Quality Area 3

Quality Area 3: Physical Environment

This quality area of the National Quality Standard focuses on the physical environment and ensuring that it is safe, suitable and provides a rich and diverse range of experiences that promote children’s learning and development.

Standard 3.1 – The design and location of the premises is appropriate for the operation of a service.

Standard 3.2 – The environment is inclusive, promotes competence, independent exploration and learning through play.

Standard 3.3 – The service takes an active role in caring for its environment and contributes to a sustainable future.

Reference: Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) 2011, Guide to the National Quality Standard

WEBLINKS:

Active Play Everyday
A range of resources for educators and families to promote active play for all children everyday.

Children’s Risky Play
This series of articles discusses the concept of risky play and its benefits for children, the assessments of hazards and the implications that this may have for early childhood educators.

Cool Australia
Not for profit organisation dedicated to supporting teachers with tools to foster student learning for life. Supports Early Childhood centres to incorporate sustainability into their learning programs

Creating the Perfect Play Space*
This Professional Support Coordinator Alliance resource supports services to create outdoor play spaces that reflect the National Quality Standard.
*This resource in available via the IPSP online library: Select the title above, then select ‘Click here to access online’ to download from the IPSP online library

Eco-OOSH Sustainability Checklists 
These eco-checklists have been designed to support services to assess the level of sustainability in their services.

Eco-Resource Kit
The Eco-Resource Kit aims to provide educators, families and the wider community with consolidated information and resources about sustainable practices that can be promoted within families’ homes, early childhood settings and the wider community.

Education for Sustainability in the Early Years
A case study conducted by AuSSI-SA to look at sustainability in the early Childhood sector. A particular preschool was used to see how truly sustainable practices could be implemented.

Envirocom
Environmental consultancy that provides integrated services, research, planning, development, delivery and evaluation – on environmental education programs

Environmental Education in Early Childhood (Vic)
Environmental Education in Early Childhood (EEEC) is a non-profit organisation that provides support, resources and professional development in relation to Education for Sustainability in the Early Years.

Grow Me Safely
Grow Me Safely was developed by Kidsafe NSW to provide information for educators, parents and carers to engage children in gardening activities.

Growing Minds, Greening Communities
Growing Minds Greening Communities (GMGC) was a 2- year sustainability education project funded by the NSW Environmental Trust that involved 21 child care centres in the Shellharbour Local Government Area and their families. This PDF resource contains a range of resources for educators, children and families.

Inspiring Children’s Spirit of Stewardship 
A tool kit for early childhood programs (designed for ages 3-8) suggesting  fun ways for your early childhood program to focus on positive actions educators and  children can take together to help the world we share become a “greener” and healthier place.

Kids in Nature Network
This network promotes nature play in order to enhance child health, promote creative play and facilitate connection to the natural world.

Learning Spaces 1 – Outdoors
This Early Childhood Australia newsletter outlines the importance of the outdoor environment as a vehicle for learning and opportunities for teaching.

Learning Spaces 2 – Indoors
This Early Childhood Australia newsletter reminds us to be thoughtful in setting up our indoor spaces.

Nature Plays a Big Role in Childhood Happiness
James Lush speaks with Claire Warden from Scotland’s Nature Kindergarten, Adam Bienenstock from Natural Playgrounds in Canada and Toni Christie from New Zealand’s Childspace about how unstructured play can increase children’s overall behavior and happiness.

Outdoor Education WordPress
Research study on the benefits of risky play and outdoor play. Range of articles on topic.

Outdoor Learning in the Early Years
Research study on the benefits of risky play and outdoor play with a range of articles and ideas for early years settings. 

Planet Ark 
Planet Ark is a not-for-profit organisation that provides a range of information and events around sustainability and conservation.

Planet Ark Environment Action Plan for Schools
Following on from the Planet Ark website as listed above is this link to an Environment Action Plan for Schools for 2015. Great ideas for getting children and adults  involved in sustainable practices throughout the year – aimed at Primary Schools.

Play Australia
Play Australia promotes the value of healthy play opportunities for children across Australia. The website features resources, events and membership options.

Seed, Harvest, Spoon
Seed, Harvest, Spoon is a sustainability focused website that contains resources, web links, workshops and events specific to early childhood education and care services.

Uniting Care Gippsland
The Eco Resource Kit aims to provide educators, families and the wider community with consolidated information and resources about sustainable practices that can be promoted within families’ homes, early childhood settings and the wider community.

Victorian Child and Nature Connection (VCNC)
The VCNC is a network with involvement of community leaders from the health, education, environment and community fields. It promotes nature play in order to enhance child health, promote creative play and facilitate connection to the natural world.