If your child already attends a childcare centre or if you’re planning to enrol them in the future, then you may have come across the Australian Government’s Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF).
If you’re interested in finding out more about it, this article takes a look at the EYLF and the key role it plays in your child’s growth and development.
An introduction to The Early Years Learning Framework
Early childhood is a critical foundation period for a child to start establishing a positive self-esteem, resilience and a capacity to learn and it is during this time that the wheels are set in motion for a child’s lifelong success in areas such as health, education and employment.
The EYLF was developed by the Council of Australian Government as part of its reforms to early childhood education on the back of overwhelming evidence to support the above ie. that quality care and learning experiences in a child’s early years lead to better outcomes later in life. Its vision is for all children to experience play-based learning that is engaged and which builds success for life.
The five learning outcomes that the framework support are:
- Children have a strong sense of identity
- Children are connected with and contribute to their world
- Children have a strong sense of wellbeing
- Children are confident and involved learners
- Children are effective communicators
Although the EYLF is a requirement in all early childhood education and care settings across the country, it wasn’t developed as a rigid blueprint. Instead, it offers a holistic guide to support educators and caregivers to develop quality programmes and environments.
It’s essentially a way of ensuring that children aged 0-5 in all early childhood education and care settings across Australia experience quality teaching and learning.
The Evoke Early Learning Centres philosophy, applies the principles of the EYLF into our daily curriculum to support the children’s natural curiosity and desire to discover their world and to instil positive lifelong habits.
Belonging, being and becoming
The EYLF describes childhood as a time of belonging, being and becoming.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these pillars and how the early education experience impacts on them.
The key to belonging is relationships.
A child needs to feel a sense of belonging and of acceptance. This emotional support comes from their relationships with their family, other caregivers, their culture and their community and when children feel welcome, nurtured and loved in a safe, secure space, they become more engaged learners.
When a child is valued and ‘seen’, that sense of belonging is strengthened and they are more likely to explore new ideas and try new things.
Belonging makes it possible for young children to ‘be’ and ‘become’.
The EYLF recognises the child’s right to be who they are, with the freedom to explore, discover and find meaning in the world around them and also within themselves. In order to help little people to start developing a sense of self, early childhood environments need to show them that they are truly valued. Letting a child simply ‘be’ shows respect and love and gives them the affirmation they need.
The EYLF acknowledges that children learn and grow through their experiences. They start to form their sense of identify from a very young age and the type of experiences they have shape the type of adult they will become.
Childcare and early education environments need to provide a platform for positive experiences where children feel loved, valued and respected. They’ll feel more confident and secure and will have a better chance of growing into well-adjusted adults with a strong sense of identity.
Principles and practices of the EYLF
The structure of the framework has three key elements, namely Principles, Practices and Learning Outcomes (which were outlined at the beginning of this article).
These help educators to create curricula and environments that build on each child’s unique interests and abilities and guide their interactions with the children, their families and the community.
Principles of the EYLF
- Secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships
- Partnerships between educators, families and the community
- High expectations and equity
- Respect for diversity
- Ongoing learning and reflective practice
The practices outlined in the EYLF describe the most effective way for early childhood professionals to work with children and their families to promote learning and to progress towards the stated outcomes. These eight practices are:
- Adopting holistic approaches
- Being responsive to children
- Planning and implementing learning through play
- Intentional teaching
- Creating physical and social learning environments that have a positive impact on children’s learning
- Valuing the cultural and social contexts of children and their families
- Providing for continuity in experiences and enabling children to have a successful transition
- Assessing and monitoring children’s learning to inform provision and to support children in achieving learning outcomes
Some final thoughts
Our high-quality educational programmes at Evoke Early Learning integrate the ELYF as well as other proven strategies into daily life at our centres to give the children in our care the very best start in life. You can learn more about our curriculum here. We welcome you to book a tour of our early learning centres in Clayton or Albert Park to experience how passionate we are that our children feel supported to ‘belong, be and become.’