Understanding the Early Years Learning Framework
The Australian Government has developed this Framework to help childcare educators develop a foundation for children’s future success in learning. It’s not a bible or syllabus, but a guide for early childhood teachers to help their children become their best.
Children may play in a group but they still have a strong sense of self. They don’t turn into “another face in the crowd”. They develop a sense of identity first in a family setting, where they spend most of their time, and this is built up further in kindy.
The EYLF encourages a “safe” environment where children will discover themselves and understand what it means to belong in a group. Discovering identity also means knowing their background/cultural heritage and taking pride in it.
We build bonds constantly, but it starts in childhood. After discovering their sense of self and feeling like they belong, children start to form bonds with others. This happens at home and in childcare. It’s important to make connections and become a part of a group. A group dynamic helps children learn about the diversity of the world around them and to respect it.
Contributing is encouraged in group discussion and play. The teachers create settings where children are able to voice their opinions and feel comfortable doing so. This part of the Early Years Learning Framework encourages children to have a voice, respect those of others and have an awareness of their surroundings.
A sense of wellbeing
Nobody should ever feel isolated, excluded or feel mentally drained to the point of it affecting their physical health. This is especially true during the critical development years in childhood.
The third outcomes of EYLF aim to have children not only feel happy and healthy but also take responsibility for it. Children can’t develop strong bonds and a sense of belonging if their wellbeing is low mentally or physically. Signs of a sense of wellbeing in children include “owning” their feelings, taking risks and facing challenges, recognising what their body needs and having an awareness for the health of others.
Confident, involved learners
When children feel like they belong in a community, they feel more confident in their abilities. They’ll learn effectively, make mistakes and have more involvement in a group learning situation. They hypothesise, experiment, research and investigate like scientists with a curiosity only they can manage. Their teachers are the “guides”, encouraging open-ended discussion and helping them work towards a solution when problems arise.
Communication is key in relationships, work and general everyday life. The Early Years Learning Framework guides educators on how to help children develop these skills. Their job is to help teach the children how to communicate politely with others and how to interpret nonverbal cues. This starts from infancy and doesn’t stop when the children leave go to prep; learning is lifelong, after all.
Communicating effectively applies to play situations. The childcare teachers create scenarios or supply materials to help the children verbalise what they learn. Popular outlets for self-expression are drama and music.