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Before you start choose an area of your practice that you feel you would like to develop or improve on.  Decide on a realistic goal to work towards and list strategies that you will use to work towards meeting the goal.  Make sure that the goal is achievable in the time frame available to you.

You may feel that you have a basic understanding of the learning framework but may feel you would like to build on how to link learning experiences to the learning outcomes.

Your goal could be ‘to develop more understanding and skill in linking learning experiences to the learning outcomes’.

  • I will research how the service links EYLF Outcomes to the learning that takes place
  • I will share my documentation with my supervisor and ask for feedback
  • I will do an Internet search for information on EYLF and learning experiences.

Three times during your placement reflect on how your skills have improved and / or how your knowledge has grown. 

  • What feedback did you receive from your Work place Supervisor, how did you act on this feedback?
  • What further training or professional development do you require in this area and where will you access this?
  • Investigate how the service provides opportunity for professional development.
  • Research the Internet for organisations that offer professional development to Early Childhood Education and Care educators in your area?
  • How could you source professional development opportunities in the future?
  • Consider how you will prepare for this planning task, how do you feel about planning a curriculum for a group of children and the challenges that that may be involved?
  • How will you know what to set up and how will you engage the children in the curriculum and promote active learning?
  • How will you document the children’s learning and the intentional and spontaneous teaching?
  • Reflect on your developing skills in pedagogical practice, your role as educator, for example using intentional teaching, scaffolding and documenting children’s learning, your role of program facilitator and leader.
  • What have you learnt from this experience?
  • What aspects of your role as educator do you want to work on in the future?
  • Consider how you feel about working with other educators, families and children to plan a curriculum for the children.
  • Identify challenges that may arise and how you will overcome these.
  • How will you prepare for collaborating with other educators to design the curriculum?
  • Reflect on the collaboration that is taking place, what the children contribute to the curriculum plan and how they do this. Reflect on what happened at the planning meeting?
  • How do you encourage the children to plan, document and reflect on their own learning?
  • How are you seeking feedback from children, families and staff regarding the curriculum?
  • How do you ensure all families feel part of the program?
  • What did you learn from the children, families and staff through collaborating with them?
  • What is the value of collaborative planning?

Before you start

  • Reflect on the type of information that will help you to plan curriculum content.
  • What information will you gather about the existing environment and how will you find out what equipment and materials are available for you to use?
  • Reflect on the learning environment and your planning of the curriculum content.
  • What information about both the indoor and outdoor environments do you need to gather?
  • What challenges have you faced when setting up the environment for the five days? How does the service incorporate sustainability and environmental issues, how will you promote respect for the environment?
  • What sort of learning is currently taking place, how could you extend on the current interests of the children?
  • How will you organise materials and resources attractively and logically?
  • How will you monitor children’s interest in the experiences and learning centres that you set up?
  • What have you learnt about the way children learn and about how to provide a curriculum and learning environment for children?
  • How did the Learning Framework assist you to plan and implement an effective curriculum?

Topic 1: Professional Development through EYLF

This reflective journal deals with the professional development in my area of practice as an educator in a childcare centre with three year olds in Sydney Australia.

Before the start: 27th Aug, 2017- I need to develop the skills required for a concrete academic education of two to three year olds at the childcare centre which is my primary goal. According to the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (EYLF), Australia the educators should assist the toddlers with opportunities for maximizing their potential and provide strong foundation for the successful learning[1]. I also need to develop my understanding of child psychology so that I can work well with them. Therefore, for the accomplishment of my primary goal, it is important for me to develop a basic understanding of the EYLF framework so that I build my EYLF learning skills while working with the toddlers. For this accomplishment, I need to develop strategies that fulfil the EYLF goal, Australia.

Firstly, I have to document information on the EYLF framework and learning strategies in Sydney, Australia so that I understand their way of providing quality education. For this, I will search on internet for information on EYLF learning and experiences. I have to look for the alignment of the childcare services that take place at my centre to the EYLF outcomes and ensure the way of learning takes place at the childcare centre. I need to ensure that the learning taking place here ensures that every toddler receives proper education and care through quality and experienced learning. I will prepare a proper documentation of my findings, share that with my workplace Supervisor, and ask for his feedback. This would help me to work on the areas that require improvement and provide scope for development.  

Second entry: 3rd Sept 2017: I researched internet and I gathered a lot of information about the framework and skills required as an early child educator. After the analysis of EYLF framework and learning, I analysed that there are various area of improvement required at the childcare centre to work in accordance to this framework. I understood the importance of verbal and non-verbal communication while interacting with the kids.

Third entry: 9th Sept 2017: After the completion of two weeks, I understood a bit of the child psychology and the ways to interact with them. However, I lacked the learning skills like verbal and noon-verbal communication to interact with the toddlers. For this, I searched for the services that offer professional development in the area of childcare and how they work. They provide training in the EYLF while working in collaboration with the kids, their parents and play learning[2]. In the meanwhile, I worked closely with four two to three year old toddlers named: Taya, Khade, Andrew and Allsys. After analysing them, I made a documentation of the kids’ behaviour and linked it with the EYLF learning outcomes in areas of sense of identity and well-being, connections, confidence and in becoming active learners. Then, I showed this documented file to my Workplace Supervisor. He advised me to prepare a five-day curriculum plan for the four focused children based on their strengths and ability to form relationships and its evaluation after completion.

Strategies for Learning and Skills Development

Final entry: the five-day curriculum was prepared according to the needs and strengths of the four focused children. Speech and play therapy for Taya as she is shy, slow-paced activities for Khade as he is aggressive and have behavioural issues, Andrew and Allsys are happy, bright and active kids, so dance, sports, puzzles and object identification to enhance their communication skills. They also love to talk and small group plays are designed for them in the curriculum.

This journal focuses on my role in the planning and implementation of the five-day curriculum.

Before start: Before the planning of the curriculum, it is important for me to understand the behaviour, strengths and ability to establish relationships as outlined in EYLF learning outcomes. Taya, a three-year-old girl is shy and non-verbal and that acts as a barrier to communication. This leads to lack of sense of identity and wellbeing in her and deviated for learning. Therefore, activities like singing, play and speech therapy, singing and talking activities would help her to become verbal. Khade has behavioural issues (biting and hitting) and lack ineffective communication because of his parents’ divorce. Activities like slow-paced and playgroup activities would help him to get distracted from his aggressive confrontations. Similarly, Andrew loves to play soccer and a kind and happy boy, so activities like outdoor games and pairing with other children would help him to enhance his belongingness with others. Allsys loves to talk and dance, talk, and so activities like dancing sessions, puzzle solving, object identification and animal identification would give him an opportunity to enhance his intelligence.

For the set-up of these activities, it is important to look for the indoor and outdoor facilities and services that are required for the kids to make them engaged and environment that promote active learning. For the outdoor set up, proper courtyard is required for the soccer session and other outdoor games. Yoga mats are required for the yoga sessions to enhance their physical development. The indoor set up requires a major amount of arrange arrangements. There should be separate rooms for dancing and singing sessions along with an art room for the kids. A language enriching room is required for the literacy development in Australian English for the kids with nursery rhymes books, storybooks and other reading materials so that toddlers get engaged during the reading sessions[3]. The rooms should be colourful and highly appealing so that the children are engaged in the curriculum designed for them.

Documentation and Reflection on Progress

The documentation will be done regularly after the completion of everyday curriculum. For every activity, the children will be monitored and documentation of their progress will be done at the end of the activity.  

Second entry: During the implementation of the five-day curriculum, I developed many skills and played the role of educator, facilitator of the program and as a leader. I learned about many teaching strategies that are practiced in EYLF framework, Australia that helped me to enable the kids who are novice to learn and solve a problem[4]. For this, scaffolding tool was used that helped the kids to explore the various concepts of language, literacy, science and environment at their own pace based on their strengths[5]. For example, the activities like singing and storytelling helped Taya to overcome her shyness and acknowledge her feelings and emotions. Another pedagogical practice outlined by EYLF for active learning is intentional teaching. Strategies like remodelling, demonstration, open questioning, explaining, speculating and engagement in problem solving and shared thinking were employed to extend learning and children thinking ability[6].  

Third entry: I learned from the pedagogical practice that children are highly sensitive and they have their own set of ideas and experiences regardless of any syllabus. The observations they make, experiences through learning while playing in small group activities made me learn that children should be set free to explore their concepts and meanings that build their knowledge. The recognition of their strengths and enhancing them would help kids to overcome their weaknesses and fear. It greatly aligned with the EYLF learning outcomes of being, belonging and becoming which are measurable and broad[7]. I also learned the strengths and areas of need of the children. This helped in facilitating and leading the program.

Fourth entry: As outlined by EYLF curriculum, I want to support children in their learning by providing materials and activities that makes them engaging. In this way, I can also work as a facilitator by providing them a developmentally appropriate learning environment, adequate time, interesting materials, interaction, play so that they find learning easy as well as fun[8].

This section of journal focuses on collaboration while making decision with others.

Before entry: Planning a curriculum that meet the needs and requirements of every child is a challenging task. Every child is different with different needs coming from varied communities and cultural backgrounds. Therefore, while designing the curriculum, the involvement of other educators, parents, is important to support learning. Firstly, I was nervous while talking to other educators and kids’ families as how they would react to the curriculum planning and knowing about their own kids’ strengths and weaknesses. However, the other educators and families were very cooperative and praised me for this program as it enriches learning and quality education. There would be many challenges as to understand every child and engage their family into the decision-making is not an easy task.

Topic 2: Role in Planning and Implementing Curriculum for Three-Year-Olds

Every child is different and to meet every specific needs of it is an arduous job. It is important to note that every child would engage in this curriculum or not, whether the program enrich learning and fulfil the goals of EYLF framework. To overcome this, I interacted with other educators and families through effective communication explaining every aspect and objectives of the program.

For the preparation of the curriculum, collaboration from other educators is required for the set-up of the indoor and outdoor facilities and train teachers in different activities so that every activity is completed successfully.

Second entry:  after the first week, it was observed that children are participating in the curriculum and being engaged in the activities. At first, they were highly hesitant and shy to engage in the activities, however, with passing days; they started taking interest in the activities that engaged their being and belongingness. In the meanwhile, the meetings with other educators and families were interesting and gradually, they started providing their suggestions that also helped in the development of curriculum planning. Children were encouraged through empathetic communication and listening to what they say, helped to make the children engaging.

Third entry: For seeking feedback from the families and other educators, weekly meeting was held to work on the progress of the children at home and at the childcare centre whether they have overcome their weaknesses and barriers in learning and communication. The curriculum was planned in such a way that meets the needs of every child with measurable outcomes and that helped the parents to become a part of the program.

Last entry:  From the collaborative planning, I learned that the high quality of education and learning could be achieved. Children, their families and other educators work as facilitators in the learning process and provide an enriching environment for the children in the early education years. It provides overall development for the children at the childcare centre as well as at home.

This journal deals with the learning experiences, centre of learning, routines and transitions in the implemented curriculum.

Before start: The type of information like the interests, likes, strengths and behaviour of the children would be helpful for the designing of the curriculum. This would help to inculcate the activities and programs that they are interested into the curriculum enhancing their strengths and relationships with others.

The existing information like the indoor and outdoor facilities and services that are required for the activities in the curriculum is required. It is important to ensure that all the materials and equipments that are required for the activities like colouring books, crayons, painting colours story and poem books, music player, are available for use or not.

Understanding Children's Behaviour, Strengths, and Ability to Form Relationships

Second entry: The information required for the indoor and outdoor environment is regarding the facility for a proper playground for soccer and other games. Availability of sufficient yoga mats for the sessions, colouring books, colour pencils, water colour, pencils, music player, story books, alphabets and object identification books, puzzles are available at the childcare centre or not.

For the outdoor games, environment was modified by making a proper courtyard in the playground for the children. Moreover, for promoting respect for environment, sustainability, trees and flowering plants were planted for the kids to make them understand the importance of nature and sustainable environment.

Third entry: After two weeks, the science and language learning centres were evaluated in the five-day curriculum. The art room, play, dance and singing room was designed in a colourful and appealing manner with attractive pictures and alphabets on it that helped the children to learn in an effective manner by visualising them.

Two learning centres took place that helped to enhance the interests of the children in the curriculum. Science and language development were monitored in the five-day curriculum plan. Play based learning helped them to enhance their communication skill, language development and social and physical development like storytelling and rhyming books making them familiar to Australian English. Animal and object identification, outdoor games, puzzle and picture books helped them to understand the concept and importance of science and environment in their lives.

Monitoring of children interests can be done through assessment and evaluation. During the activity session, I will be focusing on the degree of engagement and their development in accomplishing the activity given to them. This would also be helpful in the assessment of the children regarding their enhancement in language and ability to make relationships with peers.

Children learned in a way where they got the opportunities to learn how to solve a problem, listen, cooperate, and develop social skills to interact with others. The picture schedules, simple language for instruction and repetition of information helped them to understand the concepts well as there was no rushing of time.

Fourth entry: EYLF framework acted as a guiding factor while assisting me in planning and implementing the effective five-day curriculum plan. Children learned through play and activity based learning as the curriculum provided them a rich learning environment[9]. This framework provided an opportunity for me to accomplish my goal of being a successful early child educator in Australia. It gave me an opportunity to focus on learning and wellbeing of children, share a common language in the curriculum, plan, promote and assess learning through this framework with improved quality education for the toddlers and children. It also made me understand the value of collaborative planning by including other educators and families in the child learning[10].

Activities, Indoor and Outdoor Facilities, and Environment for Active Learning

References

Blomberg, G., Sherin, M.G., Renkl, A., Glogger, I. and Seidel, T., 2014. Understanding video as a tool for teacher education: investigating instructional strategies to promote reflection. Instructional Science, 42(3), pp.443-463.

Bredekamp, S., 2016. Effective practices in early childhood education: Building a foundation. Boston: Pearson.

Cheeseman, S., Sumsion, J. and Press, F., 2014. Infants of the knowledge economy: the ambition of the Australian Government’s Early Years Learning Framework. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 22(3), pp.405-424.

Elliott, S., Carr, V., Ärlemalm-Hagsér, E. and Park, E., 2017. Chapter 14 Examining curriculum policy and pedagogy across borders: re-imagining socially transformative learning in early childhood education. In Envisioning futures for environmental and sustainability education (pp. 319-341). Wageningen Academic Publishers.

Gregory, E. ed., 2017. One child, many worlds: Early learning in multicultural communities. Routledge.

Grieshaber, S. and Graham, L.J., 2017. Equity and educators enacting the Australian early years learning framework. Critical Studies in Education, 58(1), pp.89-103.

Logan, T., Lowrie, T. and Bateup, C., 2017. Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA): Developing a Learning Program to Inspire Curiosity and Engagement in STEM Concepts in Preschool Children. 40 years on: We are still learning!, p.621.

Peers, C. and Fleer, M., 2014. The theory of ‘belonging’: Defining concepts used within belonging, being and becoming—The Australian early years learning framework. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 46(8), pp.914-928.
Sumsion, J., 2017. Provision for ‘Under 3s’ in Australian Early Childhood Education and Care Policy Commitments: A Metaphorical Canary in the Coal Mine?. In Under-three Year Olds in Policy and Practice (pp. 205-216). Springer Singapore.

Wright, S., 2015. Children, meaning-making and the arts. Pearson Higher Education AU.

[1] Peers, C. and Fleer, M., 2014. The theory of ‘belonging’: Defining concepts used within belonging, being and becoming—The Australian early years learning framework. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 46(8), pp.914-928

[2] Sumsion, J., 2017. Provision for ‘Under 3s’ in Australian Early Childhood Education and Care Policy Commitments: A Metaphorical Canary in the Coal Mine?. In Under-three Year Olds in Policy and Practice (pp. 205-216). Springer Singapore.

[3] Grieshaber, S. and Graham, L.J., 2017. Equity and educators enacting the Australian early years learning framework. Critical Studies in Education, 58(1), pp.89-103.

[4] Logan, T., Lowrie, T. and Bateup, C., 2017. Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA): Developing a Learning Program to Inspire Curiosity and Engagement in STEM Concepts in Preschool Children. 40 years on: We are still learning!, p.621.

[5] Blomberg, G., Sherin, M.G., Renkl, A., Glogger, I. and Seidel, T., 2014. Understanding video as a tool for teacher education: investigating instructional strategies to promote reflection. Instructional Science, 42(3), pp.443-463.

[6] Bredekamp, S., 2016. Effective practices in early childhood education: Building a foundation. Boston: Pearson.

[7]Elliott, S., Carr, V., Ärlemalm-Hagsér, E. and Park, E., 2017. Chapter 14 Examining curriculum policy and pedagogy across borders: re-imagining socially transformative learning in early childhood education. In Envisioning futures for environmental and sustainability education (pp. 319-341). Wageningen Academic Publishers.

[8] Cheeseman, S., Sumsion, J. and Press, F., 2014. Infants of the knowledge economy: the ambition of the Australian Government’s Early Years Learning Framework. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 22(3), pp.405-424.

[9] Wright, S., 2015. Children, meaning-making and the arts. Pearson Higher Education AU.

[10] Gregory, E. ed., 2017. One child, many worlds: Early learning in multicultural communities. Routledge.

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