
Please remember that even though your Mother Duck service works extremely hard to achieve its highest rating against the National Quality Standards when their assessment and rating time comes around, this is merely a point in time subjective evaluation. At Mother Duck, you will find that every day, on each occasion, throughout the years even when your Mother Duck service is not under assessment that our organisation is committed to delivering the highest quality education and care for children that is being critically reflected on, embedded in everyday practice and collaborated in partnership with our families and local communities.