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Reflections Magazine : Reflections Magazine Issue 55 Winter 2014
10 reflect on how they model environmentally friendly practices and what messages the service conveys to children about valuing the environment and its resources. The Inclusion Professional Support Program (IPSP) online library offers educators the opportunity to search under subject matter and provides details of a number of up-to-date resources that will assist services in meeting the NQS. For example, if looking for information on sustainability, a Gowrie Tasmania fact sheet can be found that unpacks what children learn through gardening activities. The Early Childhood Australia website also has a range of resources, newsletters and videos on this subject. For example, E-Newsletter No 67 focuses on embedding sustainability in practice. Your Professional Support Coordinator (PSC) and peak organisations are valuable contacts to identify additional resources and professional development opportunities available. Services rated as 'Working Towards' should contact their PSC to access Intensive Support. The PSCs are funded by the Australian Government Department of Education to provide comprehensive and in-depth support to eligible services who may be experiencing challenges or who have received a rating of 'Working Towards'. As part of this program, skilled consultants work with a service's leaders and educators to provide a wide range of strategies (including visits, exchange programs, telephone and email support) to guide and support improvement in education and care practices. ACECQA recently spoke with consultants working with these services. Based on their experiences, they agreed that to maximise success, it is essential that approved providers, management, educators, staff and the educational leader share a commitment and willingness to work collaboratively. Working together to develop and implement prioritised strategies is vital in enhancing outcomes for children and families using the service. While the consultants can support, resource, mentor and challenge educators, to be effective, meaningful and long-lasting changes need to be driven from within the service. Developing a culture of ongoing critical reflection will support this. The service leaders (approved providers, directors, coordinators and educational leaders) have an important role to play in mentoring and supporting educators to critically reflect on their practices and implement sustainable changes. Eligible long day care centres are set to receive financial support for professional development from the Australian Government from a new program, so it is important that reputable and targeted professional development is chosen to assist the service to meet or exceed the NQS. The Department of Education will be providing further information about the new program, including information to help providers to choose effective professional development, on its website shortly. If your service has made considerable improvements since your initial rating, you may want to consider applying for a reassessment and re-rating. An application for reassessment and re-rating can only be made once every two years and must be made in writing to your regulatory authority, including the relevant information and fee. For additional information refer to section 139 of the Education and Care Services National Law and regulation 66 of the National Regulations. Apart from the online resources listed above, please bear in mind that there are also numerous hard copy resources available for purchase or borrowing from libraries. There are also a number of books available on the subject.
Issue 56 Spring 2014
Reflections Magazine Issue 54