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Early Years Learning Framework

National Quality Framework

The Australian Government invested $2.5 million over 2008-09 to develop Australia’s first national Early Years Learning Framework.

What is the Early Years Learning Framework?

The Early Years Learning Framework is an early childhood curriculum framework, which will guide early childhood educators in developing quality, early childhood education programs. The framework describes the principles, practice and outcomes to support and enhance young children’s learning from birth to five years, as well as their transition to school. This will help ensure consistency in the delivery of learning programs around Australia.

How will the framework help my child?

Research shows that a child’s experience in their first five years sets the course for the rest of their life .In recognition of this, the Australian Government, in partnership with all state and territory governments, is supporting important changes to early childhood education and care in Australia. This will ensure that Australian children get the best possible start. Families can be confident that the framework will support early childhood educators to focus their practice on delivering quality learning opportunities for young children.

The Early Years Learning Framework will underpin universal access to early childhood education and be included in the National Quality Standard to ensure delivery of nationally-consistent and quality early childhood programs across the country. A Families Guide to the Early Years Learning Framework has been developed and is available on the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations website.

What are the key elements of the framework?

The Early Years Learning Framework has a strong emphasis on play-based learning. The framework also recognises the importance of communication and language (including early literacy and numeracy) and social and emotional development. In addition, the framework has a focus on successful transition to formal schooling.

When will the framework be implemented?

On 2 July 2009, COAG endorsed the Early Years Learning Framework. Implementation of the framework has now commenced.

Further information about the Early Years Learning Framework is available on the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations website

Why do we need a National Quality Framework?

Early childhood experts and professionals maintain that quality is critical when it comes to early childhood education and care – particularly in the first five years of a child’s life.

At the moment quality standards across early childhood education and care services vary across Australia and there is often limited information available to help families choose the best service for their children.

The National Quality Framework aims to raise the quality of education and care across Australian services by introducing a National Quality Standard – this is a standard that all services will have to work to. Other changes include increasing educator to child ratio’s, introducing qualification requirements and a national assessment and rating process.

These changes will provide families with information on the quality of care to help them make informed choices about which service will best meet their needs.

National Quality Standard

The National Quality Standard is divided into seven Quality Areas:

  1. Educational program and practice
  2. Children’s health and safety
  3. Physical environment
  4. Staffing arrangements
  5. Relationships with children
  6. Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
  7. Leadership and service management.

The National Quality Standard aims to promote:

  • the safety, health and wellbeing of children
  • a focus on achieving outcomes for children through high-quality educational programs
  • families’ understanding of what distinguishes a quality service.