CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework :
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CHCECE034 Use an approved learning framework to guide practice
|Date||Version||Summary of changes||Responsible|
|April 2022||V1.0||New development adapted from Compliance||R Beeston|
Copyright © 2022 Malekhu Investments trading as Queensford College. All rights reserved.
Table of contents
- Identify learning frameworks……………………………………………………………………………… 4
- Investigate the function of a learning framework in the context of children’s education and care 4
- Source and correctly interpret information on content of the relevant framework . 7
- Apply the learning framework………………………………………………………………………….. 16
- Determine how the framework is applied to support educators’ practice…………. 16
- Reflect on use of the learning framework………………………………………………………….. 27
- Use positive examples from own experience and workplace observation as the basis for development of own practice………………………………………………………………………………. 29
The early years in a child’s life offer great potential for tremendous growth and development. Australia has recognised this window of opportunity in shaping a child’s future on CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework and has set in place a National Quality Framework (NQF). The NQF consists of the following:
- National Law and National Regulations
- National Quality Standard
- assessment and quality rating process
- national learning frameworks
These are in place to guide all early childhood and care services on how they can regulate their operations, assess their processes, and improve on their services.
This Learning Guide will focus on the nationally approved learning framework to help guide your practice. The national learning frameworks serve as the basic structure for all educational programs. As an educator, it is important for you to understand the applicable learning framework for your practice and how you can use it to support children’s learning and development.
In this Learning Guide, you will learn to identify learning frameworks, apply the learning framework for your practice and reflect on the use of the learning framework.
‘All children have the best start in life to create a better future for themselves and for the nation.’
Learning frameworks are developed to ensure educational programs for children facilitate their learning in the best way possible. They are generally approved by government bodies after thorough research and input from experts. They are created to guide educators in creating curriculums and provide outlines for planning lessons and evaluating quality.
As an educator, you are responsible for making sure that the children under your care have quality learning experiences. Thus, it is essential you can identify the learning framework CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework that best applies to your practice.
This chapter will discuss how you can:
- investigate the function of a learning framework in the context of children’s education and care
- determine the approved learning framework that applies to the service
- source and correctly interpret information on the content of the relevant framework
- clarify the relationship between the framework and other aspects of relevant law and regulations
1.1 Investigate the function of a learning framework in the context of children’s education and care
There are two nationally approved learning frameworks for educational programs in Australia:
- Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (EYLF), which focuses on children below five years old.
- My Time, Our Place: A Framework for School Age Care in Australia, which focuses on school-age children.
- There is also an existing approved learning framework for Victoria: the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Network.
Early childhood education and care services are required by the law to follow the approved learning frameworks in their education programs. These CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework frameworks outline the practices that support children’s learning and development and encourage educators to use critical reflection.
Knowing the function of these learning frameworks will help you understand how you can best utilise them in your practice, which in turn, will allow you to provide quality education and care for children.
The function of a learning framework refers to the purpose for which it was created.
In 1945, Australia become a founding signatory of the United Nations. The United Nations is an intergovernmental organisation created for the harmony of nations. In 1990, Australia agreed to the treaty on children’s rights also known as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The CRC outlines four principles:
- respect for the best interests of the child as a primary consideration
- the right to survival and development
- the right of all children to express their views freely on all matters affecting them
- the right of all children to enjoy all the rights of the CRC without discrimination of any kind
These principles paved the way for the creation of approved learning CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework frameworks in Australia. The primary purpose of which is to ensure consistency of support and services for all children and families with the establishment of the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care.
The goal of learning frameworks is to guide educators in developing learning CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework activities that follow approved practices. They provide examples of how the CRC principles can be adapted in daily routines and practices involving children.
Learning frameworks may also be used in the development of CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework policies and procedures in your organisation. To understand how learning frameworks are used you can:
- Consult the existing curriculum in your centre or organisation
- Does the curriculum follow education and care standards?
- How was the curriculum created?
- Inquire about your organisational policies and procedures – What policies and CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework procedures does your organisation have relevant to its educational program?
- Research about approved learning frameworks in your state or territory – Is there an existing learning framework used in your state or territory?
- Ask your supervisor or colleagues about existing practices and activities
- Where are the existing practices and activities based?
- What practices are implemented by your organisation?
As discussed earlier in Subchapter 1.1, there are two nationally approved learning frameworks for educational programs in Australia:
- Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) – Belonging, Being, & Becoming: The
Early Years Learning Framework is catered towards children below the age of five, with the aim of maximising their potential. The EYLF aims to develop the learning capabilities of children through play, as well as to assist them in transferring from a home-based setting to a learning centre one. In a sense, the EYLF gives young children a solid foundation that they build upon once they get older.
- My Time, Our Place – In contrast, My Time, Our Place is a CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework framework directed at school age children, ranging from six to twelve years. This framework builds upon the EYLF by supporting child development through undemanding activities. In this framework, children start to have more say in how they learn and grow.
- There is also an existing approved learning framework for Victoria called the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Network.
Some key differences between the two different frameworks:
|Early Years Learning Framework||My Time, Our Place|
|Aimed at children below five years||For children ages six to twelve|
|Aids in transition from home to school||Gives children already in school chances to improve themselves|
|A partnership between the centre and the children’s families||Involves the centre, the families, as well as the community|
|Provides children a solid foundation to build upon in later years||Builds upon the foundation created by the EYLF|
Early childhood education and care services are mandated by the law to follow the approved learning frameworks in their education programs. To determine which approved learning framework applies to your service, you may do the following:
- Identify the scope of your service – You should know the extent of your services. Answering the following questions can help you identify the scope of your services:
- Who are my services for?
- How old will the children under my care be?
- What development stage are these children in?
- What are the services that I will be providing?
- Where will my services be provided?
- Consult your supervisor – You may always inquire about existing learning CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework frameworks used by your organisation. Your supervisor can help you identify the best learning framework that you can use. You may also inquire about the historically used frameworks of your organisation for services like yours.
The State of Victoria also has a similar framework, the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework for early childhood education.
To give focus on the early childhood education and care setting, the approved framework for this Learner Guide will be the Early Years Learning Framework.
After you have determined the approved learning CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework framework that applies to your service, it is important that you understand what it entails.
You are responsible for implementing the education program for the children under your care. For you to properly do this, it is imperative that you understand what the learning framework is about.
To source refers to the act of obtaining information about the relevant framework. As established in the previous subchapter, the relevant CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework framework for this learner guide is the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF).
The EYLF, also known as Belonging, Being & Becoming, may be found on the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) website. ACECQA assists governments in administering the National Quality Framework (NQF). From their website, you may find downloadable resources for research and learning purposes.
There are other sources that may discuss information about the vision, principles, practices and learning outcomes of the EYLF.
Relevant sources may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- research papers
- news articles
- government websites
- conference papers.
It is important to check if the information is from a reliable source.
The list below provides you with some of the questions you may check to verify reliability:
|Things to check|
|Is this material published within the last 10 years?|
|Is this article written by respectable authors?|
|Is this website registered by a government or educational institution?|
|Is this from an academic database?|
|Things to check|
|Is there a proper reference or citation used for this?|
Vision and pedagogy
The EYLF envisions children’s lives as characterised by belonging, being and becoming.
‘From before birth children are connected to family, community, culture, and place. Their earliest development and learning take place through these relationships, particularly within families, who are children’s first and most influential educators. As children participate in everyday life, they develop interests and construct their own identities and understandings of the world.’
|Belonging||Children experience belonging when they know where and with whom they belong. This recognises children’s interdependence with others and its role in defining their identities.|
|Being||Early childhood years is not solely a time of preparation for the future but also about the present.|
|Becoming||Children experience change as they learn and grow. These changes shape their identities as they turn into adults.|
Pedagogical practices are CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework strategies and practices educators use to achieve learning outcomes. It is the holistic nature of professional practice. Practices in line with the EYLF use holistic approaches, are responsive to children, and value the cultural and social contexts that children belong to when they promote learning. The learning outcomes the framework strives for are observable and acknowledge children learn things in different ways. The EYLF has three fundamental elements:
The EYLF has five principles:
- Secure, respectful, and reciprocal relationships – Because children’s first relationships are the foundation of their learning, educators need to help them feel secure and respected by building nurturing and consistent emotional relationships. In turn, children can develop confidence and empathy which allow them to have
positive interactions with others.
- Partnerships – Early childhood educators are not the sole authorities of a child’s educational needs. It is good to recognise the unique and valuable insight families have over their children’s learning needs. Partnership is about educators and families valuing and trusting each other’s knowledge, perspective and decisions about the children and communicating that value and trust.
- High expectations and equity – Children progress when given goals to strive towards, so it makes sense to set high standards for them. However, educators should also recognise that children have different needs, challenges, and barriers to learning. Educators should strive to create equity and inclusivity in the class so that children can participate.
- Respect for diversity – Children belong to many different cultures and heritages, and it is important to honour those differences. Diversity contributes to the richness of society. The different heritages, beliefs, practices, and ancestral knowledge are windows through which children understand the world around them.
· Ongoing learning and reflective practice
- Educators need to look for ways to improve on their craft and develop the learning CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework communities they are a part of.
- Reflective practice refers to the continuous learning process of questioning your philosophy, your ethics, and your daily practices. Reflective practice collects information and uses it to improve the decisions you make about childhood education. Early childhood educators reflect on the day-to-day happenings in their learning centres and think about what could be improved.
- Critical reflection takes this a step further. It is concerned with inspecting these happenings using every aspect from varying perspectives. In doing critical reflection, educators often ask themselves many questions, which set the basis for this type of learning.
The practices of early childhood pedagogy are supported by a set of principles. Educators can make use of these practices through:
- Holistic approach – Holistic approaches to early childhood education consider the whole of the child: mind, body, and spirit. Holistic approaches see learning goals as more than just cognitive development and place value on physical, social, emotional, personal, and spiritual well-being and development.
- Responsiveness to children – Educators are responsive to all children’s strengths, abilities, and interests. Educators are also responsive to children’s ideas and play, which form an important basis for curriculum decision-making.
- Learning through play – Play is a vital part of how children first learn to interact with the world around them. Play provides opportunities for children to learn as they
discover, create, improvise, and imagine. When children play with other children, they create social groups, test out ideas, challenge each other’s thinking and build new understandings.
- Intentional teaching – is a teaching style that rejects both rote learning and the continued practice of tradition for the sake of tradition. Teaching strategies used in intentional teaching include modelling and demonstrating, open questioning, speculating, explaining, engaging in shared thinking, and problem-solving.
- Learning environments – should be vibrant and flexible spaces that foster meaningful interactions and cater to different learning capacities and styles. These environments can be indoors or outdoors and should include materials and resources that enhance learning. Learning environments should also be open to ideas and contributions from children and families.
- Cultural competence – A child’s culture is part of their sense of being and belonging. Educators must do more than be aware of cultural differences; they must also be mindful of their own world view, have a positive attitude towards other cultures, and be able to communicate and interact across various cultures.
- Continuity of learning and transitions – Educators need to build on children’s previous learning and experiences to ensure continuity in learning. Building on children’s learning experience allows the children to become secure and confident in their learning and helps them transition between learning settings.
- CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework Assessment for learning – Assessment is a constant process of gathering and analysing information about what children know, can do, and understand. Assessment for learning means using this process and the information gathered from analysing to plan for children’s learning, determine their progress towards desired learning outcomes, identify areas where they may need support, and evaluate the effectiveness of teaching strategies. It also means involving the children and their families in assessment by communicating learning goals and progress, empowering them to act as part of the process, and collaborating in assessment.
EYLF has five expected outcomes. These outcomes are:
- Children have a strong sense of identity – Children develop a strong sense of identity through their relationships and experiences. This is shown when children initiate interactions and conversations with trusted educators. Educators can promote this outcome by supporting children’s secure attachment through consistent and warm nurturing relationships.
- Children are connected with and contribute to their world – Children are connected and contribute to their world when they feel a sense of belonging. This is shown when children contribute to fair decision-making about matters that affect them. Educators can promote this outcome by planning opportunities for children to participate in meaningful ways in group discussions and shared decision-making
about rules and expectations.
- Children have a strong sense of wellbeing – Wellbeing refers to the overall health and happiness of a child. This is shown when children make choices, accept challenges, take considered risks, manage change and cope with frustrations and the unexpected. Educators can promote this outcome by acknowledging and affirm children’s effort and growth
- Children are confident and involved learners – Children gain confidence when they are provided with supportive learning environments. This is shown when children initiate and contribute to play experiences emerging from their own ideas. Educators can promote this outcome by providing opportunities for children to revisit their ideas and extend their thinking.
- Children are effective communicators – Children are social beings that communicate from birth. This is shown when children engage in enjoyable interactions using verbal and non-verbal language. Educators can promote this outcome by listening to and responding to children’s approximations of words.
To correctly interpret information on vision, principles, practices and learning outcomes of the EYLF, it is important to remember to consult and collaborate with your colleagues and supervisors to understand different views on how these may be applied.
1.4 Clarify the relationship between the framework and other aspects of relevant law and regulations
The nationally approved learning CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework frameworks are part of the National Quality Framework (NQF) along with, National Law and National Regulations, National Quality Standard (NQS) and the assessment and quality rating process.
The EYLF is also designed to go hand in hand with national regulations. For example, under Quality Area 1 of the National Quality Framework, one of the requirements is for families to be kept in the loop on both the education program and how their child is doing. Under the EYLF, educators are instructed to work in partnership with the families.
The Education and Care Services National Law is used to set a national standard that applies to all children’s education and care services throughout Australia. The national law requires compliance with the regulations, standards, processes and learning CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework frameworks. Variations may apply based on the needs of the state or territory.
Below are the legislations that apply to different states and territories:
|Australian Capital Territory||Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010|
|New South Wales|
|Western Australia||Education and Care Services National Law (WA) Act 2012|
The National Regulations provide support to the National Law by outlining the operational requirements for education and care service. Some of these requirements include:
- Educational programs and practices
- Application processes for approval of services
- Service pricing and fees
- Service assessments
- Operation and services
- Premises, spaces
- Equipment, furniture, materials
The National Quality CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework Framework (NQF) is used to regulate education services by setting up standards that ensure the implementation of learning frameworks.
National Quality Standards:
- 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
Sourced from the New South Wales Legislation website at March 1, 2021. For the latest information on NSW Government legislation go to https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au. Education and Care Services National Regulations, used under CC BY 4.0
The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) has a National Quality Standard with a comprehensive guide on quality areas. Access them and Australia’s National Regulations below:
The National Quality CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework Framework (NQF) provides guidelines to ensure education services adhere to national quality standards. For instance, Quality Area 1 of the national quality standard outlines the standards for educational program and practice. This outlines the following considerations:
- Program – The educational program should enhance children’s learning and development.
- Approved learning framework
- Program learning opportunities
- Practice – The educators who provide the educational service need to facilitate children’s learning and development.
- Intentional teaching
- Responsive teaching and scaffolding
- Child directed learning
- Assessment and planning – Educators and relevant service providers use reflective implementation of the program.
- Assessment and planning cycle
- Critical reflection
- Information for families
Education and care services go through CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework assessments to check compliance with the seven quality areas of the NQS. There are five NQS Ratings, each based on how the service performs for each of the seven quality areas, with an overall rating given according to the results of the seven.
|Significant Improvement Required||One of the seven quality areas or a section of the law is not being satisfied by the service. There might be a danger to the health or wellbeing of the children in the service. This will prompt the regulatory authority to take swift action.|
|Working Towards National Quality Standard||While the service provides a safe environment and program, there is at least one area in which it could be doing better.|
|Meeting National Quality Standard||All seven quality areas are being satisfied by the service.|
|Exceeding National Quality Standard||Service exceeds the requirements of the National Quality Standard in at least four areas, with at least two of these being quality areas 1, 5, 6, or 7.|
|Excellent||The service is a leader in the education sector and provides excellence in both education and care. Only services rated as at|
|least exceeding national quality standard may apply for this rating. This rating is awarded by ACEQCA.|
State or territory regulatory authorities are the ones who assess and rate services. These rating are required to be always displayed.
Below are the state or territory regulatory authority:
|New South Wales||Early Childhood Education Directorate, NSW Department of Education|
|Victoria||Department of Education and Training|
|Queensland||Regulation, Assessment and Service Quality, Early Childhood and Community Engagement, Dept. of Education and Training|
|Western Australia||Department of Communities, Education and Care Regulatory Unit|
|South Australia||Education Standards Board|
|Tasmania||Department of Education, Education and Care Unit|
|Australian Capital Territory||Children’s Education and Care Assurance, Early Childhood Policy and Regulation, Education Directorate, ACT Government|
|Northern Territory||Quality Education and Care NT, Department of Education|
It is also important for you to know about other laws that may affect the application of learning frameworks. Although there is a national law that is centralised and adapted throughout Australian territories, there are state legislations that may apply. Each state has ‘local’ laws based on Federal or Commonwealth law but has been interpreted to consider obligations and responsibilities at the state level. It is important that you are aware of any state laws and regulations and how they will impact your duties within the workplace.
Local government (local councils) take responsibility for making decisions relating to their immediate location. These include tasks such as maintenance of roads and parks, building licences, immunisation, family health and community programs etc.
Court judges make common law decisions based on legal principles. These decisions are accepted by the Australian government as being relevant to all Australians.
In the previous chapter, you learned how to identify the approved learning CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework framework, for your service. The EYLF does not tell Early Childhood Educators what to teach; rather, it provides direction about intent, pedagogy, and outcomes for children’s learning — it provides the foundation for a specific, local curriculum.
It does this by:
- outlining the kinds of environments in which children’s learning is facilitated
- highlighting the desirable knowledge, skills and attitudes held by early childhood educators
- addressing ways children’s learning opportunities may be enhanced.
This enables Early Childhood Educators to plan content that is relevant to their local context and to be responsive to children’s interests and ideas, whilst still working on the broad outcomes of the EYLF. In this chapter, you will learn how you can apply the learning framework. This chapter will cover how you can:
- determine how the framework is applied to support educators’ practice
- use the framework to support children’s learning, development, and wellbeing.
The Early Years Learning CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework Framework (EYLF) is a guideline for early childhood educators. Section 1.3.2 discussed the three fundamental elements of the EYLF:
These interrelated elements are the basis for childhood pedagogy and curriculum decision-making. The EYLF is designed to ensure the principles behind the educators’ practices are aligned with expected learning outcomes. Pedagogy refers to the entirety of
an educator’s professional practice. It includes all the interactions, participation, and happenings, whether planned or unplanned, that happen within a learning environment.
The learning framework provides educators an opportunity to have:
- a unified basis for planning their curriculum
- an inclusive curriculum that involves families and communities
- lessons that respect cultural diversity and individuality.
As mentioned earlier, the EYLF is a mere guide for early childhood educators. Although the law requires you and your organisation to develop educational programs based on it, it is not the curriculum itself. As an educator, you are responsible for applying the fundamental elements of the CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework framework in your practice.
To know how the EYLF can be applied to your practice, you will need to understand its different elements. The EYLF Principles are based on theories and research evidence relevant to early childhood learning and pedagogy. They serve as the foundation for early childhood practices.
- Secure, respectful, and reciprocal relationships – Establish positive relationships with the children under your care. Provide them secure attachments to nurture their growth.
- Partnerships – Develop appropriate communication with parents and community members.
- High expectations and equity – Give children high goals to aim for but be mindful of hindrances to success.
- Respect for diversity – Acknowledge the past and contemporary forms of racism/marginalism.
- Ongoing learning and reflective practice – Reflect on your experiences as an early childhood educator and use these insights to improve.
These principles are critical aspects of curriculum decision making. They outline the things you need to consider and think about so that you can come up with a curriculum that can best result to the framework’s learning outcomes.
An example of putting these principles into your practice would be by trying to form respectful, secure relationships with not only the children under your care, but their families as well. This will facilitate easier, more transparent communication.
The EYLF also has practices which support its principles:
- Holistic approaches – Understand that the child’s physical, emotional, and spiritual development are all connected.
- Responsiveness to children – Note and respond to what each child is good at, as well as what activities or things interest children.
- Learning through play – Hold fun activities to enhance children’s development.
- Intentional teaching – Encourage children to learn not just through planned activities, but also through social interactions and conversations.
- Learning environments – Create an environment to encourage children to learn.
- Cultural competence – Appreciate the differences brought by diversity and respect that different cultures have different perceptions.
- Continuity of learning and transitions – Assist families and children during their transition from home to school.
- Assessment for learning – Plan meticulously for the child’s development and update the families regularly about their progress.
These practices outline the things you need to do in your curriculum to embody the principles of the EYLF and lead children to the learning outcomes. An example of applying these would be to teach children through games or other fun activities.
The EYLF suggest if you can embody the principles of the CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework framework and perform the practices that support it, then you will be able to lead children to the best learning outcomes designed for their development. These learning outcomes are:
|1||Children have a strong sense of identity||Ensure children have good experiences to facilitate the creation of a positive self-image. Recognise and react appropriately to the signs they display.|
|2||Children are connected with and contribute to their world||Teach children early on the value of community.|
|3||Children have a strong sense of wellbeing||Make sure all the children under your care experience a sense of pride and accomplishment from not only their successes, but also their attempts.|
|4||Children are confident and involved learners||Give recognition and value to how the children are involved in their own growth.|
|5||Children are effective communicators||Demonstrate language and give the children encouragement to express themselves with words.|
By providing educators with these elements, the EYLF supports educators in developing their curriculums that not only promote children’s learning and wellbeing but also help them improve and reflect on their own practices.
Key stakeholders in the implementation of the approved learning framework
Developing a curriculum for the children under your care involves interactive decision making with key stakeholders in the implementation of the learning framework.
These key stakeholders are:
- Families – Families support their children throughout the learning and CHCECE034 Use An Approved Learning Framework development process. They can also help develop more relevant and appropriate assessments for their children
- Children – Involving children in the implementation of the framework helps the centre develop a more specific curriculum that is more relevant to them.
- Educators – are the primary implementors of the framework. Practitioners of early childhood education, they are responsible in aspects of nurturing relationships, curriculum decision making, teaching, and learning.
Quality Area 6 of the NQS encourages collaborative partnerships with families and communities. Below are its two key features:
|The views of parents are respected||Parents are consulted during curriculum development and asked if there are any special considerations that must be considered when working on classroom activities. These special considerations may be related to families’ culture or beliefs or to children’s needs|
|There is a continuity of learning and transition for each child||Families are asked about their children’s current skill levels, capabilities, and interests so that the centre can provide appropriate activities for the child. Educators can also discuss with families how they can continue practising what children have learned at the centre at home|
Some helpful tips for communicating with families
- Get to know each other on a first-name basis.
- Learn the names of all the family, including immediate and extended family members.
- Explain to parents why they need to contact the centre if one of their family members (not listed on the enrolment form) is picking their child up.
- Do not feel intimidated by a parent or community member and be sure not to intimidate them in any way.
- Adapt your language to suit the individual or group of people you are speaking to.
- Develop appropriate communication with parents and community members.
- Provide a comfortable environment when liaising with parents and staff.
Sharing power and partnerships with families
Mutual understanding, collaboration and partnership building between centres and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services and communities is essential to building cultural competence in the centre and the services it provides. Commitment to and respect for Aboriginal self-determination and Aboriginal cultures should form the ground rules for these partnerships.
For the centre to be culturally competent, there needs to be clarity around issues of:
- Aboriginal self-determination
- acknowledging the impact of the past and contemporary forms of racism/marginalisation
- respect for culture and acknowledgement of the role of culture in programs/services.
Reflection is the act of exploring one’s thoughts and feelings and trying to understand the reasoning behind them. Engaging in reflection is expected of you in Early Childhood Education and Care. It is a process of thinking about your own perspectives, values, beliefs, skills, and experiences in relation to other views, and being open to changing yours if needed.
Early years educators use reflection to drive continuous improvement. It helps you learn, grow, change, and become a better educator. You should reflect on your own actions – what you did well and what needs improving – as well as examining the progress of children in your care. This informs your planning for the next cycle. Reflection happens both during the day, ‘on the go’, and deeper analysis after the events of the day. The whole point is to improve outcomes continually.
The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) encourages educators to think and reflect when designing a curriculum for children. The EYLF guides them about their curriculum decisions.
As an educator, you are responsible for implementing a curriculum that reflects the EYLF. The experiences you add onto your curriculum plan need to have a corresponding Learning Outcome that children will achieve. When an input in your curriculum leads to a learning outcome, it justifies the use of that experience as a utilisation of the EYLF.
You may also use the EYLF to inform practices by embedding it in your daily practices, experiences, and routines.
However, to support a child’s learning, development, and wellbeing, you must first understand what these terms mean:
- Learning refers to the act of gaining new information and capabilities. You may use the framework to support children’s learning by targeting the proposed learning outcomes and incorporating the practices outlined for each.
- Development is the process of growth and progress. You may use the framework to support children’s development by integrating the recommended practices as a guideline for your curriculum.
- Wellbeing is a person’s state of happiness, good health, and comfort. You may use the framework to support children’s wellbeing by embedding the principles behind children’s education and care into your practice.
Practice is the customary, habitual, or expected procedure or way of doing something. Daily practices should develop an environment conducive to learning. You may utilise the EYLF in your daily practices by reviewing the practices underpinned by the EYLF principles.
It is important to remember not all children are the same, and not every household is the same. Some children are allowed to do things at home other children are not allowed to do in their home. This means you will need to communicate with the families of each of your children and understand the rules of their home to maintain consistency and continuity for the children. There would be no point in allowing children to do things in your care they cannot do at home.
The norms of the cultural group a child’s family belong to influence the family’s norms. Families who follow the norms of their cultural group are often called ‘traditional.’ Other families may not be as culture-bound. Such families may be influenced by other factors such as socioeconomic status, life experiences, and personal beliefs. Some families consider themselves ‘cosmopolitan’ and do not identify with any specific culture.
Child-rearing practices may differ between families in the following areas:
Note, some of these practices may have to do with a person’s culture. However, there are other factors that influence how a family raises their children. As an educator, carefully consider the child-rearing practices of a child’s family before you develop a curriculum to incorporate cultural competence, inclusivity, and respect for diversity.
When you honour children, their families, and the community you work in, you respect their diverse experience, attitudes, beliefs, and values. You approach interactions with an open mind and work together to create the best possible outcomes for each child.
Some practices you can implement to support the learning and development of children in early childhood include the following:
|Get to know the children in your care||You can give more authentic responses to children, the more you know about them and their families. You can build your relationship with them the same way you build relationships with anyone else. Sit down, talk, share, and respond with care and empathy. Doing so will help you establish their strengths which will help in the following practice and support their development and wellbeing.|
|Give them responsibilities that build on their strengths||By giving children responsibilities according to their strengths, you allow them to exercise their sense of agency with the skills they are good at. This improves their self-esteem and makes it easier for them to feel a sense of accomplishment. This will encourage them to develop attitudes related to being responsible, supporting both learning and development.|
|Focus on behaviour instead of the child when behaviour needs to be addressed||When children behave in ways that need to be addressed, you must address the behaviour without making them feel that they are being scolded for who they are. Focusing on behaviour implies that the thing being addressed is related to a specific situation that can be changed. This leads to emotional development and eventual wellbeing.|
|Provide choices to the child||Providing choices to children is an easy way for you to allow them to exercise their sense of agency. As previously mentioned, simple choices like which coloured pencil they want to use is not enough to encourage children to embrace their own agency, but it can be a start. A sense of agency is important for both learning and development.|
|Ask for child’s permission||Asking for permission works double-fold as a way for children to exercise their own agency and as a way for you to model how to respect other people’s agency to the children in your care. This will aid in improving both development and wellbeing.|
Children are very receptive of new experiences. Early childhood is a time of exploration and bewilderment for children. It is during this time in their lives that educators have the great opportunity to provide children with positive learning experiences that will help their growth and development. Children’s experiences are geared towards learning outcomes when they are organised in a way that best reflects EYLF. You can do this by organising spaces and resources to facilitate learning and development.
A well-designed space encourages children to feel happy and confident to participate in the experiences provided within it. This makes it easier for children to achieve the desired objectives from their experiences without becoming stressed or frustrated. It also develops their sense of agency as they are free to engage in experiences, they are interested in.
Whether space is indoors or outdoors, the materials and experiences you provide need to be arranged invitingly. Each environment should also include various places for children to undertake different types of play. Under the EYLF, play is recognised as one of the ways to support a child’s learning and wellbeing.
The following checklist provides some ideas to think about when setting up new spaces or reflecting on existing ones.
|Items to check||Check|
|Does your list include the following items?|
|Consideration of children’s height||☐||☐|
|What about the layout of the playroom and playground?|
|Juxtaposition, i.e. What goes next to what?||☐||☐|
|Spaces for one child, two children, three children, four children||☐||☐|
|Play spaces are 1.5 times the number of children.||☐||☐|
|Ask yourself the following questions:|
|How does the room sound and smell?||☐||☐|
|Does it convey a positive image?||☐||☐|
|How do you feel about working in this environment?||☐||☐|
|How do you think the children feel in this environment?||☐||☐|
|Is it interesting for the children?||☐||☐|
|Are there elements of beauty?||☐||☐|
|Are there unique features that capture the children’s interest to explore and use their imagination?||☐||☐|
|Are there any unexpected pleasures?||☐||☐|
|Are the play spaces uncluttered, tidy and safe?||☐||☐|
You will need to consider how the various play areas will work together. Children need a selection of both quiet and active play areas. Quiet areas allow the children to relax,
create their own experiences and have some alone time. This could include a book corner, for example. An active area should provide the children with a place to be noisier, move around more and engage in more lively play.
An attractive or aesthetically pleasing environment will offer choices, space, time, variety, and ownership, (soft spaces, comfortable spaces, quiet places). A well-planned activity room will be set up, ready for the children to use and incorporate appropriate equipment, toys, materials, and furniture.
Spaces should be geared towards the children and consider their needs. Have space where the children can store their personal belongings, provide child-sized and child- friendly furniture and equipment, and provide equipment all children can use regardless of ability and without the help of an adult. Other considerations include:
- install and use low shelves so children can access equipment and toys on their own
- maintain neat and tidy storage spaces so children can see what is there
- arrange equipment logically children can find them (e.g., storing shovels with pails).
By providing a range of materials that can be used in various ways, you create opportunities for children to explore and create in individual ways. Providing art and craft materials for children provides them with the opportunities to make things and use the materials in their own unique and creative way.
Providing colouring books, stencils or dot-to-dot drawings, ready-made cut-outs of birds, butterflies and animals, or traced drawings for children to colour in or paint-by-numbers does not make a creative experience. These are adult-directed activities and only provide practice in fine motor skills. Educators need to give the children opportunities to create for themselves, rather than always involving them in adult-directed experiences. Children can become frustrated when blocked from expressing their creativity.
Open-ended materials are those that harness the children’s imagination and have no limit to how they can be used. These could include plasticine, clay, dress-up materials such as hats and gloves, and cooking utensils which could all be used in various games and experiences.
By providing children with open-ended materials, they can dip into their imagination and find creative new ways to use everyday objects.
If materials are just dumped on the floor or in the sandpit, this does not show a caring, thought-out plan. Instead, you could arrange buckets and spades to be ready for use, or you may display and set up trains on their tracks. You should also re-set these play experiences during the day for other children.
Good preparation in organising resources in advance help reduce children’s stress and frustration. It is essential for children to easily see, reach, and access the materials they might want to play with without asking for help or competing with other children’s space.
A routine is a sequence of actions that is regularly followed. During playtime, children are often interrupted to stop their play so that routine tasks can be completed, though as children get older, their needs will change to include continuity of play.
It is essential for you as an educator to think about how you organise your time and space, including spaces for routines. Routines are important in early childhood settings to ensure a smoothly running and predictable environment for children.
Transitions are when children have to stop doing one activity to start doing something else. Children can become upset and frustrated if they have to stop playing suddenly. Similarly, they may feel stress when they have to move from one location to another or when they are being left at the service by their parent.
Give them a warning before respectfully asking for them to stop their play. Many centres give a 5-minute notice. It can be marked by the ringing of a bell, playing the tambourine, verbal instruction or playing a particular piece of music, letting the children know the transition from free play to a routine time is about to happen.
You must find ways to allow children, especially the older children, continuity of play throughout your routines. This may include children’s work or constructions being placed on shelves for continued creation after the routine time has finished or to show to their parents at the end of the day.
Continuity of play encourages the children to participate in the program and fully invest in the experience as they know their work will not be destroyed or packed away. If their work and efforts are not valued, they may not create beautiful constructions next time as they feel it is not seen as worthwhile.
During transitions from one location to another, you can explain to them where they are going and what will happen there to reduce the potential for stress. This helps them set realistic expectations about where they are going. Help transition during arrival at the learning centre by telling children what they will be doing for the day and when their parent will be back. Remember to communicate using positive language and non-verbal gestures to put children at ease as you help them transition to support their development and wellbeing.
As routines are essential for children, consistency between home and childcare is vital. This is especially important for babies and toddlers who are learning self-regulation and developing their personal rhythms.
Some rules and routines can be adapted to suit the child’s needs, and some will not. Your policies and procedures must guide you on the things that can be altered and the things that are not negotiable.
For example, mealtimes and rest and sleep times could be changed for children at the centre to maintain the consistency of mealtimes at home. Physical care routines such as nappy changing, oral care, and skin care can also be adjusted to maintain the continuity of the child’s experience from home to the learning centre. This includes how you communicate with them as they go through these routines. Allow them to take their time and go through each step of the physical care routine while providing support only where it is needed.
However, some things may not allow for change. For example, if the rules of the childcare centre do not allow balls to be kicked indoors, this would need to be discussed with parents, and the child would need to understand the rules for this are not the same as at home.
How you explain rules to children will depend on their age. For example, it is easier to explain the rule ‘we do not kick a ball indoors’ to a five-year-old than to a one-year-old child. Therefore, it will be up to you to explain rules in a language that the child understands.
3 Reflect on use of the learning framework
‘The Framework is designed to inspire conversations, improve communication and provide a common language about young children’s learning among children themselves, their families, the broader community, early childhood educators and other professionals.’
As an educator, you need to be familiar with the principles, practices, and the learning outcomes of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF). In the previous chapters, you have learned about how you can identify and apply these elements. These are all necessary aspects of your curriculum decision making. However, the use of EYLF does not end at the drafting of an educational program. EYLF promotes a reflective practice cycle which reflects its principle of ongoing learning and reflective practice. The framework involves continuous reflection and assessment of existing practices to improve early childhood and care services.
In this chapter, you will learn how to:
- identify situations where use of the framework positively supports children’s learning
- use positive examples from own experience and workplace observation as the basis for development of own practice
- identify opportunities to enhance own skills through reflection and develop actions with supervisor.
A holistic understanding of a child’s behaviour is the acknowledgement of the fact that their behaviour is not the result of one factor alone but the interaction of several different factors. It is the recognition of the fact that a child’s behaviour came about because of the connectedness (or disconnectedness) of their ‘nature’ and ‘nurture.’
Being able to identify situations where the use of the EYLF positively supports children’s learning can help you understand how to best utilise the framework in your curriculum. As an early childhood educator, you can better address a child’s learning and development needs when you know when your curriculum has a positive impact. This allows you to make a more directed approach in dealing with the children in your care.
As mentioned in Section 2.1.2, early years educators use reflection to drive continuous improvement. It helps you learn, grow, change, and become a better educator. Using reflection allows educators to gather information and gain insights that support, inform and enrich decision-making involved in the implementation of the learning framework.
Educators use reflection to identify areas for improvement in their current implementation and think of ways to further improve facilitation of child development. To reflect on the
effectiveness of the learning framework, you need to actually identify the situations where it positively supported a child’s learning.
Consider the following:
Always ensure information collected through observation and secondary sources is discussed with relevant staff and recorded accurately in accordance with service requirements.
Documentation may consist of:
- programs and curriculum plans
- daily journal entries or diaries
- learning stories
- samples of children’s artwork
- written transcripts or recordings of discussions with children
- individual portfolios
- reflective notes.
Educators must keep a range of documentation to help them:
- further their understanding of children’s thinking, ideas, interests, and patterns of learning
- reflect on how they develop relationships, work with, and interact with children
- share and discuss ideas with others.
Documentation provides the basis for planning and helps to ensure that children’s natural desires to discover, explore and learn are supported and encouraged.
Documentation and planning are important parts of working with young children. To effectively meet their needs, educators need to consider practical and meaningful ways to document what they notice and how they can share this information with children and families.
Use the information you have collected to provide the curriculum for children. Follow all guidelines if discussing information with others including discussing information with the appropriate people.
These observations to the service program can be influenced as to the child and the records gathered including your pedagogy in the professional practice. The information gathered can be used to provide routines, interactions and experiences that reflect the needs and interests of the group or individual children. The recorded information ensures quality educator interactions and program planning for children.
Over time, children and families change; it is important to continually reflect on whether the practices used still meet the needs of new and existing families. Keep the lines of communication open and stay up to date with any changes. You should also help families understand how the framework will support their children’s’ learning by providing information that is clear and easy to understand.
You can involve families in the process by:
- asking for feedback about the best way to share information,
- asking families to contribute to children’s discussions and their observations,
- having a section in the documentation for the parent’s voice,
- asking families specific questions relating to the observation or learning story,
- keeping a written record of parent feedback in conversations,
- providing a ‘Take home’ toy and journal for families to join in the experiences,
- wherever possible, providing documentation in various languages,
- sharing examples of family feedback,
- communicating regularly with the family via email and other forms, and
- allowing sufficient time and space for the family to review all information relating to their child.
3.2 Use positive examples from own experience and workplace observation as the basis for development of own practice
Much like how observation and assessment is used to guide children towards learning goals, observation and assessment may also be used to guide and shape early childhood educators’ practices. As an individual, early childhood educators’ practices are personal and unique to each, these are shaped by:
- own professional knowledge and skills
- children, families, communities, programs, and schools
- beliefs and values
- past experiences
- style, creativity, and imagination.
Positive examples refer to those that result to the achievement of planned learning outcomes. To identify positive examples from your own experiences, you may:
- use expert judgement
- Be confident in your own assessment of how your curriculum impacted the children in your care.
- Reflect on what behaviours and practices you exemplified for each example.
- use a journal or work diary – Logging your daily experiences can help you monitor changes and identify positive practices that result to children’s development.
When identifying examples, remember to focus on those that had a positive impact on the development of children and has led to achieving learning outcomes. This is great way for you to identify which part of your curriculum worked and why.
Opportunities to develop your own practice is not limited to your own experiences. You may also collaborate with the educators and adults at your learning centre. Learning about their experiences can help you compare and analyse practices to help improve yours.
To identify positive examples through workplace observation, you may ask your colleagues if you can observe them during learning experiences. This will allow you to observe them while interacting with children and help you understand what practices are effective.
Observe children’s development based on different curriculum they are exposed to. This will allow you to compare the existing curricula in your centre and identify which areas of each are effective.
3.3 Identify opportunities to enhance own skills through reflection, and develop actions with supervisor
Ongoing learning and reflective practice are one of the primary principles behind implementing the EYLF effectively. It involves continuously striving to enhance your own skills.
Reflection is the act of exploring one’s thoughts and feelings and trying to understand the reasoning behind them. Reflection is meaningful when the educator is aware of their own thought process during reflection, can come up with potential applications for their reflection, and when the conclusions or outcomes are shared with relevant individuals within the centre
Questions to guide your reflection include these points.
- What are your understandings of each child?
- What theories, philosophies and understandings shape and assist your work?
- Who is advantaged when you work in this way? Who is disadvantaged?
- What questions do you have about your work? What are you challenged by? What are you curious about? What are you confronted by?
- What aspects of my work are not helped by the theories and guidance that I usually draw on to make sense of what I do?
Developing reflective practice requires commitment from everyone in the team to analyse the perceptions of practice and look for opportunities to improve learning. It becomes a meaningful reflection when it is used for the improvement of your practice.
- demonstrates you are actively concerned about the outcomes of the work you are doing
- enables you to monitor, evaluate and revise your own practice continuously
- requires your capacity to look carefully at your practice to develop new skills and understanding
- requires a progressive approach
- enhances both professional development and personal fulfilment through collaboration and dialogue between colleagues.
What does reflection involve?
- reflection ‘in’ action, or thinking on your feet
- reflection ‘on’ action, or after the event
- own thoughts and ideas
- colleagues’ thoughts and ideas
- children and parents’ thoughts and ideas
- feedback from other partners or agencies
- views and knowledge gained from personal experiences and research. What should your approach to reflection as a team involve?
- give time to the process as a team
- be clear about what you are reflecting on
- be clear about who your associates in the reflective process are
- consider the subject, making links to theory and practice
- consider current practice
- look for
- ways to improve
- most importantly, act upon what you have discovered
- structure your actions with timescales, responsibilities, and the opportunity to reflect on what you have achieved (or not)
- provide feedback to colleagues, reflecting upon your actions
- make further changes or adjustments when required
- be aware of the reflective ‘tools’ available to you, i.e., quality improvement or self- evaluation forms.
What does reflection aim to achieve?
- effective early learning experiences for children
- new ways of seeing familiar things
- personal and professional development
- continuous quality improvement
- a shared understanding.
There are many ways in which you can document your reflections. Documenting these reflections will remember and keep tabs on where you, as an educator, can improve. The table below shows ways on how you can document your reflections:
|Method of documentation||Description|
|Journaling||This is a way to record your thoughts about all practices (relationships, interactions, teaching and learning, assessment, environments).|
|Online collaboration||Social media or online sites are a great way for educators to collaborate and to encourage and support one another by sharing reflections. Blogs are also learning spaces online.|
|Meetings||Staff meetings provide an opportunity to discuss and reflect on practices with your colleagues. Meetings should have a facilitator to guide the reflective process and note down the discussions.|
|Discussions with management and mentors||These are a great source of feedback; by asking questions and being guided by your mentors, you will see different perspectives, feel challenged and be encouraged.|
|Postings in notice boards||Reflective notice boards should be in the staff room, foyer, and each room of the centre to highlight reflective practice. You can use those to post events, quotes, questions, articles, pictures, and anything related to reflective practice.|
Either by yourself or with others, reflective practices give you an opportunity to learn and draw on diverse knowledge, views, experiences, and attitudes within yourself and those around you.
Engaging in critical reflection regarding your relationships with children will undoubtedly help you identify areas for improvement. There is always room for improvement.
Continuous improvement is part of your professional responsibility as an educator.
You may have discovered areas of improvement when reflecting on your experiences and practices as an early childhood educator. Discuss these with your supervisor and ask for advice on how you might enhance your skills in these areas. Although it might be tempting to get everything done fast, avoid trying to tackle everything at once. This will be counterproductive and may lead to burnout. Focus on improving one area at a time.
Focusing allows you to devote sufficient time and effort while keeping the possibility of work burnout low.
Develop an action plan to help keep you on track. In your plan, describe the current situation and set clear goals and objectives. Use timelines to show what you will achieve and by when. Work with your supervisor to develop actions to help you reach your goal.
Actions might include:
- formal training, such as a course or workshop
- mentoring or shadowing of other educators with strengths in the skill you are planning to enhance
- informal training such as watching YouTube videos or reading recommended books
- practising specific strategies such as remembering to use children’s names – keep a tally during the day.
Access relevant sources such as the internet, organisations or colleagues with expertise where needed. Remember to include benchmarks to help measure how much you have improved in the areas your work on. Benchmarks could be in the form of statements such as ‘you can tell the quality of your relationships has improved because children are more willingly expressing their feelings towards you.’
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