The rest of the EYLF – Practices and Principles

So now we know more about the Learning Outcomes, and hopefully many of you have found the glossaries useful, I’d like to talk about the rest of the Early Years Learning Framework. So many of us have just become so used to flipping past the first pages in the book and getting to the Learning Outcomes in the back. In this post I’d like to explore why, and what damage this does.

The learning outcomes are at the back of the EYLF, and if you read the whole document it explains why it is important to understand the whole document to help children belong, be and become. Yet pretty much every service I have heard discuss their program only uses the Learning Outcomes in their documentation, and the vast majority of them only link to these outcomes using codes, signs, cut and paste quotes, or even pre-designed templates and apps.

Often it is because there is so much going on in services these days between staffing issues, increased documentation requirements, constant policy and procedure changes, increasing needs of families and children as the world gets more complex and demanding, to name a few. The program has often been established and running for quite some time and when a new curriculum or framework comes in then there isn’t the luxury of time to implement it in the most beneficial way. Who has time to read every page of every document that has been produced an delivered to services, reflect on current practices, and explore the best ways to implement these documents into the service.

This approach, which I understand completely, has several flaws:

  1. If you are only going to look at the learning outcomes then you should at least really look at them otherwise why use the document at all if no-one in your service understands it. To tick a box? When using the learning outcomes they should be understood and reflected in all aspects of the routine.
  2. If you only look at the learning outcomes, you are only looking at the children, the rest of the EYLF supports educators and services to help children achieve the outcomes. If you aren’t at least considering the Practices and Principles, whether or not you refer to them, you could be limiting the role of the educators.
  3. When there is finally a nationwide framework that allows services the freedom to create their own specific curriculum and programming systems, we are limiting ourselves to quick, generic, one size fits all solutions because they are the easy option.

I personally believe that the learning outcomes should be the first element of the EYLF services explore, but 5 years on I would like to think services are now confident enough with the outcomes to moves onto practices and then principles.


If you would like to know more about the Practices and Principles I have created overview documents for each that are available in my online store. You might also be interested in the webinar I am hosting on 2nd March on moving beyond the outcomes. I will explore this in more detail and explain the practices and principles in greater detail. You can purchase a spot for the webinar in the store too. You will receive free copies of the Practices and Principles overviews and a certificate of attendance.

If this post has inspired you to reflect on your practices and you would like to design a service specific program or curriculum, good on you! If you would like any help with this please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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Learning Outcomes Series – Outcome 5

outcome 5

Here we are at the final outcome. I hope you have enjoyed this series. There has definitely been an overwhelming response from you all with lots of positive feedback and hundreds of you requesting the PDFs. I also have a webinar series that would be perfect to show at staff meetings on ways the educator can ensure they support children to reach each outcome. For more information please get in touch with me. They are $25 each or $100 for all 5.

Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes.
This one often gets used for young infants, however it is important to recognise communication skills in older children too.

  • Verbally: With words, saying something, whether accurate speech of developing speech (e.g.”ook” for book)
  • Non-verbally: Using gestures, eye movements, body language or non-verbal sounds. Could be pointing, taking someone to an activity, crossed arms, stomped feet, smiling.
  • Range of purposes: This could be for a basic need like a baby crying when hungry, expressing emotions, communicating likes and dislikes, engaging with friends, answering a question etc.


Children engage with a range of texts and gain meaning from these texts.
This goes beyond reading a book and needs to be looked at with a broader perspective than that.

  • Engage with: More active than just being there when text is present. It could be pointing to the text, turning pages, joining in with songs, responding to words, recognising words, remembering texts, all depends on the developmental level of the child.
  • Range of texts: Books, magazines, signs, posters, logos, written names, written numbers, comics, technology, songs, rhymes, verbal stories.
  • Gain meaning: This could be a child recognising their name, learning a logo always means the same thing, understanding the pictures help explain the text, recalling a text when given visual cues. Children can gain a range of different meanings and it isn’t just the reading of words. They could learn the actions for a song based on how the match the text.


Children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media.
This is where children start to be creative with language.

  • Express ideas: This could be telling stories, making up songs, dances, felt board stories, role playing with puppets etc.
  • Make meaning: Children start to understand how their world works. Role play and imaginative play is a key example of how children can make meaning of language through creative scenarios, e.g. stethoscope, x-ray etc.
  • Range of media: This can be anything from books, pencil and paper, puppets, felt boards, and many more.


Children begin to understand how symbols and pattern systems work.
This one allows children to start to develop pre-reading skills.

  • Begin to understand: Is starting to show initial signs. Patterning is difficult so don’t be expecting miracles!
  • Symbols: This is anything that is always representative of the same thing, for example logos, letters, numbers, shapes, road signs.
  • Pattern systems: This can be patterns in nature, beads, games, rhyming/clapping patterns. It is about starting to release the nature of how they repeat in sections.


Children use information and communication technologies to access information, investigate ideas and represent their thinking.
Once again this one is often used when children are on a computer/tablet. But that is not all that it is referring to.

  • Information and communication technologies: This is anything from phones, faxes, computers, laptops, digital cameras, etc.
  • Access information: This could be looking something up on the internet or sending an email to someone to get information, or pretending to ring someone on the phone.
  • Investigate ideas: This is where children explore how they think technology and their world works. Could be pretending to use technology in their play. Or taking photographs to investigate different view points.
  • Represent their thinking: This is using these different forms of technology to share ideas with. Could be by taking photos, explaining something, looking for the right image on the laptop, or using the technology items in play to represent their ideas of how they work.

Well, that brings me to then end of my Learning Outcomes Glossary Series.

Hopefully this has been helpful and don’t forget if you would like a copy of these please go to my website and they are on the Shop page. Don’t forget while you are there to look at my embedding the EYLF program, these documents supplement that perfectly.

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Celebrating diversity

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This image was one of the selection of valentine’s day themed posts that came up in my pinterest feed over the last couple of days and it has got me thinking…

  • Is valentine’s day an appropriate celebration for children?
  • Is the way we celebrate about the children or about the adults thinking it is cute?
  • What other celebrations do services do throughout the year?
  • Do those celebrations stem from the children’s interests and needs?

We are asked to look at culture and diversity in numerous parts of the NQF…
NQS Element 1.1.2 – Each child’s current knowledge, ideas, culture, abilities and interests are the foundation of the program 
EYLF Principle –  Respect for diversity
EYLF Practice – Cultural competence
EYLF Learning Outcome 2 – Children are connected with and contribute to their world

There are numerous approaches to celebrating diversity and these ways do not need to focus on the full calendar of special days and weeks throughout the year.
How many of the celebrations in your service do you actually feel confident in explaining the cultural influences behind the celebration?
Do you celebrate all from the calendar or do you pick and choose?
How do you choose which ones to celebrate – who decides?
Do you have these conversations, or just do a craft activity and move on?
How do you embrace cultural diversity outside of these special days?

If you look closer in the NQF you will also find the following…
NQS Element 1.1.3 – The program, including routines, is organised in ways that maximise opportunities for each child’s learning
NQS Element 1.1.6 – Each child’s agency is promoted, enabling them to make choices and decisions and to influence events and their world
NQS Element 1.2.3 – Critical reflection on children’s learning and development, both as individuals and in groups, is regularly used to implement the program
NQS Element 5.1.2 – Every child is able to engage with educators in meaningful, open interactions that support the acquisition of skills for life and learning
NQS Element 5.2.3 – The dignity and the rights of every child are maintained at all times
NQS Element 6.2.1 – The expertise of families is recognised and they share in decision making about their child’s learning and wellbeing
NQS Element 6.3.4 – The service builds relationships and engages with the local community

Now I’m not saying there is a right or wrong way, I’m asking you to reflect on your way of celebrating diversity and culture and seeing whether it includes this second set of NQS elements.

Are the children learning anything from the activities provided, or do they have to leave their learning to participate in a structured craft activity?
Do children have control over the way cultural celebrations are implemented? Is their sense of agency considered?
Do the educators reflect on how they implement celebrations and whether these are beneficial to children’s learning and development, or is it the same every year?
Do the educators feel confident and knowledgeable enough to have “meaningful, open interactions”?
Are the families included in the celebrations of their culture, drawing on their expertise and what is appropriate to celebrate with children? Do the families want certain celebrations to occur?
Do you allow the local community to help support these celebrations drawing on information, support and guidance to help ensure celebrations are meaningful?

Hopefully these questions have provided a thinking point to reflect on and consider how your practices meet the NQF. If there is anything I can help with, or you would like further training on this for your service, please let me know.

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Learning Outcome Series – Outcome 4

outcome 4

In my experience Learning Outcome 4 is the favourite among educators because if children are asking questions or playing with activities or participating in group time, they are learning, so assign it to an outcome 4. Hopefully having a greater understanding of the earlier outcomes from this series has allowed you to see how you can use different outcomes. As with learning outcome 1, this outcome moves through stages of development within the context of learning.

Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity.
Children aren’t just born learners, it needs to be nurtured and supported in them by the adults around them. Educators are very important in helping children develop these skills, often through the setting up of the environment.

  • Dispositions for learning: These are the skills that allow learning to happen. Children need to have a positive attitude towards trying new things if they are going to learn new things.
  • Curiosity: Children ask questions, use their senses to explore their environment
  • Cooperation: Children learn best when sharing knowledge with others, whether it be peers, older children or adults, so seeking support is important.
  • Confidence: Without the confidence to try new things, a fear of failure would stop children learning anything new.
  • Creativity: Through being creative with their ideas children start to learn the properties of objects. Often this is “messy” to adults, but to children it is creativity.
  • Commitment: This is seen when children stick with a task, no matter how long it takes or how difficult it is. Whether learning to walk, putting on socks, or doing a puzzle.
  • Enthusiasm: This is that positive approach to learning. Often children don’t know they are learning because they are having so much fun. Make things a game, or play based, and children will flock to it.
  • Persistence: As mentioned in some of the previous outcomes, children need time to repeat tasks and that allows them to learn new things each time and in the end the persistence pays off.
  • Imagination: Children are never going to be able to access a full range of scenarios that allows them to learn new skills of cement their understandings of concepts, but through imagination they can create these opportunities in play, e.g. a building site or a hospital.
  • Reflexivity: This refers to children moving from a passive role in their environment to a more active role where they form ideas and view points based on the information available to them.


Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, inquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating.
Now children have dispositions for learning, they will start to develop skills that allow them to learn concrete, tangible facts and concepts. Educators can support this through providing opportunities, responding to questions, or asking lots of questions. Remember when a child asks a question they don’t always need it to be “Googled”, as this information is often not age appropriate, and will cause more confusion than was already there. If you don’t know the answer, ask they child what they think and work it out together.

  • Skills: This refers to actual concrete learning that children can apply to help them with future tasks.
  • Processes: This refers to concepts and ideas that children can work through to gain knowledge or information.
  • Problem solving: Where children learn to tackle a problem and find solutions or ways around it.
  • Inquiry: Where children ask questions, whether to others or to themselves, showing a willingness to find answers or solutions.
  • Experimentation: Where children try things to see what the result is. If a child is doing something that may seem dangerous or messy or destructive, ask them what they are doing and more often than not they are conducting a science experiment “I wanted to see what would happen if I dropped paint on the floor from up high”.
  • Hypothesising: This is another opportunity for children to become scientists but without the mess by asking them to think about what might happen. This is something that very young children cannot do as they need to develop some more understandings of their world before they can use this knowledge to guess what might happen.
  • Researching: This is where children repeat tasks, noticing any difference in the results if they change what they do. Building block towers is a good example, they get more complex as children do more research on the properties of the blocks.
  • Investigating: This is where children use all of the above skills to explore and gain knowledge about their world and themselves. Often educators are needed to support this and it might turn into a project over a number of days/weeks.


Children transfer and adapt what they have learned from one context to another.
This one really only makes sense if explained as a whole. Breaking it down does not help to explain the outcome, so that it was I am going to do.

  • Transfer and adapt what they have learned from one context to another: Once children have learnt skills and processes for learning, and they have good dispositions for learning, they can start to test out these in different situations. For example if a child has worked out through and activity that magnets stick to each other, they then may transfer this knowledge to see what else magnets stick to, and adapt their understanding of magnets that they not only stick to other magnets, but also metal, as they move around the room. A child might also transfer their knowledge of counting and numbers to exploring money and looking and a shop scenario.


Children resource their own learning through connecting with people, place, technologies and natural and processed materials.
Quite often I have seen this outcome used for when children interact with computers because it mentions technologies, but it is important to take a broader view of this outcome and look at the many options it provides.

  • Resource their own learning: This refers to children seeking more information themselves, rather than having it provided to them. It is an important step in development as children take ownership over their learning.
  • Connecting with: This refers to the child actively seeking out any of the different options to help them learn more.
  • People: This could be a more knowledgeable peer, an older child, an adult, a professional in their place of work (e.g. dentist/zookeeper etc)
  • Place: By choosing to connect to a place, children start to learn more about it as they take in information more. This could be their local community, their school etc.
  • Technologies: This refers to any form of technology that allows children to learn independently. It could be a dvd, a digital camera, a tablet, and app, a phone.
  • Natural and processed materials: Children are able to use a wide variety of materials provided to them to help challenge their learning and understanding through experimenting with them. It is important then to provide children access to a wide variety of natural and processed materials they are free to explore.


Thanks for reading my post and I hope you are enjoying this series.

Hopefully this has been helpful and don’t forget if you would like a copy of these please go to my website and they are on the shop page. The others will be uploaded as the blog posts come out. If you have enjoyed the learning outcomes and would like to explore practices and principles, you can find help sheets of these in my store, or get these free if you sign up for the webinar “moving on from the learning outcomes”.

If you would like any further information, or training for your service on any topic, please do not hesitate to contact me.

If you would like to subscribe to my monthly newsletter for tips, ideas and upcoming events subscribe here

Learning Outcome Series – Outcome 3

outcome 3

Welcome to the third installment in my series of posts on the EYLF Learning Outcomes. Hopefully by now you have accessed all 3 PDF versions of the glossaries. If you have not yet done this please follow the instructions at the end of this post.

Don’t forget that this information is designed to supplement my program of Embedding the Early Years Learning Framework in documentation, and for only $300 you get an instruction manual, training and follow up support to help make your documentation less about ticking boxes and more about fulfilling the children’s needs and interests. This package can be delivered to anywhere in Australia as the pack can be mailed out and training provided online, or I am willing to travel depending on your budget!

Ok… Learning Outcome 3. Often this is the least used outcome, I find, or it is only linked to gross motor activities. So although it is short, it is very important to break down and look at what it really is talking about.


Children become strong in their social and emotional wellbeing. 
The wording of this is important, I think “become strong” is so powerful. It moves from the early understandings of the emotional wellbeing in outcome 1, and the social wellbeing in outcome 2, and it looks at children starting to recognise who they are.

  • Social wellbeing: This is where children are beginning to feel confident entering a group of children, or striking up conversation, or playing independently without feeling left out. We all know the stages of social play: solitary, onlooker, parallel, cooperative, this is where the child starts to feel confident moving up the progression. Whether it is an infant handing another infant a toy so they can play together, or a group of 5 year olds creating their own rules and scenario for an activity they are about to undertake. It is important to note a strong social wellbeing can be seen through children who work independently on a task, not needing their or an adult to support and encourage them.
  • Emotional wellbeing: This is seen where children can not only recognise emotions in themselves, and others, but can respond appropriately. Children start to problem solve how to avoid situations that will have negative outcomes, and support others who are feeling sad, frustrated, anxious. This can be through verbal or non-verbal interactions, and often educators need to form strong connections with the children to start to see these actions as they may be subtle and go unnoticed. An example might be a child in the sandpit put their hand on a shovel to start to use it, another child looks unhappy, the first child hands the shovel to that child, reading the cue that they had ownership of the shovel, and seeks another one nearby. A child with a strong emotional wellbeing understands a range of emotions, how to read these, how to respond to these, and which ones feel best.


Children take increasing responsibility for their own health and physical wellbeing.
This is not just about Johnny having a turn on the obstacle course, or Sally taking part in a classification lesson on sometimes foods and everyday foods. There is so much more involved.

  • Increasing responsibility: Children’s health and wellbeing is very important, from the moment they are born adults worry about their health and physical wellbeing, from nappy changes to diet to getting that important tummy time. But as children get older they should start to take responsibility for this, and that is what you are looking for, them showing ownership, not just passively being healthy because of what is done for them.
  • Health: This is anything from diet, toileting, nose blowing, controlling spread of germs, oral hygiene, bathing, clean clothes. A child should be provided opportunities to discuss their understanding of health in a range of scenarios where they can further develop knowledge and techniques. This could be at meal times, in home corner caring for babies or playing doctors. A child taking increasing responsibility for their health will blow their own nose, wash their hands properly, be able to share a basic knowledge of germs, know about doctors and dentists and their role in looking after people.
  • Physical wellbeing: This relates to children starting to be responsible for how their body moves and what goes into their body. They should be challenging themselves on varying levels of gross motor and fine motor activities. A child may want to continue to complete a task multiple times before they feel confident to move on, so keep this in mind when constantly changing the environment.

Hopefully this has been helpful and don’t forget if you would like a copy of these please go to my website and they are on the shop page. The others will be uploaded as the blog posts come out.

If you would like to subscribe to my monthly newsletter for tips, ideas and upcoming events subscribe here