Accreditation for NSW early childhood teachers

Merise Bickley, Head, Early Childhood at the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), discusses how early childhood teachers can use the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (the Standards) to reflect on their teaching practice.

As teachers begin their careers, they develop their practice and work towards accreditation at Proficient Teacher – the mandatory level of the Standards. The process for achieving Proficient Teacher provides teachers with a structured induction to the profession that consolidates the skills and knowledge they developed in their teaching qualification.

Once a teacher achieves accreditation at Proficient Teacher, they maintain their practice and currency of knowledge by continuing to use the Standards to reflect on their practice and to inform their professional development goals.

Engaging with the Standards

The Standards were developed by the teaching profession. They describe what effective teachers need to know and be able to do at four career stages: Graduate, Proficient Teacher, Highly Accomplished Teacher and Lead Teacher.

Engaging with the Standards involves reflecting on the 37 Standard Descriptors for a career stage to identify teaching practice and the impact on child learning.

Teachers can interrogate each Standard Descriptor by asking:

  • what is the practice I would be expected to show?
  • what is the impact I am expected to have?
  • what do I need to know and do to meet and demonstrate this Standard Descriptor?

Using these questions to reflect on teaching practice and impact is key to engaging with the Standards.

Pedagogical documentation organises information to make young children’s learning visible. Unpacking each Standard Descriptor to identify the practice and the impact described can help teachers better articulate and make teaching practice visible.

As an example, let’s look at the teaching practice and impact described in Standard Descriptor 2.2.2: Organise content into coherent, well sequenced learning and teaching programs.

Teaching practice and impact

Working with teacher colleagues to unpack the Standard Descriptors in this way can provide opportunities for early childhood teachers to build collegial networks and share expertise across the profession.

Australian Professional Standards for teachers
• Know students and how they learn.
• Know the content and how to teach it.
• Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning.
• Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments.
• Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning.
• Engage in professional learning.
• Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers and the community.

Visit for more information. Get in touch with NESA at