Early Childhood Education in Australia is currently supported by the requirements of the National Quality Framework.

The National Quality Framework (NQF) was the result of an agreement between all Australian governments to work together to provide better educational and developmental outcomes for children.

The NQF introduced a new quality standard in 2012 to improve education and care across all prior to school services. The NQF was then reviewed and improved in October 2017.

The NQF aims to raise quality and drive continuous improvement and consistency in children’s education and care services through:

The National Law and National Regulations

The National Quality Standard

An Assessment and Quality Rating Process

National Approved Learning Frameworks

Regulatory Authority in each State and Territory responsible for the approval, monitoring and quality assessment of services in their state of territory

A National Body – ACECQA, which guides the implementation of the NQF and works with regulatory authorities.

The delivery of the NQF is guided by set objectives and guidelines to ensure consistent and effective function.

Preschools are assessed against the National Quality Standard (NQS) and the results published on the National Register mychild.gov.au

How Services Are Rated

The NQS rates these services against seven criteria:

  • QA1 Educational Program and Practice
  • QA2 Children’s Health and Safety
  • QA3 Physical Environment
  • QA4 Staffing Arrangements
  • QA5 Relationships with Children
  • QA6 Collaborative Partnerships with Families and Communities
  • QA7 Governance and Leadership

Each service is given an overall rating and an individual rating for each of the quality areas.

The ratings are:

  • Significant Improvement Required
  • Working towards NQS
  • Meeting NQS
  • Exceeding NQS
  • Excellent awarded by ACEQA

When choosing the right child care service for your child and family there are many aspects and considerations.

Not all services are the same.

There are many things that you will find that differ between services depending on the location and community, staff, resources available, governance and leadership, philosophy of the service and  daily program offered.

Some questions to ask you may wish to ask when visiting a preschool to help you make this important decision:


Can you give me a recent example of how you have extended children in their individual learning?

How many children come every day and how are they grouped?

How many University trained educators do you have working everyday in every class?

What opportunities will my child have to link with local schools in the year before school?

Can you tell me about your outdoor learning program? Is equal attention paid to the learning opportunities both inside and outside?

Can you tell me about your routine and how it is designed to meet children’s needs?

What strategies do you use for children displaying challenging behaviours?

How do all your educators stay current with their training?

How do you manage having consistency of staffing for the children and families? How long has each of your educators been working at this service?

What are all the ways I can find out how my child’s day was and how they are progressing?