In December 2009 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to a unified National Quality Framework (NQF) for Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC). The quality reforms—which include clear standards, streamlined regulatory approaches, an assessment and rating system and a national learning framework—are being implemented over the period 2012 to 2020 as an initiative of the National Early Childhood Development Strategy.
The vision of the strategy is that 'by 2020 all children have the best start in life to create a better future for themselves, and for the nation' (COAG, 2009). The purpose of this Policy Brief is to consider the implications of current research and the role of quality assessment in delivering the National Early Childhood Development Strategy vision. Specifically, the Brief discusses the ECEC policy environment in Australia and outlines international evidence regarding the impact of ECEC quality components related to adult-child interactions and relationships.