Quality Area 6 – Collaborative partnerships with families and communities

Essential to achieving quality outcomes for children in all education and care services is achieving collaborative relationships with families, engaging with the services community and building and maintaining effective partnerships. Quality Area 6 focuses on supportive, respectful relationships with families as well as community partnerships that are based on active communication; consultation and collaboration also contribute to children’s inclusion, learning and wellbeing.

When families and services collaborate and build respectful relationships, children have the opportunity to develop a positive sense of self and experience respectful relationships. Likewise child, families and the service do not exist in isolation; they are part of a much wider community. Children benefit from services engaging with local communities because these partnerships strengthen children’s interest and skills in being active contributors to their community

Quality Area 6 has two standards that support building collaborative partnerships with families and communities to enhance children’s inclusion, learning and wellbeing as they transition through the early years into school and/or attend outside school hours care services. These standards are crucial to delivering quality outcomes for children under the National Quality Framework because:

  • authentic family engagement encourages the active participation of each child and their family in service decisions and the educational program
  • reflecting on inclusive practice helps the service to identify and remove potential barriers to an inclusive environment and support the wellbeing of all children and families
  • community engagement helps the service to build relationships between each child, the families of the service and the community they reside in, and encourages each child to develop their identity within the context of their local community
  • as well as enriching programs, practices and policies, it provides an opportunity to support children to respect and value diversity.

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 a key component of Quality Area 4 – staffing arrangements.

The ECA Learning Hub is an online Learning Management System – all your learning will be saved in the one location and can be downloaded and printed for your records.

Connecting and collaborating with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities.

Price: Free |

Duration: 60 minutes

Description: This module uses video vignettes with a subject matter expert to explore the importance of engaging with Aboriginal communities.

Key objectives within this module includes:

  • The role of relationships and relationship building with community members
  • Developing an understanding of family-centred practices and relational pedagogy
  • Incorporating Aboriginal perspectives into educational programs and educators curriculum decision making

Throughout the module outside school hours care educators will consider their own cultural competence through a series of reflective tasks.

Collaborative partnerships with families and communities

Elements Content Descriptor
6.1 Supportive relationships with families Respectful relationships with families are developed and maintained and families are supported in their parenting role. 
6.1.1 Engagement with the service Families are supported from enrolment to be involved in the service and contribute to service decisions.
6.1.2 Parent views are respect culture The expertise, culture, values and beliefs of families are respected and families share in decision-making about their child’s learning and wellbeing.
6.1.3 Families are supported Current information is available to families about the service and relevant community services and resources to support parenting and family wellbeing.
6.2 Collaborative partnerships Collaborative partnerships enhance children’s inclusions, learning and wellbeing. 
6.2.1 Transitions Continuity of learning and transitions for each child are supported by sharing information and clarifying responsibilities.
6.2.2 Access and participation Effective partnerships support children’s access, inclusion and participation in the program.
6.2.3 Community engagement The service builds relationships and engages with its community.

Additional free resources

ACECQA. (2018). Engaging with Aboriginal Communities – Where do we start?

ACECQA. (2018) Information sheet – Building partnerships with families

ACECQA. (2081). National Quality Standard  –  Quality Area 6 – Poster

ACECQA. (2018). We Hear You – Collaboration, respect and support: Relationships and partnerships with families and communities. 

Big Fat Smile. (2018). Honouring Indigenous Connections – linking culture to education and care practice. 

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. (2011). Promoting Collaborative Partnerships between School Age Care Services and Schools.

ECA Learning Hub Reconciliation resources  – a comprehensive list of resources and online information about supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educators, cultural awareness, events and celebrations, relationships with families, creating culturally welcoming spaces and more.

KU Children’s Services. (2018) NSW/ACT Inclusion Agency – Information sheet

Network of community activities. (2018). Including children with disability in Outside School Hours Care: A Guide

Network of Community Activities. (2013). Talking to Parents About the Hard Issues

NSW/ACT Inclusion Agency – web page