EYLF and NQS Resources for Early Childhood Educators

Confused between the NQS and EYLF? Want to learn more about the five Learning Outcomes? Essential Resources provides practical resources to guide your teaching strategies for early childhood education. 

Our leading resources will explain the upcoming changes to Belonging, Being & Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. We will help you develop a better understanding of its three elements – Principles, Practices and Learning Outcomes. And yes, clarify what exactly the is difference between the National Quality Standard (NQS) and Early Years Learning Framework V2.0 (EYLF). 


What is the Early Years Learning Framework?

The full name for Early Years Learning Framework is Belonging, Being & Becoming: The Early Years Learning Frame for Australia. For short it is known as the EYLF.  

The EYLF is the national curriculum framework for early childhood education. It provides direction for early childhood educators to facilitate children’s learning, from birth to five years and through to school. 

The Framework has an overarching vision for children’s learning – belonging, being and becoming. Within the vision are three elements: Principles, Practices and Learning Outcomes.

The latest version of the EYLF uses eight Principles to guide early childhood educators. As explained in Principles and Practice for Driving the EYLF, the Principles are statements “that express values and beliefs, and underpin practice.” 

  • Secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships 
  • Partnerships 
  • Respect for diversity 
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives 
  • Equity, inclusion and high expectations 
  • Sustainability 
  • Critical reflection and ongoing professional learning 
  • Collaborative leadership and teamwork   

The second version of the EYLF has seven Practices. Principles and Practice for Driving the EYLF describes the practices as actions. They are “the things early childhood educators do to achieve or put into action a particular principle.”

  • Holistic, integrated and interconnected approaches 
  • Responsiveness to children 
  • Play-based learning and intentionality 
  • Learning environments 
  • Cultural responsiveness 
  • Continuity of learning and transitions 
  • Assessment and evaluation for learning, development and well-being. 

The second version of the EYLF will need to be implemented by providers by February 1, 2024. The Upcoming Changes to the EYLF Explained outlines these in more detail. 

What is the National Quality Standard?

The National Quality Standard is abbreviated to NQS, it is the benchmark for the quality of early childhood education (ECE) and care.   

The NQS is divided into seven Quality Areas:

  • Quality Area 1 – Educational program and practice 
  • Quality Area 2 – Children’s health and safety 
  • Quality Area 3 – Physical environment 
  • Quality Area 4 – Staffing arrangements 
  • Quality Area 5 – Relationships with children 
  • Quality Area 6 – Collaborative partnerships with families and communities 
  • Quality Area 7 – Governance and leadership   

Each Quality Area is further divided into several concepts. Each concept has a standard - what ECE providers have to continually do - associated with it. For example, QA1 is “educational program and practice.” QA1.2.1 is “intentional teaching.” To achieve this standard, educators need to be “deliberate, purposeful, and thoughtful in their decisions and actions.” 

ECE providers are assessed and rated against the seven Quality Areas of the NQS by state/territory regulatory authorities. An Exceeding rating is going above and beyond the Meeting NQS level. Our Exceeding the Standards will guide you to this rating.

What is your understanding of the NQF, NQS and EYLF?

The National Quality Framework (NQF) is Australia’s system for regulating early childhood education and care. It also covers outside school hours care services.

The NQF is made up of national laws and regulations, quality and assessment standards (namely the NQS), and learning frameworks (including the EYLF).