National frameworks for early childhood teaching
The following national frameworks support quality early childhood teaching to ensure quality outcomes for all young children.
The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers
The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (the Standards) are a public statement of what constitutes teacher quality. They are aimed at all teachers, including early childhood teachers and other
teachers based in non-school settings.
The Standards consist of seven standards, which teachers will meet at differing levels depending on their career stage and level of experience. Teachers need to evidence certain requirements of the Standards to become a registered teacher or achieve Highly
Accomplished and Lead certification.
The glossary below will help early childhood teachers apply the Standards to their practice.
- Students taught by a teacher in a school
- Children taught by a teacher in an early childhood setting
- Students/children taught by a teacher in other education settings
Education settings, including:
- Early childhood education and care services
- Other locations where teaching and learning occurs
- Lessons taught by a teacher in a school
- Learning opportunities taught by a teacher in an early childhood setting
- Lessons or learning opportunities taught by a teacher in other education settings
Physical environment where learning takes place, including:
- Classrooms in schools
- Rooms in early childhood education and care services
- Other areas where teaching and learning occurs
Apply the Standards to your practice
Professional learning to strengthen understanding and application of the
Illustrations of Practice
AITSL has developed Illustrations of Practice showcasing teaching practice from across Australia at the four career stages of the Standards. The videos include a range of different pedagogical approaches so you can take away real learnings to apply to
your own teaching. Explore these videos which focus on early childhood teaching practice.
Illustration of Practice: Engaging students: An early childhood teacher models innovative practice and explores new ways to engage students in school
Illustration of Practice: Curriculum and Pedagogy in the early years: In the teacher’s pre-primary and year 1 room,
students undertake different kinds of mathematical tasks.
Illustration of Practice: Focused on learning: An early childhood teacher establishes class rules and expectations and sets up procedures that
keep young children consistently focused on classroom tasks.
Illustration of Practice: Establishing a program inclusive of children with disability: In this Illustration,
four-year-old kindergarten teacher Mel works closely with one child with a hearing device to support her literacy achievement.
Illustration of Practice: How many syllables in hippopotamus?: In this Illustration, Glenda explains her
process for developing a love of literacy in her kindergarten classroom.
Illustration of Practice: Setting expectations for using ICT: The use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
requires a well-thought approach, and in this Illustration, Mel, the four-year-old kindergarten teacher, explains how she effectively integrates ICT into her program.
Illustration of Practice: Community partnerships to improve literacy: Looking for ways to improve literacy outcomes in
the local rural community, Glenda identified an opportunity for increased community engagement.
Illustration of Practice: Ongoing informal assessment: One of a team of teachers at Selandra kindergarten, Debbie, works with an individual
child to review his understanding of the life cycle of butterflies and to identify his learning needs.
Illustration of Practice: Dinosaurs roar!: In this Illustration, Hebba, the teacher, describes her process for expanding and exploring children's
interests using the ongoing cycle of planning.
Illustration of Practice: Inquiry learning in play spaces: An early childhood teacher shares how she plans for and implements a structured
inquiry program working from students’ interests to achieve curriculum goals.
Illustration of Practice: Multilingual approaches to teaching and learning: A teacher in a remote Indigenous community
is responsible for teaching literacy across all levels of the school. In the video, she works initially with students in the kindergarten using an oral language focus.
Embracing food, culture, and community in early years education: In this early childhood setting, the teacher aims to develop
children’s knowledge of food and culture through a series of interactive classroom activities, including parents and carers from the local community.
National Quality Framework
The National Quality Framework (NQF) provides a national approach to regulation, assessment and quality improvement for early childhood education and care and outside school hours care services across Australia.
The NQF introduced a new quality standard in 2012 to improve education and care across long day care, family day care, preschool/kindergarten, and outside school hours care services. It includes:
The NQF defines the regulatory requirements that services must comply with to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of children. The National Quality Standard (NQS) sets a national benchmark for the quality of education and care services and includes
seven quality areas that are important to outcomes for children.
Apply the NQF to your practice
The Guide to the National Quality Framework (acecqa.gov.au) helps education and care providers, educators, and regulatory authorities, including
authorised officers, understand and apply the requirements of the NQF.
NQF snapshots (acecqa.gov.au) provides analysis and information on the profile of the sector and the quality ratings of services, including by service and provider management type.
Educators. My Time, Our Place. Educators’ Guide to the Framework for school age care in Australia (acecqa.gov.au) was developed to support the professional
practice of those who are responsible for the interactions, experiences, routines and events, planned and unplanned that occur in a school-age care environment designed to foster children’s wellbeing, development and learning. It focuses on
aspects of pedagogy, including building and nurturing relationships, program decision-making, teaching and learning.
Resources for service leaders
Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia
(acecqa.gov.au) is Australia’s first national early years learning framework for early childhood educators. The aim of this document is to extend and enrich children’s learning from birth to five years and through the transition to school.
The EYLF forms the foundation for ensuring that children in all early childhood education and care settings experience quality teaching and learning. It has a specific emphasis on play-based learning and recognises the importance of communication and
language (including early literacy and numeracy) and social and emotional development. It has been designed for use by early childhood educators working in partnership with families, children’s first and most influential educators.
The EYLF establishes principles, practices and outcomes for young children in prior-to-school age settings. It forms part of the NQF.
Apply the EYLF to your practice
Educators’ Guide to the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia is designed to be used in interactive
ways to promote in-depth conversations and thinking over a sustained period about the concepts which build the EYLF. It is not intended to be read in one sitting. Rather, individuals and teams of educators may find it helpful to ‘dip’
into the Guide at different points, to focus on one section at a time, and to begin with the section of most interest to them. Most readers will find it helpful to read the EYLF before turning to the Educator’s Guide.
Further resources that support professional practice
Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL)
AITSL develops expertise and empowers teachers and school leaders to create better education outcomes for Australian children.
Early Childhood Teaching Performance Assessments provides information on how Teaching Performance Assessments
can be undertaken in early childhood settings
Spotlight. Celebrating Early Childhood Teachers is an evidence-based report on the value of early childhood teachers in Australia.
Connecting early childhood teachers to high quality professional learning a quick guide for early
childhood teachers and leaders.
Australian Children’s Education Quality Authority (ACECQA)
ACECQA works with all governments to provide guidance, resources and services to support the sector to improve outcomes for children.
Quality improvement research project (acecqa.gov.au) details findings from research commissioned by ACECQA on the drivers of quality improvement (conducted by Macquarie University, Queensland University
of Technology and Edith Cowan University in 2019). The research focused on long day care services that had improved their overall quality rating. It identified practices supporting of quality improvement in educational programs and practice and governance
Practical ideas to support continuous quality improvement information sheet (acecqa.gov.au) provides practical ideas for approved providers, service leaders, teachers and educators to support continuous
Resources for leaders
Educational Leadership (acecqa.gov.au) has many resources for educational leaders. The role of the educational leader is the focus of Standard 7.2 of the National Quality Standard
– Governance and leadership. Where effective leadership establishes a culture of reflective practice to encourage continuous improvement across all aspects of the service, the role of educational leader supports this culture and community through
leading the development and implementation of the educational program and assessment, as well as the planning cycle.
Early Childhood Australia (ECA)
ECA promotes and works towards what is best for children and the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) sector to produce a variety of resources for members and the broader sector to include early childhood educators, services, academics and students.
Early Childhood Australia: Exploring Professional Learning (earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au) gives an overview of some of ECA’s
professional learning, including online modules and webinars, publications and printed resources, and events.
Early Childhood Australia: Learning Hub (earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au) is designed to help educators gain a thorough and practical understanding of standards, frameworks and research
about quality practice. It is also designed to be accessible, affordable and contemporary to ensure quality professional learning is available, no matter where and when it is needed. A library of over 90 self-paced modules, interactive webcasts and
on-demand webinars across a breadth of topics ranging from pedagogy, WH&S, planning and leadership are available on the hub.
Connecting with practice videos and supporting resources can be used to promote discussion and critical reflection among children’s education
and care teachers and educators.
National Indigenous Australian Agency (NIAA)
NIWA works to implement the Government’s policies and programs to improve the lives of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Early Childhood Strategy (niaa.gov.au) provides a community-informed and evidence-based pathway to achieve
the National Agreement on Closing the Gap targets and outcomes for early childhood and to fulfil joint commitments to the Priority Reforms.
Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO)
AERO works to achieve excellence and equity in educational outcomes for all children and young people through the effective use of evidence.
Australian Education Research Organisation: Family engagement for learning collection summarises the research evidence about how early childhood
and care can engage with families to support children’s early learning and development and students’ learning outcomes.