Transcript of The Early Years learning framework - outcomes

Transcript of The Early Years learning framework - outcomes

Jacqui Ward:

Welcome to The Early Years Learning Framework podcast. My name is Jacqui Ward. I'm the coordinator of the early learning unit and I am here with Jess Townsing, P-2 extraordinaire.

Jess Townsing:

Thank you, Jacqui. Thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Jacqui Ward:

So today we're going to be talking about the learning outcomes. So in this series of podcasts, we've been talking about all the different bits and pieces of The Early Years Learning Framework. And today, Jess is here to talk to me about really unpacking those ideas and what do they mean and hopefully helping educators understand them a little bit more. So the first one I kind of wanted to sort of unpack for me, is the idea that the learning outcomes are those broad sort of big picture statement ideas, and then the parts underneath are the key components and those bits sort of really draw out that learning and in more detail. And for me, I kind of see lots of references when educators do, LO 4.1 or whatnot, and I feel like that there's a bit of a disconnect when we do that to what the learning is and what do those key components mean.

Jess Townsing:

Yeah, definitely. Those key components are a guide for educators to know what to do in everyday practice. So when you're writing just the number for it, it has no meaning for your whole team and it's not reminding yourself of what you're actually aiming to do that day.

Jacqui Ward:

Yeah, definitely, and it's a real missed opportunity I think to advocate for your professionalism, to use the language of The Early Years Learning Framework rather than the references to the numbers. Even quoting the whole thing, because I think family members or your broader school community or whoever might gloss over that because it's a bit too terminology. Whereas if you've sort of used some of the words within your documentation and within the way you speak about children's learning, and to children as well or with children, you tend to, I guess, broaden everyone's understanding of what those learning outcomes mean.

Jess Townsing:

Yeah, I agree. Um, if you use those key words in your programming, then you're more likely to use them in your practice.

New Speaker:

That's true, and I think the other thing that you pointed out there too Jess, is the idea that it really guides what you do. And within that, each part of The Early Years Learning Framework, well the whole document is a guide for your practice, but within each one of those learning outcomes, there's examples for this outcome might look like for children, and on the right hand column there's examples of how educators might progress that learning. So again, when you sort of nut out into that detail, you can really drill down to really fostering children's learning in a really meaningful and authentic way.

Jess Townsing:

Yeah, and in that left-hand column, like you were saying, it's great ways to have conversations with families. If you use that language to describe what children are learning at preschool, you're again being an advocate for early childhood education.

Jacqui Ward:

Definitely, and I think the other thing that I also noticed with the learning outcomes is that people sort of try and retrospectively mash them in, rather than actually specifically looking for evidence of learning or assessing learning in that particular learning outcome. So we try and say, 'oh, there's an observation of a child playing with playdough and then we try and map it back to, 'oh that relates to learning outcome number two or learning outcome number five'. I'm going, 'really they're just doing all of that in the playdough'. So I think when you sort of look for that learning and you sort of say, well where is this child at in relation to their sense of identity or their sense of wellbeing or how are they communicating? What are their literacy and numeracy skills? How are they experimenting, hypothesizing, exploring, all of those sorts of things?'.

Jess Townsing:

And you can use them to be really intentional. So when you're setting goals for children, you can look at those outcomes before you set up activities so that you know what you're planning for, and make it really intentional, which is what our goal is.

Jacqui Ward:

Yeah, and I think I often hear the tension for educators saying, 'but I thought we needed to be play-based and interest-based and I have to flow with the child's interests'. Interests are really a vehicle for children's learning. They're not the end goal or the intent of the learning experience. The learning outcomes really are those goals, for children and the interests, if children are interested in something, they're much more likely to get a lot more out of that learning experience, aren't they?

Jess Townsing:

That's right. You could have an interest in dinosaurs and you could achieve any of the outcomes in the EYLF.

Jacqui Ward:

That's right, definitely. So I think we've talked a little bit about what those practices look like. But again, I think if you go to those ones that are sort of not as commonly connected with, I guess, I think it's probably an easy out to go to learning outcome number five. But if we think about learning outcome number one and resilience, what are we doing to promote children's resilience? Because I think this one is so significant, and I think it's a real contemporary issue that children aren't developing the resilience that they need to cope in life. If we think about outcome number two and the idea that children understand about their connectedness to the community, again that's really important and they're really big ideas about what does it mean to be a part of this community. I know you're from Wilcannia Jess, so what does it mean to be uniquely part of Wilcannia?

Jess Townsing:

So those two outcomes are so valued in early childhood and get lost at school, so I find it really important to teach colleagues in my area that we need to foster those things within young children and then continue it indefinitely.

Jacqui Ward

And there are lots of strong links, I think. For me, learning outcome two maps really well to HSIE and lots of different things and outcome number one is linked to the wellbeing framework and things like that. There's lots and lots of cross connections and there's lots and lots of deep learning I think for ourselves, when we really dig in deeply to those learning outcomes, we really think about them and we spend some time getting to know, what do they look like and what do they mean? You might've already mentioned it Jess, we talked about the idea of writing your own examples in the EYLF. It asks you to do that, but so many people don't.

Jess Townsing

That's right. Yeah, that builds your capacity because you can see yourself in the curriculum.

Jacqui Ward

That's right. Yeah, that is fantastic. I guess, I think we've talked a little bit already about this idea of what does it look like to intentionally teach or facilitate learning in relation to the outcomes. I think you mentioned it, Jess, you really need to be quite purposeful, don't you? You need to plan specific activities and specific opportunities for interactions and lots of things that really map back to the learning outcomes.

Jess Townsing:

Yeah, that's right. So you can choose an element or component of the learning outcomes and then you can think with your team and map a whole learning progress for the children to follow.

Jacqui Ward:

Yeah, definitely, and that could be looking at both individuals and groups, cant you? Because you might be thinking there's the things that we want to work on collectively. Particularly some of the outcomes really lend themselves to that, especially as I said, outcome number two. And then there's some things that you might be working on that are a little bit more nuanced with individual children. Someone might need some extra support in some spaces. Someone might be performing at a really high level in other areas. And again, it's about bringing all that together.

Jess Townsing

Yeah, and it's amazing when you do plan for an individual and you're doing the activities within your preschool, you don't know who else is going to join in. They can really get involved and extend the learning and there's something that you weren't even planning for. So it's spontaneous.

Jacqui Ward:

Yeah, that's right. And that's the good thing about I guess being really intentional with the learning outcomes. If you've got an idea in mind about learning, it doesn't really matter how that experience pans out because you're just working with those teachable moments and you've got that intent in mind. If someone was interested in dinosaurs yesterday but they aren't today, they're more interested in nature play or whatever, you've still got that learning intention in your mind, so you can still implement that in a different way.

Jess Townsing:

That' right, and then the children still have their agency. Well, I think that's it for me, Jess, is there anything else that you wanted to add?

Jess Townsing:

I just think that the outcomes and their indicators are just an amazing tool for educators, and it will make your life easier if you explore them deeper.

Jacqui Ward:

I couldn't agree more. Thank you, Jess.

Jess Townsing:

Thanks, Jacqui.

End of transcript

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