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How Daycare Ratings Are Determined

How Daycare Ratings Are Determined

To ensure that you and your children get the best from your childcare, every centre in Australia is assessed and rated by their state regulatory authority, using seven quality areas of the National Quality Standard. This standard creates a benchmark for every centre to meet and exceed, while helping parents make an informed decision about which centre to send their child to. In this article, we’ll look at how daycare ratings are determined, and how they benefit you as a parent or guardian.  

Initial self assessment 

In the first part of the daycare ratings process, each childcare centre performs a self assessment. This assessment allows the centre to reevaluate its previous policies, procedures and practices, and review any changes they have made to their plan. Self assessments encourage early childcare centres to proactively improve and strive to deliver better quality service for every child and their parents from within. The self assessment is then used to give the assessor history and background on the centre, that they can use to better assess it. 

Assessments

The assessors then visit the early childcare centre. The assessment usually takes two days, in which the assessor spends that time observing interactions between the educators and the children. Doing this educates them on how the children are treated, how supported each child is and how much attention each child receives. The assessment also includes managers and educators answering questions about the centre’s program and practises, governance, and any item of interest in the quality improvement plan. 

During the assessment, the assessor is looking to gain insight around the 7 quality standards of the National Quality Standard (NQS). These are –

Educational program and practice

Here, the assessor is looking at the centre’s educational program, as well as whether their practices are child-centred, stimulating and maximising opportunities for enhancing each child’s learning and development at the centre.

Children’s health and safety

Here, the assessor is looking at whether the children have access to quality education and care in an environment that safeguards and promotes their health, safety and wellbeing.

Physical environment

The assessor checks whether the centre is deemed a physically safe environment, and provides a rich and diverse range of experiences that promote children’s learning and development.

Staffing arrangements

The assessor checks to ensure qualified and experienced educators, who develop warm, respectful relationships with children, create predictable environments and encourage children’s active engagement in the learning program.

Relationships with children

The assessor ensures that the relationships that educators have with children are responsive, respectful and promote the children’s sense of security and belonging.

Collaborative partnerships with families and communities

The assessor ensures that the centre’s relationship with families includes good communication, consistent consultation and ongoing collaboration. 

Governance and leadership

The assessor checks that there is effective leadership and governance of the service, which contributes to a quality environment for the children’s learning and development. They also check that the leaders are effective in establishing shared values for the centre and set clear direction for the centre’s continuous improvement.

Daycare Ratings Reports 

Once the assessment is complete, a report is compiled. It contains the assessors finding’s as well as the rating they have decided upon. The centre then has the opportunity to feed back on the report and resolve any inaccuracies. Finally, each centre is awarded a daycare rating for each of the standards, as well as an overall rating. The ratings are recorded and accessible on the ACECQA website, which families can then view. 

How daycare ratings help you 

Daycare ratings are important because they keep centres accountable in maintaining the best quality services possible. But they also help prospective parents who are looking for a child care centre for their little one. The more quality standards a centre meets the higher their rating will be, and parents should narrow down the list of centres they’re considering to those with the highest ratings. One of the best tools for reviewing different centres is the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority website. Here you’ll be able to see which centres don’t just meet the standards but exceed as many of them as possible. You’ll also be able to see what a centre’s previous rating was, and where they exceeded the standard, compared to their current rating, and where they are currently stronger and weaker.   

Aiming for excellence

Daycare ratings are a great tool to help parents make a choice about which centre to send their child to, giving them confidence in the knowledge that the centre they choose meets the  very high standards set out by the ACECQA. Daycare ratings also create a national benchmark, which encourages each centre to strive for excellence as a team, which is beneficial to everyone. 

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