Early learning podcasts
Early Learning matters podcasts aim to inspire high-quality early childhood practice and build educator capacity.
These podcasts are designed to supplement and complement other resources and professional learning. Join Jacqui Ward (Early Learning Coordinator) and her colleagues who support department preschools as they unpack important early childhood concepts, theories and practice.
Updated Early Years Learning Framework
A series about the updated Early Years Learning Framework.
Jacqui Ward and Nicci McDowell discuss the updates to the Early Years Learning Framework. This includes providing an overview of the key changes and what educators need to do to be ready for 2024 implementation. (17 minutes 49 seconds)
- Jacqui Ward – Early Learning Coordinator, Department of Education
- Nicci McDowell – Early Learning Advisor
Welcome to another Early Learning Matters podcast. This is the first podcast in the updated Early Years Learning Framework podcast series. My name is Jacqui Ward and I'm the Early Learning Coordinator at the Department of Education.
And my name is Nicci McDowell, and I'm an Early Learning Advisor with the Department of Education.
So today we're talking about the key changes that have happened in the updated learning framework, some of the reasons why, and what that means for your practice. So, we'll start off with that saying, well, why has the Early Years Learning Framework been updated in the first place? And that's really a really important thing to talk about.
First, all of our curriculum documents and frameworks need to reflect contemporary practice. They also need to reflect changes in the evidence, research, contemporary understandings, and other changes to mandated frameworks, such as the National Quality Framework.
That's right. And it's really important to know that the updated framework hasn't actually been rewritten, that these revisions to the framework are an update or a refresh rather than that whole rewrite. So, some of the key changes that have happened in this update are both structural and conceptual. The changes include strengthening of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives throughout the framework.
The vision for children's learning has been updated and some of the concepts have been clarified. There's been a refining and a clarification of new and guiding principles. There's been refining and clarifying to the practices, including aligning guidance of the planning cycle to the National Quality Standard. There's been some strengthening around the learning outcomes. And there's been an expansion to the glossary, and this is really to support a common understanding of the terms used throughout the whole framework.
That was awesome. That's a great summary. And I think that's the point of this podcast, isn't it, Nicci? That if you haven't had an opportunity to read through the changes yourself because you're a busy educator working with children, we've put together this first podcast just to be a little bit of an overview and an opportunity for you to feel informed about the changes if you haven't had a chance to review them.
Yeah, absolutely, Jacqui. And I think as a busy educator, the first thing that everyone really wants to know, is when do we need to start implementing these updates? And I think, in the communication about the framework, there's plenty of time to make this transition to the updated Early Years Learning Framework, and there's also a phased approach.
So, phase one begins this year in 2023. Here at the Department of Education, we are calling that the Engage phase. Then we move on to phase two of the implementation of these updated changes, and this will commence in 2024. And we are referring to this as the phase we call Enact. And then beyond this, because it's really important that you don't just stop engaging with this framework in 2024, so beyond 2024 is when you really begin to Embed those changes that have happened.
And it's really important to know that the original learning framework will remain in operation, and that as an educator you can actually refer to both of the frameworks, so the original and the updated, until February 2024. But I think when you are thinking about how you're going to make this transition to this updated version, it's really important to become familiar with the updated framework as early as practical for you in 2023, Jacqui.
Yeah, that's a really good point, Nicci. Because I think there's been lots of chatter about the changes are minimal, or this hasn't changed much, or that has changed or all those sorts of things. But the main thing is that educators take some time and really engage with the changes, because it's a really good opportunity to come back to the framework itself anyway, and really check in that your practices are really aligned with all of the ideas, and the concepts and the guidance in the updated frameworks. And I also forgot to mention a little bit earlier on, that this process has been led by Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) with a consortium of academics who've contributed to reviewing the literature and what's current now, what are current understandings, and seeking lots and lots of educator feedback.
Over 5,000 people across the country have had an opportunity to input. And there's also been, the frameworks have been trialled in some services across the country as well. So it's something that has been really well thought out in my opinion. I guess, what I was trying to search for the words to say, is that having had some time to really read through and start engaging myself and with our team, Nicci, in order to develop some resources and things that to support educators to go through it, is that I can really see that there's been a really, what's the word? Rigorous approach.
Absolutely. And yeah, I completely agree with that, Jacqui. And I think as we go through the updates and some of the changes that have been made, I hope that's really clear to the sector that this is a very rigorous and well thought out approach that's been taken.
Yeah, that's awesome. Let's start off with, and we're not going to go through every single change in a lot of detail because it's a podcast, so we want to make it short and snappy, but we thought we would review section by section the changes and let you know the high-level bits and pieces that you need to know. So, first of all, the vision. So, the vision has been expanded to emphasise that all children are successful as lifelong learners, and active and informed community members with knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander perspectives, which again, is a really important and contemporary practice, I guess, that acknowledgement of our First Nations peoples.
And it's also been expanded to recognise the diversity of children, families and communities, and the opportunities that diversity brings to know more about the world. So, I think, again, that's a really nice inclusive approach. The overarching themes, there's been a bit of modification there. But one thing I really wanted to call out is that particularly recognising that belonging recognises children as global citizens now. Which again, I think that's a big change I guess from when the earliest Learning Framework was first published in 2009.
Our world has changed a lot. We're a lot more globally connected. And then we've got children's learning and just really strengthening the descriptions on play-based learning to support educators in explaining the validity of play-based learning, but also to include more contemporary understandings of play-based learning.
Yeah, that's right, Jacqui. And I think the other update that's been made in relation to the vision is the introduction of the planning cycle and how that links to that vision.
So thinking about all those things that Jacqui's just mentioned, how can educators bring that back to their continuous cycle of planning, and implementation, and critical reflection and assessment and evaluation? And I think that the vision really calls that out. It makes that reference to the link between the expanded vision and children as global citizens, and all those things that Jacqui's mentioned and how that impacts on the planning cycle.
Yeah, that's really awesome. And I think anytime that we strengthen educators' understanding of the planning cycle and that planning cycle being equally acknowledged in the National Quality Framework as well as the Early Years Learning Framework, I think is really important.
Absolutely. And I guess just too, that having that planning cycle there really emphasises that high quality programs for children have a strategic and a reflective approach in the way that they're developed.
So, there's new principles. So, the principles have had some updated names as well as the introduction of some new ones. They've been reordered and the numbers removed so that it's not about one's more important than the other. There's eight altogether now. And as we've said along, but just reiterating it, that they're a reflection of contemporary theories, perspectives, and research evidence, and they're essential for understanding how you do early childhood pedagogy, really. And the first one of the three new principles is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives. Nicci, do you want to elaborate a little bit more on that?
Yeah, absolutely. I think it can go without saying that the introduction of this perspective, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective principle is absolutely necessary. It brings the framework up to contemporary thinking, and evidence and research. And I think it's really important that when you do have time to sit, and read and engage with the framework, that you take the time to read the description of this principle and think about why this is so fundamental and one of the fundamental themes in this updated Early Years Learning Framework.
That's a really good point. And we've also got a new principle on sustainability, which is a great one as well. Do you want to talk a bit about that?
Yeah, absolutely. I think this sustainability principle is about going beyond the environmental sustainability that everybody immediately thinks of when they hear sustainability. It's more about being sustainable around not just environmental issues, but social issues and economics sustainability too. So, there's some really quite abstract concepts to start to think about, but I think over time it will be really important for educators to reflect on how they can do this in their practice.
And I think it really pulls out, whereas before environmental responsibilities was mentioned as a key component of outcome number two, but it really brings that thread of ideas through to say, well, actually, it's more important than, well, not more important, but it's framed as something that you hold as a guiding idea about your practice, and then that supports children's learning and understanding about sustainability.
And then we've got the last one, which is probably one of my favourite inclusions, because I always thought it was missing, which is collaborative leadership and teamwork. So, I think we could have used a lot of the other principles to guide how we work together as teams and how we lead each other. But I think calling it out there, and one of my most favourite things about it is the idea that it really highlights professional accountability and that shared responsibility, because working in a service that has legislative and quality standards has inherently professional accountabilities. Whether you like it or not, that's the reality of it.
So some guidance on the way we work together and the way we lead is a really important thing as well. And then I think the last one is just that final clarification around instead of having multiple terms for reflection, reflective practice, critical reflection, there's a real emphasis on that your reflective practice or your reflection should be critical. And again, I would agree that they almost always are. If you're reflecting on something, you are critiquing things, you are being critical and analysing an idea of thoughts. That's a really nice one.
Yeah. And I think what I like about that too, is that it's made really clear in that updated version around using critical thought and critical thinking when you are reflecting.
Yeah, that's awesome. So, moving on to the practice changes. There's been a reduction in the practices, which is nice too to know that the review has been about looking for opportunities to consolidate as well as opportunities to add some more content. So there used to be eight, now there's seven because of the combination between play-based learning and intentionality.
But what I wanted to start with is what I think again is probably one of my favourite changes, because I think it was not always really super clear, is holistic approaches has been updated in regard to that it's now about holistic integrated and interconnected approaches to practices. And that it really talks about that thinking, and looking and talking about not just learning outcomes, but the overarching themes, the principles, and the practices and how they all work together to promote children's learning and how they influence your pedagogy.
Yeah, absolutely. And I think thinking about these practices, for me, I think it's really important to call out that one of the most significant updates to the practices has been a shift in language. So cultural competence has been removed and renamed cultural responsiveness. And I think that really sets the tone and guides educators to engage really deeply around what that means for them, and I think too, teams and educators will need to take time to unpack that.
But having that practice there is really important, because then it goes hand in hand with that introduction of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander principle that's been introduced. But then again, even further, it also aligns to the recognition of the Alice Springs Education Declaration at the very beginning of the framework too. I think that theme that's running through the document is there from the very first page, right the way through to the end.
Yeah, that's a really good point. So just the last section that we'll talk about is probably the one that educators often rush to first, so the learning outcomes. And interestingly, at first glance, you might go, well, there haven't been too many changes around the outcomes, probably with the exception of learning outcome number three, which now has a key component.
So decompressing, there was a lot of content in those two key components. And now there's the introduction of mental and physical health and personal safety, which I think is really important, leading on to those conversations that happen later in school as children get older around consent, and child protection and all those sorts of things, child safe standards. It's a really nice call out to all of those sorts of things. And while the outcomes haven't changed per se, there've been lots of tweaks and updates to the examples within the documents, this learning is evident when children, and so there's been lots more things added to there, and then lots more things added to, and this is how you promote this type of learning as an educator, which I think is always helpful because that's good advice.
Yeah, absolutely. They're subtle changes, but they're there. And I think going back to just what I mentioned about that theme running through the entire of the document, that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives. So when you actually begin to look at the outcomes and begin to look at the evidence and guiding points there around how you can evident children's learning, then you begin to see that for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives, there's new ways to promote these perspectives, I think for everyone. But there's also an addition on how you can support learning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families in particular. So, I think that's a great call out, too.
Yeah, really good inclusion. All right, well keep out your eye out for more of these podcasts. Thanks, Nicci. It was really great talking to you about this. I think everyone's probably can tell that we're keen on the Early Years Learning Framework.
Absolutely. It's just so great to finally have this updated version and to bring it into line with contemporary thinking.
That's awesome. Thanks. Bye.
[End of transcript]
STEM in the early years
Jacqui Ward speaks to Sibylle Seidler, Heike Hendershot and Haley Bates from Little Scientists about the program and the importance of STEM in the early years. (30 minutes 31 seconds)
Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) data
What is the AEDC?
Mary Taiwo and Jacqui Ward speak with Yasmin Harman-Smith and Tess Gregory about the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC). They discuss how the AEDC data is collected and what the AEDC instrument measures (25 minutes 32 seconds).
Read the transcript for What is the AEDC?
How to engage with the AEDC data?
Mary Taiwo and Jacqui Ward speak with Yasmin Harman-Smith and Tess Gregory about the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC). They discuss the value of the AEDC data and how schools and early childhood education services can use the AEDC data to inform policy and practice. they highlight a few examples of how other schools and services have used the data in to develop practice, as well as highlight some ideas on how to interpret and apply the AEDC data at the school and community level (29 minutes 48 seconds).
Numeracy in the early years
A series about numeracy in the early years.
Jacqui Ward, Juliana Lagana and Linda De Marcellis discuss the importance of numeracy in both early childhood and school curriculum. They clarify the relationship and interconnectedness of mathematics and numeracy and speak about how numeracy development in the early years supports later learning.
Jacqui Ward, Linda De Marcellis and Juliana Lagana discuss the intentional and explicit teaching of numeracy in the early years. They unpack the importance of planning for intentional mathematics and numeracy learning and highlight pedagogical practices that support that planning. They provide links to research and resources around mathematical talk and touch on some practical strategies and tools that teachers can use to enhance their intentional teaching.
Jacqui Ward, Linda De Marcellis and Juliana Lagana discuss the numeracy concepts. They provide links to research that highlight the importance of developing strong understandings of these concepts in early childhood and examples and resources to support educators broaden their understanding of how these concepts fit together to develop children’s numeracy skills
Creative arts in the early years
This podcast explores the importance of creative arts in the early years including early childhood and the first years of school. (40:07)
Explore the Chatting Creative Arts podcast for more conversations about creative arts education.
Transcript of Creative arts in the early years
Effective assessment in early childhood
In this podcast, Jacqui and Lisa discuss the elements of effective assessment in early childhood settings. They discuss the ways that early childhood educators can focus in on assessment as the first part of the teaching and learning cycle and how the new assessment tool can support educators to more effectively engage in assessment practices linked to the outcomes of the early years learning framework. (23:01)
Transcript of Effective assessment in early childhood
Children as researchers
Transcript of Children as researchers
High potential and gifted education in the early years
Quality preschool practice professional learning
Jacqui Ward discusses quality preschool with Cathrine Neislon-Hewitt, Faye Gowers and Kim Stouse-Lee from the University of Wollongong (29 minutes 41 seconds)
Literacy in the early years
Podcast 1 - Oral language development and tuning in!
Transcript of Literacy in the early years Podcast 1 – Oral language development and tuning in!
Podcast 2 - Developing oral language and the demands of schooling
Transcript of Podcast 2 – Developing oral language and the demands of schooling
A series about the transition to school.
Dockett and Perry – Transition and COVID-19
A discussion about the possible impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and families starting school. Changes in opportunities and expectations for transition practices are emphasised (8 minutes 43 seconds).
Transcript of Dockett and Perry – Transition and COVID-19
Dockett and Perry – What is transition?
Transcript of Dockett and Perry – What is transition?
Transition to school at Tarro Public School
Transcript of Transition to school at Tarro Public School
Effective use of the transition to school statement
Lisa Wicks talks to a Kindergarten and Preschool teacher from Woy Woy public school about using the transition to school statement effectively.
Transcript of Effective use of the transition to school statement
Learning from home
A series about learning from home.
Learning from home – Supporting young children with a disability
Jacqui Ward and Therese Winyard discuss how teachers can support continuity of learning for children with a disability when they are learning from home. (11 minutes 41 seconds)
Learning from home – One school's journey
Donna Deehan, Transition Advisor discusses learning from home with Rosehill Public School (23 minutes 54 seconds).
School of the air – supporting families with learning from home
School of the Air teachers talk about supporting families when their child is learning from home (7 minutes 43 seconds).
School of the air – teaching remotely
School of the Air teachers give advice on teaching remotely (10 minutes 43 seconds).
The Early Years Learning Framework
The Early Years Learning Framework – revolutionary
Jacqui Ward and Jess Lavers discuss the development and significance of The Early Years Learning Framework (9 minutes 36 seconds).
The Early Years Learning Framework – belonging, being, becoming
Jacqui Ward and Sheree Bell unpack the theoretical underpinnings of the three overarching themes of The Early Years Learning Framework and how they relate to children, families and colleagues (17 minutes 19 seconds).
The Early Years Learning Framework – principles
Jacqui Ward and Kerry Flick discuss the importance of the five guiding principles of The Early Years Learning Framework and they can inform early childhood practice (9 minutes 47 seconds).
The Early Years Learning Framework – practices
Jacqui Ward and Kerry Flick discuss the importance of the five guiding principles of The Early Years Learning Framework and they can inform early childhood practice (17 minutes 41 seconds).
The Early Years Learning Framework – outcomes
Jacqui Ward and Jessica Townsing focus on the learning outcomes of The Early Years Learning Framework, and how teachers can engage with them to document and plan for children’s learning (9 minutes 5 seconds).