Transcript of The Early Years learning framework - revolutionary


Transcript of The Early Years learning framework - revolutionary

Jacqui Ward:

Welcome to our first edition of the Early Learning podcast, focusing on The Early Years Learning Framework; a revolutionary document. My name is Jacqui Ward. I'm the Early Learning Coordinator and I am here today with Jess Lavers, a P-2 extraordinaire, and we're just going to chat about a few things that we think are really important for people to know about The Early Years Learning Framework.

Jess Lavers:

Thank you, Jacqui. What a lovely entrance.

Jacqui Ward:

So I thought we'd first talk a little bit about the history because I think, as Jess mentioned before we started, when you start in the profession at any given time, you don't necessarily know where it all came about. I think it's really important to note because there were a lot of changes at that time, there was a groundswell of political support for early childhood in response to the evidence space that early childhood is really important for life trajectories.

Jess Lavers:

And a lot of research went into The Early Years Learning Framework, so it's important for people to understand how that came about.

Jacqui Ward:

That's right, and a team of academics worked on that, and sector representatives as well. Also, that research I guess was framed in the idea of trying to create a uniquely Australian learning framework, which I think is awesome because it really reflects our context in terms of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

Jess Lavers:

And multicultural families and children, and it really focuses on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and looks at that document throughout.

Jacqui Ward:

Yeah, which is awesome. The other thing is I guess, moving on to the idea of how the document is structured and one of the reasons why I like to point this out is because I find that people tend to go straight to the learning outcomes or perhaps they are more familiar with the principles, and they kind of forget about the rest.

Jess Lavers:

And forgetting about the three guiding words that represent The Early Years Learning Framework, so we have belonging, being and becoming for our young children.

Jacqui Ward:

And they're tricky ideas I think and really sort of spending some time getting to know what they mean, what do they mean for educators, what do they mean for families as well is really important. And I think the principles then are really important as well to always be helping us to sort of keep us on track professionally.

Jess Lavers:

Yeah, and they really link to family, community and culture. And if we do think of belonging, being, becoming, the principles, the practices and the learning outcomes, we also need to remember that this document was developed for children birth to eight years.

Jacqui Ward:

Yeah, definitely, which is a good point. There's lots of great ideas there that link into school ideas, concepts, syllabus content, general capabilities. There is a little mapping across both spaces I think as well.

Jess Lavers:

And if we look at the structure, the purpose of it is to encourage preschool educators to focus on what children can do, as well as supporting and guiding individual learning programs.

Jacqui Ward:

Yeah, I think you make a really good point there. Often when I look at people's documentation and records, there's not a lot of information about that child's current knowledge. Children bring a wealth of knowledge to their preschool or to their school or wherever, and we need to draw on that to build on that knowledge.

Jess Lavers:

Focus on their achievements and their strengths and their interests, and then take them to their goals from that.

Jacqui Ward:

And then I think the next level that is often sort of skipped over or misunderstood, is the practice section. And for me this is like the most important bit of The Early Years learning framework, because it really teaches people how to implement high-quality pedagogy. So if you don't read that section, then you don't really know how to teach in the early childhood space.

Jess Lavers:

And the practices really guide you on how to implement those learning experiences to cater for all individual children.

Jacqui Ward:

And the concept of learning through play is really unpacked in there. There's some poignant words I think, about intentional teaching, cultural competence. There's lots of great things that can support you in your professional judgment and decision making. The whole document itself, if you're ever having some challenges on, 'I don't know what to do in this space', you can find the answers in The Early Years Learning Framework.

Jess Lavers:

And it guides you with your assessment for learning for the children. So how are we going to do that? How can you reflect that? Let's read the practice that says ‘assessment for learning’.

Jacqui Ward:

Yeah, there's lots of great information in there, isn't there? It talks about gathering rich and meaningful information and planning. The whole document talks about planning for complex learning and rich ideas, which kind of brings us to the learning outcomes bit as I said, which is something people are more familiar with. But I tend to see references a lot to LO 4 or LO 4.1. And I go, ‘what does that really mean when people write that?’

Jess Lavers:

And I think there's a real focus for educators to go to Learning Outcome 5 or Learning Outcome 4, but it's important to reflect on, have I looked at Learning Outcome 2? Have I thought about my families in their culture and their beliefs in my programming for children, and reflecting on all the learning outcomes, not just focusing on one particular one.

Jacqui Ward:

Definitely. And I think the idea that you break up the learning outcome into the key components underneath. Those are big overarching ideas, those five learning outcomes, and the key components underneath are the bits that really give you the detail about what you're looking for.

Jess Lavers:

What the children are achieving, and then in the right-hand column it guides educators on, how can you extend that, what can you do next for the child? So it really guides and supports educators to provide a high-quality learning environment for the children.

Jacqui Ward:

Yeah, definitely. And it's not about what to teach, so that's a difference, I guess with The Early Years Learning Framework as a curriculum for early childhood. It's not giving you content in there, but it's giving you ideas and concepts and dispositions for learning, as opposed to general capabilities.

Jess Lavers:

What I really like is that educators can write their own notes underneath that. So over time, as their understanding of The Early Years Learning Framework develops, they can then start writing their own points about where they would take that learning and have that at a team meeting where you're discussing your points.

Jacqui Ward:

Definitely, and I think that brings us to that final point about the fact that it's not a onetime only read, The Early Years Learning Framework. It's a cyclical process of engagement where you read something, you reflect on it, and as your practice deepens, your understanding deepens. Your thoughts change about whether or not when you first read something like that, you might go, 'oh yes, I'm very responsive in my teaching', and then as you think about it and you unpack all the words in The Early Years Learning Framework, you think, 'yeah, there's lots of times in my day where I'm not being as responsive as I could be'.

Jess Lavers:

It really helps educators to reflect on their practice in that way. I also find that The Early Years Learning Framework, using that language when you're communicating with families, so using the language of the principles and the practices helps you to build those relationships with families. And then when you are documenting children's learning, using that language in your documentation and then speaking with the families using that language, it really connects families to their child's learning.

Jacqui Ward:

I couldn't agree with you more, Jess. That's one of the things that I always say. Instead of quoting the numbers or quoting all of the words within it, it's articulating those ideas in your own language, but still using those sort of concepts.

Jess Lavers:

Like, 'Johnny is an effective communicator' and then using those indicators to explain how he's an effective communicator.

Jacqui Ward:

Yeah, that's right, 'he's engaging with lots of different texts, he loves to read some of the factual books as well as the signs around the room, he's doing all sorts of different things'. So you're kind of breaking down that children engage with a range of media to make meaning. Well, I just want to say thank you, Jess. I think this has been a great, little introduction to the document itself. Is there anything else you wanted to add?

Jess Lavers:

I just want to thank you, Jacqui, for letting me be a part of this podcast. I think The Early Years Learning Framework educator modules that are coming out are really going to support our educators in department preschools to provide high-quality education and care for our children.

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