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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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