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You’ve probably heard of the Australian Government’s Early Years Learning Framework but do you know what it’s all about and how it impacts your child’s learning and development?

The EYLF should be of interest to anyone with an interest in a child’s early development - whether you’re a parent, an expectant parent, a caregiver or involved in education in any way - because it sets out a plan for quality education programmes in early childhood settings. 

It is drawn from conclusive evidence that early childhood is a vital period in children’s learning and development and was developed by the Council of Australian Government as part of their educational reforms.  It is a contributor to their vision that: “All children have the best start in life to create a better future for themselves and for the nation.”

It was developed as a curriculum guide (with a specific emphasis on play-based learning) to assist early childhood educators working with children aged 0-5 years old to develop quality programmes and to support and enhance young children’s learning and their transition to school. 

It’s not meant to be followed rigidly, but is rather a set of principles and outcomes which aim to maximise a child’s potential, stimulate their ability to learn, develop a foundation for their future learning and build success for life.

Let’s unpack the EYLF in terms of its three key tenets which describe childhood, namely belonging, being and becoming.

BELONGING.  A child needs to feel a sense of belonging in order to learn, grow and develop.  They need to feel accepted and welcomed by their families, their culture, their community and the world around them and these relationships and connections need to nurtured and strengthened. 

Belonging means feeling supported emotionally.  It means feeling valued, involved, welcomed and wanted.  It means feeling safe and secure and feeling loved.  And for optimum outcomes, everyone needs to feel like they belong - from a child to the parents, the wider family and the people who work at the childcare facility.

Parents and educators can help increase a child’s sense of belonging by creating a safe, comfortable and nurturing environment which is conducive for the child to learn and grow.

BEING.   There’s a wonderful freedom in childhood and children should be allowed to simply be who they are.  ‘Being’ is giving children the sense that they are free to explore, discover and make sense of the world around them - playing, having fun, trying new things and having the time to just ‘be’.  

BECOMING.  A child starts to form their own sense of identity from a very early age and the experiences and opportunities they have in early childhood shape their future.  As they experience new things and discover the world around them, they’re constantly growing, learning and changing.

These three principles underpin the EYLF’s five key learning outcomes, namely that a child:

ü  has a strong sense of identity

ü  is connected with and contributes to their world

ü  has a strong sense of wellbeing

ü  is a confident and involved learner

ü  is an effective communicator

There’s no doubt that the early years of a child's life are critically important to their future educational success and set the foundation for the rest of their lives.  The EYLF is an important early childhood curriculum framework for early childhood educators which sets out key principles, practices and outcomes, but it’s important to remember that these are only guidelines.

When it comes to quality early education and ensuring the best childcare environment, you should look at how different childcare centres near you actually activate the guidelines of the EYLF.

Treasured Tots childcare centres in Fremantle, Bibra Lake and Mandurah are inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to early education and their educators have successfully mapped this international benchmark of educational excellence to the principles of the EYLF.  They are passionate believers in the principles of belonging, being and becoming and their centres reflect their dedication to making sure that everyone in the child’s community joins hands in enabling the child to learn, grow, explore, discover and develop in a loving ‘home from home’ environment.

Their innovative approach to quality early education has earned them a strong following among the local community and if you’re considering enrolling your child into a childcare centre in Fremantle, Bibra Lake or Mandurah, you should check out their website, www.treasuredtots.com.au.

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