Quality Area 1 – Educational Program and Practice

Quality Area 1 focuses on ensuring that the educational program and practice of educators are child-centred, stimulating and maximise opportunities for enhancing and extending each child’s play and learning.

In Outside School Hours Care a quality educational program views children as capable and competent learners who have agency and learn best through a play and leisure.  Additionally, in OSHC the educational program reflects an understanding of middle childhood and successfully outcomes for children are supported when educators act with intentionally to nurture the development of life skills and ensure that the program complements children’s experiences, opportunities and relationships at school, at home and in the community.

In all settings, including OSHC, the approved provider, nominated supervisor and educational leader are responsible for ensuring that programs for all children are based on an approved learning framework and delivered in accordance with that framework.  The National Quality Standard is linked to My Time, Our Place: Framework for School Age Care in Australia.

Quality Area 1 has three standards that focus on the educational program educational practice, and assessment and planning for each child’s learning and development. These standards are crucial to delivering quality outcomes for children under the National Quality Framework because:

  • An educational program that is based on an approved learning framework, is child-centred and maximised learning opportunities strongly contributes to children’s development as competent and engaged learners
  • Intentionality in school age settings is a recognised approach to facilitate each child’s learning and development
  • Responsive teaching values, scaffold sand extends each child’s strengths, skills, knowledge, interests and ideas, and child directed learning promotes children’s agency
  • Critical reflection informs the assessment and planning cycle and drives improvement in program and practice, resulting in continuous enhancements to children’s learning.
  • Families who are informed about the program and their child’s progress are better equipped to engage with the service and collaboratively make decisions that strengthen their child’s learning, development and wellbeing

Ref: DEEWR. Guide to the National Quality Framework. (2018).

Outside School Hours Care – online professional learning

Below is the ECA Learning Hub online professional learning designed for NSW OSHC educators that further unpacks key component of Quality Area 1 – Educational Program and Practice.

Planning in Outside School Hours Care (OSHC)

Price: Free | Register Today

Duration: 60 minutes

Description: OSHC educators will deepen their understanding of planning requirements in OSHC, as well as engage in critical reflection to design educational programs that align with the approved learning framework, are child-centred and intentional and based on play and leisure.

My Time, Our Place – Framework in School Age Care

Price: Free | Register Today

Duration: 60 minutes

Description: A comprehensive module that unpacks the key elements of the nationally approved learning framework ‘My Time, Our Place’.

Education program and practices

Elements Content Descriptor
1.1 Program
1.1.1 Approved learning framework Curriculum decision-making contributes to each child’s learning and development outcomes in relation to their identity, connection with community, wellbeing, confidence as learners and effectiveness as communicators.
1.1.2 Child-centred Each child’s current knowledge, strengths, ideas, culture, abilities and interests are the foundation of the program.
1.1.3 Program learning opportunities Each child’s current knowledge, strengths, ideas, culture, abilities and interests are the foundation of the program.
1.2 Practice
1.2.1 Intentional teaching Educators are deliberate, purposeful, and thoughtful in their decisions and actions.
1.2.2 Responsive teaching and scaffolding Educators respond to children’s ideas and play and extend children’s learning through open-ended questions, interactions and feedback.
1.2.3 Child directed learning Each child’s agency is promoted, enabling them to make choices and decisions that influence events and their world.
1.3 Assessment and planning Educators and coordinators take a planned and reflective approach to implementing the program for each child.
1.3.1 Assessment and planning cycle Each child’s learning and development is assessed or evaluated as part of an ongoing cycle of observation, analysing learning, documentation, planning, implementation and reflection.
1.3.2 Critical reflection Critical reflection on children’s learning and development, both as individuals and in groups, drives program planning and implementation.
1.3.3 Information for families Families are informed about the program and their child’s progress.

Additional free resources

ACECQA (2018). National Quality Standard Quality Area 1 – Educational program and practice poster. 

ACECQA (2018). My Time, Our Place – Educators’ Guide to the Framework for school age care in Australia

ACECQA (2018).  Information Sheet: Quality Area 1 – be part of reconciliation

ACECQA (2018).  Information Sheet Quality Area 1 Developing a culture of learning through reflective practice.

ACECQA (2018). Information Sheet Quality Area 1 Supporting agency: involving children in decision making.

Department of Education and Training (2011). My Time, Our Place – Framework for school age care in Australia.  

Network of Community Activities – Play resources 

Network of Community Activities -Encouraging children outdoors 

International Play Association – General comment of Article 31 – United Nations Convention on the rights of the child – video