The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) was created by the Australian government to allow early childhood programs across the country to deliver consistent, high-quality education. It represents a mandatory standard that all education providers need to meet, so that regardless of where you send your child, you know the educators are working to meet the same key outcomes and using the same guiding principles and learning practices as every other childcare centre across Australia. The framework has been carefully created to nurture children’s development from birth to five years, with a focus on belonging, being and becoming.
The foundation of EYLF is the five core learning outcomes:
Children construct their identity through their relationships with people, places and things, as well as the actions and responses of others. Within the childcare context children should be supported to develop their sense of belonging through building connections with educators and peers and encouraged to explore different aspects of their identity through physical, social, emotional, spiritual, and cognitive exploration.
This outcome is all about children learning to be active members of their community, and understanding how their actions can positively impact others. Educators should endeavour to create environments where children can act out mutually respectful relationships with other people and the environment, contributing to a child’s desire to work collaboratively and participate in communal events and experiences.
Well-being incorporates both physical and psychological elements including good physical health, positive emotions, satisfaction with life and strong social bonds. Educators can support children’s developing sense of wellbeing by offering warm, emotionally attuned care, creating safe and predictable environments and encouraging respect for everyone within the childcare community. Other ways childcare centres encourage well-being is through teaching children to take responsibility for their own basic care (e.g. learning to wash their own hands), learning health behaviours such as good nutrition, personal hygiene, physical fitness, emotional regulation and fostering positive social relationships.
Children who are secure in their childcare setting have the confidence to experiment, explore and learn. Children are also more likely to be confident learners when their educators recognise and incorporate their unique family and community experiences in order to assist them to make new connections and processing new experiences. A childcare setting should encourage children to use exploration, collaboration and problem solving to engage their natural sense of curiosity and creativity when engaging in learning.
Children are encouraged to share their ideas, questions and feelings with others as well as to understand and engage with content in various forms. Educators should help children to learn literacy through a range of forms including dance, music, storytelling, art, talking, reading and writing. They should also be encouraged to communicate and engage with the world through numeracy skills which are developed by exploring spatial awareness, structure, patterns, numbers, measurements and other mathematical ideas. Early childhood education should also be inclusive of children from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds and educators should encourage children to value and integrate their home language and culture as well as develop competency in standard Australian English.
While the five outcomes represent what educators are aiming to achieve, the five principles should guide educators’ approaches. These principles are based on the most up-to-date theories on children’s development and are supported by current research.
As well as embodying the five principles of the EYLF, educators should also follow these ten learning strategies and practices to work towards the five key outcomes.
So how does the EYLF impact children? Well, if it’s well-executed by a quality childcare provider the EYLF should positively impact children by creating curious, confident learners who feel secure and supported in their childcare environment. Children should create strong bonds with their educators, their peers and the wider community, helping to foster a strong sense of belonging and a secure identity. In short, the EYLF offers a fantastic educational framework for early childhood education which should foster inclusive, holistic and effective education that will leave your child well-prepared for the next step in their education. Talk to us today about finding the best childcare centre that is local to your neighbourhood.