The National Quality Framework (NQF) is the result of an agreement between all Australian governments to work together to provide better educational and developmental outcomes for children using education and care services.
The NQF introduces a new quality standard to improve education and care across long day care, family day care, preschool/kindergarten, and outside school hours care.
The need for a national approach
Quality education and care shapes every child’s future and lays the foundation for development and learning. The early years are critical for establishing self-esteem, resilience, healthy growth and capacity to learn.
Research shows quality education and care early in life leads to better health, education and employment outcomes later in life.
Children need quality care and attention that meets their individual needs. The two main influences on the quality of care are:
- caregiver qualifications, and
- lower staff to child ratios.
These factors are particularly beneficial for very young children and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Better caregiver qualifications
Substantial research shows that higher qualified educators improve outcomes for children. The higher their qualifications, the greater their understanding of child development, health and safety issues. These educators are better equipped to lead activities that inspire children and help them learn and develop.
Educator to child ratios
Improving educator to child ratios, allows staff to give more individual care and attention to each child and contributes to better social and learning outcomes for children. Educators are able to develop more effective and meaningful relationships with children, resulting in more engaged, happy and relaxed individuals.
What the NQF means for Australian families
The NQF is designed to give children the best possible start in life. It is a national system, designed to provide transparency and accountability.