The arrival of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) as the first national document for Early Childhood Australia, recognises the critical role the early years play in shaping educational foundations for life. The national Framework provides a scaffold for which learning experiences and opportunities are shaped throughout the day in Early learning Centres across Australia. Importantly, alignment with the EYLF will require many services to consider how they can step up to the plate and deliver high quality experiences and interactions for and with children. At Kendall Community Preschool, educators reflect and think critically about interactions with children throughout the day, and base programming decisions around these reflections. These guide the curriculum for the children as individuals, in their work in small groups and as members of the whole preschool group.
The EYLF also places emphasis on the environment as an informal space where children engage in meaningful conversations and interactions regularly. There is focus on providing natural play spaces that promote the underpinnings of early environmental awareness, and also recognition that Indigenous Australia is intrinsically linked to holistic learning in the early years, through the ‘8 Ways of Learning’.
The EYLF allows us to consider the role of the adult when working with children, and we believe that the educator has a role to play in collaborating to discover knowledge alongside children, rather than for children. In this way, families will see educators at Kendall preschool actively engaged in the construction of knowledge, and implementing strategies for revisiting and extending children’s ideas about how the world works, based on experiences and knowledge of best practice in Early Learning.
Critically, the EYLF identifies the role that families play in shaping children’s future, and provides a space for sharing information, and building positive and respectful connections between Educators and family members. Only when open, respectful interactions between family and Educator occur can we begin to support the holistic development of children. Learning from home is shared with the preschool in ways that promote a healthy self-esteem and self-concept, through recognising that each child is special and important and brings with them cultural knowledge & experiences from their home and family life.
The EYLF also establishes the role of educators as providing a medium for sharing children’s ideas, concerns and questions with the community. Children have powerful, important and relevant things to say, and require a medium to promote this voice actively. Ethical educators promote and are committed to ensuring that children find and experience a place in the community.