Early Childhood Education in Australia
The council of Australian government has developed a framework for the educators in Australia to give the young children the chance to increase their potential so that they can develop a foundation that would ensure their success in learning in the future. The vision of the council of Australian governments is that all the children should have the best start of their lives so that they can create a better future for themselves and the other people of the nation. The framework is governed by the idea that the early childhood has a greater role to play in the learning and development process of a child. The framework ensures that all the children have a good experience of quality learning in their early childhood (Wall et al., 2015). For this the framework focuses on providing a play based pattern for the children, this will make their learning experience enjoyable and they would show interest in learning. The important aspect of communication and language are also taken care. The framework is used by the early childhood educators with the help of the parents and the families of the young children (National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, 2009).
The contemporary early childhood education uses a variety of structural, curricular, pedagogical and evaluative approaches, these approaches depend on the institutions, or the centers and the philosophies of the individual as well as the group of professionals, educators. In the early childhood education sector also there is a shift in the theories and the practices. The different ideologies affect the classroom learning (Deewr, 2009).
Impact of historical influence
The advent of British in the Australian continent as impacted its existing education system a lot. British civilization has influenced the thought process and the life style f the people of Australia largely. The British practiced the Montessori and kindergarten system of education, so its evidences can be seen in education system of Australia, the similar practices are followed. The schools have existed in Australia from the very beginning for more than 200 years but the concept of preschools is a slightly newer concept. Some of the historical heroes have influenced the thinking of people regarding the early childhood education practices (Follari, 2015).
According to Martin Luther, the role of education is to teach children to read. Reading abilities were considered important because it was believed that children should have the knowledge of bible, this was the earliest perspective, it was believed in the past that family members and parents has a very prominent role to play in the education of children. The communities also have a very important role to play when it comes to early childhood education. The main idea that existed in the past was that children learn from their surroundings and much of efforts was taken by the parents and they were accountable for the learning of the child. The external environment and its impact were not acknowledged much in the past (Ozar, 2012). Form the early settlement of the society there were many publically funded education facilities and it was strongly supported by the people. Previously there was no Government curriculum to support the early childhood education and the education system was limited to primary, secondary, vocational and tertiary education system, though there were pre-schools but very less in number (Arthur et al., 2012).
Impact of Social influence
As per the social set up, most people believe in home tutoring their small children because they are very cautious about the learning of their children because early childhood learning builds the foundation for their future leanings as well. The working class mostly take advantage of pre schools, those socially unprivileged do not get much opportunity to get their children educated in the mainstream education system like the indigenous and the Torres Islander. Therefore, the Government has to introduce a framework that brings equality in the education system (McLachlan, Fleer & Edwards, 2013).
Impact of cultural influence
Cultural diversity refers to the existence of a wide variety of ethnic or cultural groups within a society. The assortment of different cultures spanning across various races in a society represents cultural diversity. It has a very important impact on the early childhood care and education in the all the societies of all countries, including Australia. Since, individuals start to learn from their early experiences and the family relationships, hence, the sense of belonging starts to develop as they grow up. When their formal education starts, they get to meet other children from different background. This helps them to grow and learn and develop their own judgment based on their values and principles, which are influenced by their culture.
Impact Economic influence
The economic impact on the early childhood care and education system in Australia is quite significant. It is important to have a proper education since childhood, so that they get a job after their education is completed. In many cases, where the child belongs to an underprivileged family or a community, then he might not get the proper education required, due to lack of money. Hence, economic stability of the family as well as that of the community helps in shaping the growth and development of children. For an economy to prosper, a strong, educated and culturally developed workforce is needed. Employers require people with cognitive, social, emotional and communication skills, which are developed through education since early childhood. The development in early childhood drives the success in life, and the people can also contribute in making the economy strong. Therefore, early investment is also necessary to get a higher return, especially from birth to age five (Heckman, 2012). With proper investment, strong and educated human resource would be developed and reduce the future social cost.
Impact of Political influence
It is the political influence that brings a systematic framework in the education system, the federal government of Australia can be said to have brought and organized the early childhood education, and the Federal Government set the existing framework that is used in Australia. They realized the need for a systematic change in the practices that was mostly run by NGOs who followed the kindergarten pattern for early childhood (Udy, 2011). The Federal Government of Australia introduced the National quality framework that was introduced to provide a formal base. It ensured curriculum development, few positive changes were introduced like increase in the remuneration of the professionals, rebate on taxes of for the families, increase in staff to child ratio and it also focused on the providing financial support to the socially disadvantaged people of Australia like the indigenous and the Torres islanders (Ailwood, Boyd & Theobald, 2016).
Evaluation of the Impacts
The contemporary practices for early childhood care and education incorporate various training modules, designed for enhancing the skills and knowledge of people from early childhood. This includes modules for the service providers for education, health care, social service and therapeutic services. The most common practice is the play based learning, implemented in the play schools and kindergartens. The long day care centers for children are also responsible for contributing in the development of children from an early age. As the Australian economy is growing, the number of working parents is continuously increasing. These parents need a place to keep their children for the whole day when both of them are in their workplaces. Thus, these day care centers play a very important role in shaping the personality of the children.
The Australian government is changing the funding policies for the preschools, kindergartens and day care centers. They began funding these institutions since early 1970s, because the government had realized the necessity of early childhood development of the children of the country. They had found that many families cannot afford the education for their children due to higher fees. By the middle of the 1970s, the Commonwealth started to provide the funding for the preschools and the states and the territories of Australia supported with additional funds. Overtime, the day care service providers across the country came into picture with different affiliations, such as, government, private, community based, profit and non profit.
In these contemporary practices, there is impact of social, cultural, political, historical and economical factors. The government has realized that investment in early childhood care is deemed as an investment for the development of future workforce. The personality and skills of individuals are developed through education since early childhood. This education can be obtained from family, friends, schools, colleges and universities, as well as from the societies.
In these institutions, children from various background and culture come together. They get to learn the humanitarian values through small things such as sharing and caring. There is historical impact in the Australian society, through the huge migration of more than 10 million people from all over the world. Hence, there is a huge variation in the culture and social norms. The families maintain these and when children from such diverse background come together in the preschools, kindergartens and day care centers, their personalities get developed subconsciously through the practices of these institutions. The political policies by the government to invest in early childhood care and education system has enabled the societies in Australia to avail these systems for the betterment of the future of their children.
Application of early childhood pedagogy and theoretical knowledge
As said by Deewar, 2010, theories gives different perspectives through which different complex issues can be addressed, the educators and professionals can use these theories to respond in a positive way to very situations that might be raised (Deewr, 2010).
Behavior can be learned as well as u learned, unacceptable behavior can be replaced with acceptable behavior, children change their behavior based on the responses they get for their behavior.
Pedagogical practices associated with this theory are that the educators teach the children appropriate behavior with the help of rewards, it could be an appreciation or any tangible reward like gift or chocolate. The educators should prevent the reinforcement of inappropriate behavior in the child.
The development of a child depends on the their genetic and environmental circumstances, it leads to learning, they learn by exploring and playing. Physical, cognitive, emotional and social areas of development are within.
Pedagogical practices associated with this theory involve educators can plan an environment that is healthy and involves all the aspects that can help the right development of the child, their learning routines should be play based so that it aims at the holistic development of the child (Sumsion et al., 2009).
Scope of essay-
The scope of essay revolves around the prevailing practices of early childhood education in Australia and how it has been influenced by the various, historical, social, economical, cultural and political factors. These factors have impacted the framework of Early childhood education largely. The pedagogical practices have been derived from the various theories, like the behaviorist theory and the development theories.
Ailwood, J., Boyd, W. & Theobald, M. (Eds.) (2016). Understanding Early Childhood Education & Care in Australia: Practices and Perspectives. Crows Nest Australia: Allen & Unwin. Chapter 2.
Arthur, L., Beecher, B., Death, L., Dockett, S., Farmer, S. (2012). Programming & Planning in Early Childhood Settings. (5th ed.). Australia: Cengage. (Chapter 1 - pp.1-14).
DEEWR. (2009). Belonging, being and becoming: The early years learning framework for Australia.Retrievedfrom https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/belonging_being_and_becoming_the_early_years_learning_framework_for_australia.pdf
DEEWR. (2010). Educators belonging, being & becoming: Educators’ guide to the early years learning framework for Australia https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/educators_guide_to_the_early_years_learning_framework_for_australia.pdf
Sumsion, S., Cheeseman, S., Harrison, L., Stonehouse, A. (2009). ‘Insider perspective on developing Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Framework for Australia,Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 34(4), 4-13.
Follari, L. (2015). Foundations and best practices in early childhood education (3rd ed.). USA: Pearson. Chapter 2.
Heckman, J. (2012). Invest in Early Childhood Development: Reduce Deficits, Strengthen the Economy. The Heckman Equation. Retrieved 3 September 2017, from https://heckmanequation.org/resource/invest-in-early-childhood-development-reduce-deficits-strengthen-the-economy/
McLachlan, C., Fleer, M. & Edwards, S. (2013). Early Childhood Curriculum: Planning, assessment and implementation (2nd ed.). Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. (Chapter 2)
National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. (2009). Aistear: the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework and Síolta, The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education ******it: Similarities and differences. Retrieved from https://www.ncca.ie/en/Curriculum_and_Assessment/Early_Childhood_and_Primary_Education/Early_Childhood_Education/Aistear_Toolkit/Aistear_Siolta_Similarities_Differences.pdf
Ozar, M. (2012). Curriculum of Preschool Education: Swedish Approach. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 22(3), 248-257. Retrieved from https://ijbssnet.com/journals/Vol_3_No_22_Special_Issue_November_2012/22.pdf
Udy, G. (2011). EYLF and NQS: Political, educational, social and individual influences: What has been our journey? Every Child, 17 (3), 12-13.
Wall, S., Litjens, I., & Taguma, Miho. (2015). Early childhood education and care pedagogy review: England. Retrieved from https://www.oecd.org/edu/school/early-childhood-education-and-care-pedagogy-review-england pdf Chapter 5.