How can we involve children in our QIP Process?

In Australia, early childhood services must have a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP). The QIP is designed to "help providers self-assess their performance in delivering quality education and care, and to plan future improvements. The QIP also helps regulatory authorities with assessing the quality of the service." (ACECQA)


Whose responsibility is it? 

While the ultimate responsibility of preparing a QIP and ensuring that it is available to families and submitted to the regulatory authority upon request lies with the Approved Provider, the service as a whole plays an important part in developing and updating the quality improvement plan. 

Sure, that sounds pretty simple right? Involve educators at team meetings through discussions and brainstorming and sharing. Ask families for input through surveys and displays. But what about children? How can we involve children in the process? And why should we? 


Why should we involve children in the QIP Process?

Children are the primary stakeholders in our early childhood services. They typically spend the most time there, and we create our environments and programs with them at the forefront. It makes sense that we gain their input and insight into what we are doing well as a service and where we can grow. 

Children see things through a different lens, their perspective is raw (and typically very unfiltered!) and they bring creative ideas that we may never come up with. 


How can we involved children in the QIP Process? 

The way you develop and maintain your QIP will vary depending on your service. Services develop their own approach that works for their unique context. There are some things we can consider though, when it comes to involving children:

  • Listen. Listen to what they say, and to what they don't say. 
  • Observe. Watching the way that children engage with the environment or the program, the way that they settle into care, the way that they connect with the educators in the environment, can help us to see areas where we can do better.
  • Make the QIP visible for children. Use photographs, artwork and story to make the QIP visible for children. Consider having a book or folder or display - something tangible that children can handle and connect with. 
  • Ask questions. This might be a formal gathering of children such as during a group time or morning meeting, or it could be an informal, spontaneous question while you are engaged with children. Use their responses to inform the QIP


Okay, I know what you're thinking - it's easy to get the input of a four year old, they never stop talking! But what about an infant or toddler? How do we capture their input? Our observational skills are going to be the most important tool here, and our ability to reflect on our observations. This is one of the things that I often say about observing children at play - it isn't just for the child. If we see ourselves as a researcher, we can seize the opportunity to reflect on our practices, our interactions, our environments, our resources, our programs. And, those reflections (both individually and in a team context) can help to inform our Quality Improvement Plan. 


Our QIPs should be living, breathing, meaningful documents. This means that they aren't always pretty - but they are a collection of voices and insights and ideas and reflections that document our goals and direction and achievements and growth. Of course children should be a part of that!


Want to know more about QIP's? 

We offer customised, in-house training for your team to discuss the importance of the QIP, practical strategies and more. Contact us for more information and a quote for your team. 

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