Transcript of The Early Years learning framework - principles

Transcript of The Early Years learning framework - principles podcast

Jacqui Ward:

Welcome to the Early Years Learning Framework podcast. In this session we're going to be talking about the Principles. My name is Jacqui Ward. and I am the Early Learning Co-ordinator, and I am joined by my beautiful colleague Kerry Flick, P-2 Officer.

Kerry Flick:

Thanks, Jacqui. Today I'm just going to talk about the principles, and the first principle is Secure, respectful, reciprocal relationships. And it's very important in the preschool setting that everyone has those reciprocal relationships because they are two ways. It's a genuine relationship and everyone's empowered to have their voice. So we've got teachers, whether it's the teacher, the SLSO, the AEO, parents, other staff members that are involved in the preschool and of course the families and the community. So we're going to make sure that those relationships are really strong and respectful, and that's really important in every preschool setting.

Jacqui Ward:

That's really true, Kerry. And I always say that the five guiding principles for me are great guiding principles for life, not just in our work as early childhood professionals, but people in our everyday lives need to be treated with respect. We need to be thinking about being reciprocal in our relationships, we want to make good solid partnerships and we do need to be committed to continuing to learn and reflect and all those sorts of things.

Kerry Flick:

Well that does lead onto the next principle which is Partnerships Jacqui, and that is that there's no one person that is really in charge of or is the centre of that preschool. It really is a committed partnership with everybody involved. And that's when you see those really good relationships like I spoke about in the first one, being fostered and parents encouraged to be part of that preschool through social media, through coming in, and for visits. So those partnerships with the outside agencies that are involved to support children, there's real partnerships, and when they feel respected and when they feel safe and secure in that preschool setting, parents and support people, that's when you see that partnership really developed.

Jacqui Ward:

Yeah, and I think that when we have genuine partnerships where power is shared, who benefits really in the end is children. Outcomes for children are fostered when we have a space, and also that there's partnerships in learning with children as well. Children are a really important partner in this. It's not always about doing things to children or for children. It's about giving them an equal voice in the space as well.

Kerry Flick:

Absolutely. And also the principal's the educational leader, so he or she needs to be involved in that partnership as well, in that journey. So the next one I'm going to speak about is the High expectations and equity within the preschool. And of course, again, they're all very interwoven and linked, and children are very capable of making decisions. You were just speaking about the children in the preschools, and they're very capable of making decisions about their own learning, and that high expectations and the equity within the school, if staff are fostering that, children can just make those decisions. Schools and our communities need to really value our early childhood settings. And I think that's when those high expectations of children are really fostered and really developed. I think nowadays with that high expectations that we're really aiming to have children achieving the best that they can. And I think that's really important because we know all our children are very capable learners.

Jacqui Ward:

Yeah, definitely, and I think if we think about CESE's paper on what works best, high expectations are mentioned in that. I remember seeing that thinking, 'yes, that's one of our guiding principles'. I think for me it means that if we set the bar at a certain height, children tend to perform to the expectations of the adults around them or the communities around them. Whereas if we say the bar is just ever higher and we're always encouraging you to go better and be stronger and develop new skills and learn new things., and again, that kind of ties in nicely with the equity side of it. We have those expectations for all children regardless of ability, regardless of race or culture or context. We want everybody to succeed in the best way that they can.

Kerry Flick:

Yeah, and are capable of. That leads to the next one, Jacqui, which is Respect for diversity. So we know across our communities and our state that there is so many different diverse family groups. There are diverse languages, backgrounds, socioeconomic situations, and all of our families, we're engaging with all of these different families and communities and we're respecting that diversity within our services and we're ensuring that they're feeling respected and that they're feeling included. That's really important in our preschool settings, that we celebrate the collective diversity of all our communities and the families and cultures and everything that comes along with that.

Jacqui Ward:

I couldn't agree more. I think we need to think about being culturally competent educators and we need to be thinking about ways that we can know children, value children, honour children and their background. We need to recognize that learning does happen in that context of the child's family, their community, their culture. When we make that learning more relevant and meaningful in that context, children can thrive and succeed.

Kerry Flick:

And the last principle, Jacqui is Ongoing learning, and as educators, there's that commitment from us to always be open to new ideas, to make sure that we are researching on how children learn best in our preschool settings. It's an ongoing learning as well for the children through critical reflection. I think we can use this powerful tool as a way to support that learning with our children as well in our settings and ensure that their learning is ongoing and that we have a wide variety of research that we're using and support mechanisms in our settings to support that learning.

Jacqui Ward:

I wholeheartedly agree. I think children deserve to have adults that are really committed to doing things better themselves. We need to be committed to improving teacher quality, to continuous improvement within our places, to say and reflect on whether or not what we're doing is really working for these children at this time in our settings. I think that we can only do that when we think about, where do we want children to go, what are our guiding principles, what are our practices and how effective are they being for these children?. I think that is a nice little tie in to say, when we have all of these ideas represented in something like our school vision or our philosophy, we help to make sure that we're on the track of making sure the principles are in the forefront of our mind, every day in all of our work with children.

Kerry Flick:

Absolutely, and I think that's where we ensure as educators, that the philosophy at our preschool service includes our values and beliefs as educators, and we need to align them with the principles as well. So the principles are represented as a common set of values and beliefs and how the children learn best and how we can use the different type of diverse community that we're working with to be incorporated into our philosophy. Because once our community feel like they're engaged and they're respected in our preschool, through the philosophy and through developing that with them, so there needs to be those real collaboration and respectful discussions. Whether it's through social media or meetings with parents or some feedback on the sign on table, so that we're actually including them in building that philosophy and revising it every year and looking at our philosophy to make sure that it's inclusive, and that we've got high expectations, that we're using reciprocal relationships and partnerships and that's somehow embedded into our philosophy of our service.

Jacqui Ward:

Yeah, I definitely agree. I think that the philosophy then is a sort of go to document. I guess when we're talking about making decisions and if we have a situation where we don't agree, a family doesn't agree with the practice that we're doing, or a family wants us to do something like teaching their child to count to a thousand or whatever. Our philosophy gives us the impetus or the background or the reference document to go back to and say, 'this is why we make these decisions because it aligns with our philosophy and our philosophy aligns with The Early Years Learning Framework.

Kerry Flick:

Yeah, that's exactly right. I think that's fantastic. I also thought that we can use that critical reflection as part of that partnership with our families, to sort of reflect on what we're doing with our families. So we can reflect on, are we in partnerships with our families and how are we showing that we are respectful of all the children's diversity in our centre? So critical reflection is a really important part of that to guide what we're doing and how we're ensuring that we're being respectful, where we're in partnership and we're including all of those principles in our setting every day.

Jacqui Ward:

That's fantastic. Well, that's been a really great chat today, Kerry. Thank you.

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