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.

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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.

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Learning Outcome Series – Outcome 2

outcome 2

Thanks to everyone who contacted me about the first in my Learning Outcome Series, I’m glad you liked it. Don’t forget if you would like any further support on the EYLF for your specific service I am able to provide training or support, so don’t hesitate to ask.

Learning Outcome 1 is about a child gaining confidence in themselves and their abilities. Learning Outcome 2 is about a child feeling part of something bigger. Don’t forget if you would like a Glossary PDF for your service on these explanations there is instructions at the bottom of the post. If you received the previous glossary you should instantly receive all new PDF’s in this series when the new posts come out.

Children develop a sense of belonging to groups and communities and an understanding of the reciprocal rights and responsibilities necessary for active community participation
This is a long one. Basically it is saying that children are starting to develop a sense of the world around them and move from that egocentric “me” view of the world to feeling that they belong and are part of something bigger. For different age children this looks quite different.

  • Sense of belonging: This is where children start to show signs of awareness of obligations to groups and communities. They feel comfortable and confident enough to be themselves, and explore what impact this has on these groups and communities.
  • Groups and Communities: This can be anything from a family, a neighbourhood, an early childhood service, a school, playgroup, a cultural group, anywhere that can provide a sense of belonging for children.
  • Reciprocal: This means it goes both ways. If you give you also receive and vice versa.
  • Rights and responsibilities: This refers to the rules of the groups and communities. Every different group has different rules. Some spoken, some unspoken, some evolving, some rigid. It is a complex process for children to start to transition between groups and respect the rules and responsibilities of each. At home children might be responsible for their own belongings, at childcare they might be responsible for the communal belongings.
  • Active community participation: This refers to the children taking part in activities and routine tasks within the group. Whether it be serving their own lunch, or selecting which activity to set up outside. They have transitioned from being a passive attendee who was there against their control to someone who is choosing to take part.


Children respond to diversity with respect 
This is where educators need to be willing to have those difficult conversations and reflect on their own biases and cultural beliefs to help nurture children’s development.

  • Respond to diversity: This is where when children see difference, whether they be physical (skin colour/height/weight/glasses/hair colour/amputees etc), cultural (clothes/headdress/markings/jewellery, celebrations etc), or developmental (Cognitive abilities/behavioural etc) they are able to respond to them in an inquisitive nature.
  • Respect: This refers to an adult or educator supporting the children’s natural responses but ensuring they remain respectful. While a person may look “different” without their glasses on, they do not look “weird”. While some people celebrate different festivals it does not make them right or wrong. Explain to children why, give them factual, age appropriate information. Knowledge is power and tends to limit prejudice.


Children become aware of fairness
Note this does not say children are fair, because that can take some years to perfect, but it is about recognising the early signs.

  • Become aware of fairness: This is where children start to see when they or a friend has been wronged. It may come out as “THAT’S MINE” but this is where they need role modelling to explain why it isn’t fair to have their toy taken off of them, and how they could better handle the situation in the future. This can also start to be seen by children responding positively when it is explained to them that everyone is having a turn and they need to wait, instead of having a tantrum.


Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment
In a world where we are constantly realising the damage that has occurred because of past treatment of the environment and each other, it makes sense that children are taught ways to correct or minimise the ongoing effect. Educators need to work hard to explain reasons why to children, not just say “don’t do that”, so they learn why and can share that with others.

  • Socially responsible: This means that within a group or culture children have an understanding of their role and take this seriously. They can’t just do what pops into their head because it may impact others. An example is children who knock down a block tower others have worked hard on.
  • Respect for the environment: This can be anything from not littering, to not pulling apart plants and trees, to building homes for insects, planting vegetable gardens and so forth. One again, explain why it is important and as children get older allow them to explain why, in their words.


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 http://eepurl.com/b7KQHT



Celebrating children’s individuality


In a world of standardised testing and cookie cutter expectations, it is hard to fit into the mold when you don’t have the same skill set as others. It was a fantastic thing when the early childhood sector in Australia moved from deficit to positive wording. Instead of talking about what Julie can’t do, we talk about what Julie can do and what she is developing skills in.

The language goes a long way to changing perceptions of children, but it hasn’t changed how some educators still see the children that need more help. It isn’t fair to compare children with each other, especially not when they are so young. But it seems to be what society expects. We weigh babies and say what percentile they are in. We measure children’s skills based on the average of their peers. School is all about tests and where children sit on the bell curve.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could measure a child’s development against where they were last week, last month, last year? If this was the only measure of a young child’s development that mattered? Would it help educators better process the developmental differences and individual journeys each child is on? Would it help families see their child as a competent and successful individual?

Often the children that stand out are on the lower end of the curve, the more “challenging” children. These children often have so much going on it is impossible for them to learn at the same level as their peers. The “challenge” of these children comes not from their behaviours, but from our ability to connect with them.

I love this quote because it is true…

Whether it be a neglectful or stressful home environment, a health condition that makes them tired or irritable all the time, a sensory processing disorder that makes focusing difficult, or a diagnosis like ADHD or Autism that provides a different view of the world. Each of these children will need additional support in a way that makes it unfair and irresponsible to compare them against other children.

Families do the best they can do with the resources that they have. Not all of them are equipped to cope with a “challenging” child. Not all have the finances or time to commit to months or years of therapy and intervention. Placing a child in an education and care service is sometimes the only resource a family might have. It is not fair that educators then judge these families instead of supporting them. A bit of empathy goes a long way.

By supporting children to be themselves, and finding a way to develop children’s confidence and self-esteem, rather than tearing it down by comparing them to others, all children have an opportunity to shine. It is something that needs to be done in very close partnership with families, who then gain an understanding of their individual child’s unique genius. Focus on how far their child has come, and what fantastic progress they have made, shift the lens with which a child is seen and you can shift the outcomes for that child.

I’d love to hear your success stories in how you have managed to connect with children who are struggling and what impact it has had on their overall development.

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Learning Outcome Series – Outcome 1

outcome 1

I have developed a format where services can move from linking to the EYLF to embedding it into their documentation. The reason behind this is I find that when linking educators do not learn the Learning Outcomes, Practices and Principles. They learn to match key words with the same outcome every time, or cut and paste excerpts into observations. However when we start to look at the learning outcomes there are some complex ideas in there that need to be understood. So I thought I would do a series of posts on the Learning Outcomes to help explain some of these concepts. Hopefully they are helpful, and I developed a helpful PDF glossary version. More details below.

Children feel safe, secure, and supported
This can be seen in different ways through the different developmental stages of childhood. A lot of this outcome has to do with the role of the educator. If the environment is not safe, secure and supportive the children cannot engage in activities because they will be anxious and uncertain.

  • Safe: This means children are not feeling any sort of threat while in care. This can be from the environment, the other children, or the staff. It is the role of the educator to ensure the children have a safe environment and are protected while in care. Educators can make children feel safe by ensuring their environment is protective.
  • Secure: Security can be represented by children feeling comfortable in their environment, able to experiment with new activities, and especially through children being able to transition in and out of care comfortably. This requires a primary attachment to be formed between the child and at least one educator, to allow them to feel secure.
  • Supported: Once a child is feeling secure, and has developed a strong attachment, they will feel supported through that relationship to attempt new tasks. Whether it be playing with new toys, engaging in social activities, engaging with other educators. Educators can support children by challenging them, role modelling for them, or simply engaging with them.


Children develop their emerging autonomy, inter-dependence, resilience and sense of agency
This outcome relates to the ability of children, once they feel safe secure and supported, to challenge themselves and their skills in an environment where they now feel comfortable. By challenging their skills and abilities children start to become more dependent and less reliant on adults or older peers. It is up to the educator to recognise this need in children and support them by allowing opportunities for them to develop these skills.

  • Autonomy: This relates to a child’s willingness to have control over their own world. As a child develops physically, cognitively and emotionally they are more capable of being autonomous. This could be an infant starting to gesture what they want, or becoming mobile; a toddler starting to feed itself or begin to show signs of readiness for toilet training; a preschooler starting to want to dress themselves or have some control over the routine such as sleep times.
  • Inter-dependence: This is a collaborative effort between children and adults, or peers. It is a recognition that children have specific goals and need help to achieve them. This could be bringing an adult to a puzzle table before starting the puzzle, reaching for a hand when about to attempt a balance beam, or an infant using the skills of an adult to recognise their gestures and get them a specific toy/activity for them.
  • Resilience: This is where children start to try new things, and as with anything new we try, they do not succeed at first but they do not give up. If you think of an infant starting to walk, they pull themselves up, hold onto items, wobble, fall, but they get back up. If children weren’t developed for resilience none of us would be walking. It is up to the educators to support resilience in children by providing challenges that are not too difficult and providing support and guidance to allow them to succeed.
  • Sense of Agency: Children with a sense of agency are those who seek control over their environment and their movements within this environment. This is something that educators can support children with by providing them opportunities to present that control. Whether it be dressing themselves, choosing activities, setting up environments, mealtimes, there are many opportunities in a day that children can have control over.


Children develop knowledgeable and confident self identities
These outcomes go in order, so once children have developed some control over themselves and their environment in routine tasks, they start to feel more confident in their own abilities. Educators need to be there to support children through this by providing information and support, whether it be labeling items for infants. They may also provide environments that allow for space and time where children can repeat tasks until they feel confident and capable.

  • Knowledgeable and confident self identities: This is where children have developed an understanding of their interests, skills and abilities. They have developed an understanding of how their world works through gaining more control in this. We often see children repeat tasks again and again. Through doing this they are cementing their knowledge and gaining confidence in their abilities.


Children learn to interact in relation to others with care, empathy and respect
Once children have confidence in themselves and their abilities, they start to look outwards to others. It then makes sense that this would be the next stage in the outcome. This stage needs a lot of support from educators who role model and guide children through these interactions.

  • Care: This is visible when children see another child upset and get them a tissue, or hold their hand. Perhaps they might get an educator to help with a hurt child. They recognise the need for care in a situation.
  • Empathy: This is where children not only recognise someone is feeling a certain way, but can relate to it. This can be taught by asking simple questions like “would you like it if they took your truck?” to help children acknowledge the feelings in others.
  • Respect: This is where children treat others in a way that protects them, and their feelings. They move from bringing a child a tissue when they are sad, to acknowledging a child would be sad if they took their truck, to not taking the truck and respecting that they are playing with it at the moment.

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.

Don’t forget I can also provide training for you on any area you need, or I can help you move from linking to embedding the EYLF with my complete package. Get in touch if you would like to know more.

glossary 1

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Embrace change – It can be amazing


Change, that dreaded word. No one likes change. It sets us all on edge with all the unknowns and what ifs. Change is a part of life, it is happening all around us.

Since I started working in the industry in 2000 I have had several jobs in 2 different countries, many colleagues, hundreds of children in my care, 3 different frameworks, 2 different accreditation/assessment systems, finished 3 qualifications, and many more changes than I wont list. But change doesn’t have to be scary.

If you want to embrace change you need to modify your attitude towards it. Embrace change as a way to further yourself and develop your skills and your career opportunities. I’m sure you have heard “knowledge is power” and this is true in childcare too.

The more reading you do and familiarise yourself with the changes, whether it be a new policy, new owner, new version of governing documents (staying healthy in childcare, regulations, etc) the more confident and knowledgeable you will become. This could also be just doing some research for your own personal growth on subjects that reflect current best practice. There are some excellent books out there on intentional teaching, play based learning, loose parts play, sensory processing disorders and many more.

The more effort you put into accepting, embracing, and even preempting change, you will start to stand out as a leader within your team. You will be able to share information with others, be more confident in your own position, and maybe even get noticed and further your career.

What is the future you would like to create for yourself?

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Programming for each child’s needs


The National Quality Framework asks us to look at each child as an individual and meet their individual needs in the program. It is reflected in many areas:

Element 1.1.2 – Each child’s current knowledge, ideas, culture, abilities and interests are the foundation of the program.

Element 1.1.3 – The program, including routines, is organised in ways that maximise opportunities for each child’s learning.

Element 1.1.5 – Every child is supported to participate in the program.

Element 1.1.6 – Each child’s agency is promoted, enabling them to make choices and decisions and to influence events and their world.

Element 1.2.2 – Educators respond to children’s ideas and play and use intentional teaching to scaffold and extend each child‘s learning.

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.

It is also reflected in the Early Years Learning Framework

So why, with all of this information telling educators to look at “each child” do many take a one size fits all approach? What about a whole-room-doing-the-same-activity-at-the-same-time approach is meeting the needs of the children who aren’t developmentally ready to comprehend what is being taught? Or are too anxious being in a large group situation to pay attention? Or are too frustrated having to stop what they were working on to engage fully?

Doesn’t it make more sense to get to know each child and find out what makes them tick, what their interests are, what their needs are? Then it becomes magical to use our training and skills to find a way to make that child reach their full potential confidently and capably.

Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the easy option, this isn’t the most time efficient option. This concept takes time and effort and a commitment to keep trying new ideas until something works. After all, why did we get into childcare? To make a difference to the children and provide them with the best outcomes we can? Or to make our lives easier and focus on documentation and paperwork?*

Have you ever called a child over from the block area to do a drawing or some craft and they give you a 20 second unenthusiastic attempt? Imagine what would happen if you took paper and pencils to the block area and started to draw a road, adding in buildings from blocks, cars, and drawing road signs and trees. The likelihood of that same child voluntarily picking up a pencil and joining in, to show you their true abilities and skill level would be much greater. Why? Because they are interested.

Then you have the child who lives in home corner, playing with dolls, imaginary food, and isn’t developmentally mature enough to sit for a long group time and participate in a lesson about classifying. If you then were to set up a shop in home corner with their help, I am sure they would show you their skilled classification knowledge when they sorted the bakery, deli, fresh fruit and veg, and dairy sections. The would probably even help make signs for the shop. Why? Because they are interested.

This isn’t to say that children do not need to learn to sit in groups and attend to a task, but they are not developmentally capable of doing this for extended periods. You are also more likely to see a child’s true abilities when you observe their skills in an interest based activity.

I’d love to hear about a time you have managed to reach a child through recognising their interest and working with them within that interest area.

*If you would like to see how it is possible to do less documentation to free up your educators to spend more time with the children, and still meet the NQS requirements contact me, I can help. I have been there, done that.


This post is available for free download from http://rare.support/resources as a PDF

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Don’t be afraid to try new things.


Often in childcare you find that the educators get into it because they love making other people happy. They are givers, and as such often gain their biggest joy from seeing others happy. This can be said for not only the children and families, but also for their supervisors.

This then means that often educators are worried about making mistakes, doing things wrong, and feeling that they have let the team down, the service down, and “failed”. I have seen this first hand, and it is very common. But in an ever evolving workplace with constant changes educators needs to be confident they can evolve too.

These changes could be coming from external forces like new frameworks, regulations, political parties, and internal forces like new owners, team members, directors. Every new change brings modifications to “the norm”, some minor like a new form, some major like  the Early Years Learning Framework.

The best way to cope with these changes is to do your best and not be afraid to fail. A failure is only a failure if nothing is learnt from it. Take time to reflect on what happened and make sure that you use the event as a learning opportunity. Here are some tips when something goes wrong:

  1. Acknowledge your mistakes. Own up to it. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed, and don’t cover them up and keep going. Be honest and say “well that didn’t work!” or “I really don’t understand this new form. Help!”. Acknowledging something didn’t work will help you be able to reflect on it, or get support if needed.
  2. Reflect on what went wrong. Sometimes it is as simple as it was your first go at trialing something and it needed some refining. Other times it might be that you didn’t understand an instruction, you were not prepared enough for the activity, you misjudged the interest of the children, etc.
  3. Prepare for next time. Depending on what your reflection uncovered, this could be anything from asking for help/support, doing more research, going to training, or simply just persevering and trying again with a different approach or more confidence.

Hopefully these steps will help you see that every mistake is an opportunity for growth and self-development. If you look at mistakes as a positive step in your career, instead of the negativity of a failure, you will start to develop a different perspective on them and be more open to trying new things.

Good luck and let me know how you go!

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