Early learners – animations for families
The Early learners five-part animation series explores the learning that happens in the early years of a child’s life at home and early childhood services, the important role families play in their child’s learning and how this learning supports a child’s lifelong educational journey.
Teaching in early childhood (2:20)
The Early Years Learning Framework is used by teachers and educators in early childhood services to provide guidance on how and what to teach in the first five years of children’s lives.
Research shows that high-quality early childhood education is vital in children’s learning and development.
The experiences that children have in their first five years of life have lasting impacts on their future outcomes.
The Early Years Learning Framework guides educators to deliver high-quality learning experiences, placing children at the centre of their learning and recognises the influence of their family, culture, community, early childhood setting and other significant relationships.
It is based on three themes that lay a strong foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing. Belonging significantly influences a child's sense of connection to learning. Being emphasises the importance of allowing children time to explore, make meaning and apply their learning while 'becoming' focuses on the rapid growth in skills and understanding that is happening in the early childhood years.
The way children learn in the early childhood years is fundamentally different from later learning at school. This is why the framework includes a set of practices and core teaching principles that value relationships, high expectations, equity and teachers reflecting on their practice.
The Early Years Learning Framework focuses on the best way to help children learn, and the principles, practices and outcomes that drive their learning. The learning that happens in early childhood connects to the different kind of learning children will experience at school.
For more information visit our website – education.nsw.gov.au/early-learning-resources.
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Learning in the early years
There are strong connections to children in early childhood and at school.
The Early Years Learning Framework which talks about what how children learn in early childhood consists of five learning outcomes that are considered important for future success in learning children's identity, connection to people and place, wellbeing, capability, and effective communication.
Learning outcome 1 is about children being confident in who they are to feel safe and secure, be resilient and to understand how they connect to their family, community, and culture.
Learning outcome 2 is about children being connected to their community and culture and understanding the impact of their actions on the world around them, including being environmentally responsible.
Learning outcome 3 is about children being healthy and active and feeling good about themselves which all contributes to their sense of wellbeing.
Learning outcome 4 is about children being confident and involved learners who can research, problem solve, think critically, be creative and extend on what they have learned.
Learning outcome 5 is about children being effective communicators as they learn about language and maths by exploring sounds, patterns, and numbers in their world.
Learning is not always predictable and linear. It is individual to each child's context experiences and learning needs.
Children's learning is ongoing, and each child will progress towards the outcomes of the Early Years Learning Framework in different and equally meaningful ways.
For more ideas and resources visit our website.
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Learning through play
Learning through play Is how children learn in the early childhood years. Play allows children to discover new ideas, understand and connect to their world try new skills, take risks and solve problems which are all important for learning later in life.
Research shows the benefits of play on children's learning and brain development. For example, when a child works on a puzzle, they are practising pattern matching, problem-solving, mathematical skills and persistence.
There are plenty of opportunities for children to play and learn at home. Families can support their child's learning by playing with their child and extending the learning where possible. In particular, drawing on their own cultural knowledge and experience.
A lot of this support and extension is just about talking, labelling describing and recalling. For example, when a family plays a game together like hide and seek or tip, their child is learning how to follow game rules and take turns while practising fairness and acceptance.
When a family goes for a walk together, they could collect rocks and sticks to be sorted into different colours, shapes, sizes, or used for counting, adding and subtracting.
This is supporting a child's developing math skills while engaging with the natural world.
Playing music and dancing together as a family supports a child's large muscle development and coordination, as well as self-confidence.
Children also learn when they are playing on their own. They use their imagination and creativity to develop ideas and thinking skills to solve problems.
Play allows children to repeat skills they are learning and work things out for themselves.
The learning that is happening through a child's play is endless.
For more ideas and resources visit our website – education.nsw.gov.au/early-learning-resources.
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Learning through everyday routines
Learning for children is everywhere. It's happening every day, in every way. At home, at preschool, everywhere.
Children are constantly learning from their engagement with people, places and things as they make sense of their world.
The learning doesn't have to be separated from the routines and everyday tasks that are happening in the home.
Families can encourage and extend their child's learning through everyday activities and routines like helping around the house, running errands, bath, and bedtime.
Everyday activities can support children's maths, coordination, and self-help skills. For example, at mealtimes children can help set the table, count the number of plates needed and pour their own drinks. In the bath a child can be encouraged to trying to float a range of different items and discuss both floating and sinking with their family. These concepts are the beginning of learning about science.
Children can help sort the washing into black white and coloured clothes, coordinate the pegs and help hang the washing on the line by reaching, extending and balancing.
Even an everyday routine like getting dressed can provide learning opportunities like putting the right shoe on the right foot and choosing the right clothes to suit the weather.
These are just some examples of how small learning opportunities can be incorporated into everyday routines for children.
For more ideas and inspiration visit our website – education.nsw.gov.au/early-learning-resources.
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A strong start to school
Starting school is a much-anticipated next step on your child's educational journey. It can be exciting and stressful at the same time. You can support your child's feelings towards starting school by engaging in positive conversations with your child about what school might be like, what they are excited about, worried about, and what they might miss about preschool or being at home.
Strategies you could use to ease your child's possible anxieties are:
- Encourage your child to ask questions and think about what might be the same and what might be different.
- Talk about their new routines, what it will be like, who they will interact with, and how they will be supported throughout their transition.
- Encourage your child to ask a new friend their name and some things about them.
- Talk about being supported by older children at school such as Buddy programs.
- Exciting them about how they will learn more about their favourite topics.
- Reassuring them that what they learn at school will be building on what they already know.
Remember that the learning that your child is experiencing at home and preschool is also helping them with their transition to school.
Everyday skills like putting on their shoes, filling up their drink bottle, packing their lunch, and finding their belongings are just as important as more formal learning when children are getting ready to start school.
The more opportunities you can give your child to practice their independence and self-help skills, the more confident they will be in doing these things when they start school which will put them in a much better position for learning at school.
If this is your first child's transition to school and you aren't sure what to expect or how to help your child speak to your child's preschool teacher or contact the school for advice.
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Three of the animations in this series have been translated into 15 languages.
- Translations for Learning through play
- Translations for Learning through everyday routines
- Translations for A strong start to school
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