I am the Director of a council owned Long Day Care centre in Coogee – Moverly Children’s Centre. We cater for 0 – 5 yr olds.
When the federal government and COAG (Council of Australian Government) announced the introduction of a national based curriculum for children under 5 years in Australia I was definitely excited! The first national curriculum in Australia for early childhood. It is called the ‘Early Years Learning Framework –Belonging, Being and Becoming’. This has been developed by a range of specialists in the early childhood industry- from early childhood educators in services to academics.
At our centre it will eventually become a guide for curriculum to replace the current NSW framework. As an early childhood educator I am proud to see the government taking the initiative to see the importance of education, play and curriculum for children under 5 years.
There has obviously been a range of questions, hesitations and concerns from not only staff, but the sector. I have tried to keep up to date as much as possible and then forward the information the staff and families.
I think at first some staff have been overwhelmed by another change in the sector. I wanted the process to be as consultative as possible between all staff and families. We have a strong connection with the families so its essential that the process is collaborative and engaging for all parties. Other staff have been excited about the changes and doing their own research. I have tried to be positive and educate both the families and staff. The DEEWR website has great information available that I have continually accessed, so I am up to date and can share the knowledge. I have distributed the Frameworks Family Guide and all staff were given the document to read plus the bookmarks available from the DEEWR website. We have also attended the CSCentral Breakfast meetings and all staff will be required to attend the EYLF training through CSCentral when it is rolled out in 2010.
Over the next coming months, once everyone has read the documents, we are planning to do the following as a team.
- Review policies in line with the framework,
- A new draft philosophy is being distributed in January for initial feedback from staff and families.
- Our service framework is being amended to incorporate the Principles and 5 Learning goals of the EYLF.
When reading and reviewing the document I think it is wonderful and in line with my personal philosophy and service philosophy. It has a strong emphasis on play and children being successful learners. Isn’t this what we have always done? I do not think it is varies to much from current practise, just emphasises the importance of play using the five learning outcomes.
• a strong sense of their identity
• connections with their world
• a strong sense of wellbeing
• confidence and involvement in their learning; and
• effective communication skills.
At Moverly we operate an emergent curriculum that is play and interest based. These learning outcomes are already a major focus of our curriculum but it now further reinforces this and allows staff to focus on these areas when planning. The framework is not structured and it is broad enough to allow all services to introduce, specifically for their own centre. I just hope that centres can find a way to incorporate these outcomes without them going into a ‘checklist style’ document.
I believe this will be a stronger transition to school with these principles and outcomes and it works well in conjunction with the Quality Improvement and Accreditation System. It complements our school readiness program, as it based on children making connections to their world, self esteem and the benefits of social interactions through play. The Early Years Learning Framework is a positive change for the sector and should be embraced.