When using the Early Years Learning Framework always remember…

That it is just that – a framework. It’s not a syllabus, nor a program, not a curriculum, nor a model, neither is it an assessment tool. Above all, it is not a detailed description of everything children will learn. A framework is developed on sound Principles, Practices (Strands – Goals) and Outcomes that a curriculum can be built around. It’s our role as informed educators to extend upon children’s learning in a way that’s guided by the framework and meets the needs of the group as well as the individual.

The Early Years Learning Frameworks in both Australia and New Zealand are ‘well researched’ and relevant resources for Educators working in early childhood

They embrace a vision for moving forward

  • A future that embraces all people
  • A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility
  • A future where all people, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping our countries, both Australia and New Zealand.

In saying this, our frameworks are built around a number of key concepts and principles that require educators to use particular understandings and practices in order to effectively achieve the desired learning

The Early Years Learning Frameworks provide an opportunity for Educators to work towards:

  • A clear focus on children’s learning and wellbeing
  • A shared language to use in the early childhood field
  • A basis for planning, promoting and assessing learning
  • Ways to Improve quality in their early childhood settings
  • Cultural security for Maori, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families
  • Strongly including families and communities in children’s learning

When using the Early Years Learning Framework always remember…

That it is just that – a framework. It’s not a syllabus, nor a program, not a curriculum, nor a model, neither is it an assessment tool. Above all, it is not a detailed description of everything children will learn. A framework is developed on sound Principles, Practices (Strands – Goals) and Outcomes that a curriculum can be built around. It’s our role as informed educators to extend upon children’s learning in a way that’s guided by the framework and meets the needs of the group as well as the individual.

At the time of development, the learning framework was based on the most recent available evidence for ‘best practice’ and what is socially and culturally important for children & families within the wider community. It’s normal and common that some ideas will be consistent with your current practices and knowledge. Some will also be challenging, new and very particular to your community i.e. culturally. When the latter occurs, it provides excellent opportunities for educators to reflect upon and build onto current knowledge and experience so that their curriculum decision-making (intuitive, reflective and informed judgements) is consistent with current thinking and expectations. It is important for Educators to guide and support each other to participate in a culture of inquiry as this promotes shared thinking and better-informed practices.

An inquiry process includes the following steps:

  • Reflect upon practices, identify concerns and choose an issue
  • Gather information and evidence on what is currently happening and look for patterns
  • Reflect upon what the information is telling you
  • Frame a question to be explored
  • Decide upon action—change of practice
  • Evaluate the change
  • Start the process again

Creating and sustaining a culture of inquiry requires:

  • Trust and safe spaces to explore concerns, so that educators feel able to talk about the challenges they face
  • Respect for different viewpoints and the ability to critically reflect
  • Opportunities for all educators to contribute to discussions and debates
  • Commitment to inquiry at an organisational level
  • Time for reflection and time to develop skills in a range of approaches to reflective practice
  • (For example, journal writing, critical conversation groups)
  • Recognition that there is no one right approach or answer
  • The courage to question traditions (taken-for-granted) practices and assumptions.
New Zealand's early learning framework 'Te Whāriki'

Te Whāriki – New Zealand

So let’s start by asking ourselves these questions, or better yet – explore them as a team…

  • How can we use children’s prior learning, interests and strengths in conjunction with the learning Outcomes to guide planning for children’s learning?
  • How are we working in partnership with families to plan for children’s learning?
  • How can we engage children actively in learning?
  • What are appropriate teaching strategies/practices?
  • How are we holding high expectations that all children will be successful learners?
  • How are we striving for effective and equitable ways, ensuring that each child has opportunities to achieve the learning Outcomes?
The Australian Early Years Learning Framework

The EYLF – Australia

And then after implementing changes… Evaluate

Reflect on your professional knowledge, which includes your knowledge of each child and family and children’s strengths and interests.

Reflect on what the children and families are bringing/contributing, saying, doing & how this is being used to forward plan.

Reflect on different cultures, ways of knowing and being.

Reflect on what the group and overall community priorities are for your setting, and how can you achieve these better

Document each step and collate the relevant information to link in with and inform future planning. Don’t forget that it’s a learning journey for all educators, no matter the level. It’s sometimes what we think we know, that can keep us from being open enough to really find out.


This guest post is written by Kelly Sims, from Tasmania, Australia. Kelly is the CEO of professional development and customised training provider: Education and Care Connections. Kelly has years of experience with the EYLF, guiding early years practitioners to consider quality in everything they do.

Posted by Kelly Sims

Kelly Sims is from Tasmania, Australia. Kelly is the CEO of professional development and customised training provider: Education and Care Connections. Kelly has years of experience with the EYLF, guiding early years practitioners to consider quality in everything they do.


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