What is it like to go through assessment and rating?
Since January 2012, many services around the country have undergone assessment and rating. Have two assessment and rating experiences been the same? Probably not. How can they be? Each service is unique in meeting the NQS elements and each assessor assesses differently.
Think about how we assess children’s learning. We collect information about the child to assess whether they are meeting the outcome. The assessor does exactly the same thing. They collect evidence about how we are meeting each element. It is up to us to ensure they understand how we do this. We can never just assume that they know. We need to ‘sell’ how we do what we do, and explain how we meet or exceed the element.
No one can tell you exactly what will be sighted, discussed and observed, and no one can tell you exactly how to meet the elements. As all services are unique, each service will meet the NQS elements differently and have their own unique practices. It is not like the past where we had to tick off certain evidence. (Remember we are not talking about the ECEC regulations . People can certainly tell you about those, and what you must do to comply.)
Why would we all want to be the same? That would not allow our professional expertise to shine through or allow us to create learning environments that reflect our children and families.
I think many of us are fearful of the unknown. What we must be is confident in our practice and know how we are meeting the NQS. We should be breaking the elements down then collaboratively assessing what we do. Reflecting upon and using research and new literature about early childhood practice is the next step in improving our practice. When we continuously identify small achievable steps to improve our practice we achieve better outcomes for our families and children.
Quality practice creates an environment that we are proud of, where children thrive and families feel that they belong. Quality improvement takes commitment by the entire team.
So… imagine if there was no such thing as the NQS. Shouldn’t we all still embrace reflective practice and quality improvement to be the best we can be? I know I wanted to be the best I could be as an educator and I wanted my service to be amazing. I wanted to be proud of what I/we did and I wanted my children to achieve.
What do you think?
Centre Support & ECEC Consultant