An effective early childhood educator knows and understands the principles, practices, outcomes and implementation of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF)’Being Belonging and Becoming’, and strives to establish effective teachings to children between birth to eight years old, the most important time in brain development for young children. This paper centers around the EYLF and current research that argues, teachers need to create suitable environments to implement the curriculum in accordance to their student population and incorporating productive planning.
This planning focuses on children learning through play and encourages building strong relationships and self esteem were families and cultures are respected and involved through appropriate practices of collaboration. This forms the basis of an effective Early Childhood teacher. Bagdi, A. , and Vacca, J. (2005) views early childhood as ‘The period of early childhood sets the stage for how well children view themselves each other and their world’. (Bagdi & Vacca, 2005, pp145).
The EYLF was formed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to assists educators in quality teaching throughout Australia. This frameworks emphasis on play based learning which develops young children’s social, emotional, literacy and numeracy skills. Teachers work in partnerships with influential family members to create the COAG’s vision, ‘All children have the best start in life to create a better future for themselves’. (Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for the Council of Australian Governments, 2009, pp5).
It is the responsibility of the early childhood teacher to interpret their states curriculum, and meet the set EYLF guidelines towards standards, practices and systems to apply teaching methods that are effective in the classroom environment and facilitating the EYLF characteristics in developing children’s sense of ‘Belonging Being and Becoming’. To meet the COAG overall outcome, of maintaining high teaching standards, so all young Australian’s can become successful learners, confident and creative individuals that contribute actively within society. Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for the Council of Australian Governments, 2009, pp5-9). A quality teacher evaluates their curricular by gathering evidence through analysis and observation teachers record the child’s experience by using reflective practices, Did these experience work for the children? Did I allow a chance for the children to extend on play? Was the activity appropriate to the children’s cultural backgrounds? How can families become involved in the activity?
Has the child gained a sense of identity, built confidence, developed relationships? Was the experience too challenging or not challenging enough? Did the child receive the desired outcome,if not why? How can future experiences develop the child or plan for future experiences to develop the child’s learning? Also by allowing the child the chance to reflect on their leaning can become a powerful tool in creating meaningful experiences. (Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for the Council of Australian Governments, 2009, pp17).
Effective teaching sets the curriculum around the student population within the classroom providing structured rich learning activities directed at the child’s level, stage and skills, while incorporating their interests and ideas. The EYLF is based on learning through play which is fundamental to children’s social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development were they can engage in learning in a fun environment. It is the teachers responsibility to observe and listen to gain a deeper understanding that will in turn assist in developing high quality experiences for the child. Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for the Council of Australian Governments, 2009, pp9,15)
Also a competent teacher keeps up to date with curricular changes, educational and philological approaches to maintain high quality teaching practices. The EYLF claims the ‘Curriculum encompasses all the interactions, experiences routines and events planned and unplanned, that occur in an environment designed to foster children’s learning and development’. Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for the Council of Australian Governments, 2009, pp9) A quality teacher provides a rich learning environment, that stimulates the child allowing them hands on experiences, with inside and outside play. Where the teacher facilitates play by interacting exploring and extending on the child’s imagination and teachers play an active role where the child and adult work together without the adult domination. How children learn and what opportunities are provided shows whether a teacher has high expectations for themselves and the children.
This is a list of the experiences children should have available to them every day, a workshop area for making and creating painting drawing. Pretend play such as home corner dolls sewing, food preparation, dress-ups. A book corner, computer, woodwork, wooden blocks, dance/ drama/ music space, climbing frames, bikes/ wheeled vesicles, sand/ water and malliable materials, gardening digging area, puzzles and a display wall or table. The display table allows the child a chance to reflect on what they have learnt, therefore empowering the child’s’ self-esteem and self-confidence. Bruce,2005, pp58-69). Kemple and Hartle (1997); Stanulis and Manning (2002) state, teachers should allow flexibility in classroom projects and provide accessible materials to encourage independence. Where available materials should be interchangeable to creating different experiences, that cater for the age group in care and given choices of play interaction such as individually, paired or grouped settings. The way a teacher sets up the classroom environment should establish good routines and promote healthy play.
There are many activities a competent teacher can plan within the child’s day, according to Kemple and Hartle (1997) free play should be implemented daily within the programing; they argue it’s the key to developing social competency with peers and it allows teachers the chance to observe peer iteration and plan future experiences, that will help to develop relationships building techniques this can be done through puppet dramatic play, books, stories class discussion. Kemple and Hartle (1997) discuss ways a teacher can arrange the room to influence quality peer interactions that supports social play, encourage sharing and cooperation.
Children that are not taught cooperation educate, fall into a higher risk of peer isolation and rejection. (Bagdi ; Vacca, 2005). In order to be an effective teacher The Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for the Council of Australian Governments (2009) states the importance of taking a holistic teaching approach, so the teacher cares not only for educating the child but is also concerned with the child’s physical, personal, social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. A quality teacher is ware of the child’s individual needs and interests such as their social, personal, cultural, physical and academic level and positively encouraging each child to reach their full potential. Just as Stanulis and Manning (2002) argue the importance educators can make by teaching children how to respect themselves and others, through positively creating a sense of ‘Belonging’, this can be achieved by building on the child’s strengths and talents that will allow them to feel important and special, giving them a healthy learning environment to grow.
This may develop connections with others that will in turn build self-esteem and confidence within themselves and develop how to treat others by respecting and valuing them. (pp14) A quality teacher creates mutual respectful relationships and sets the foundation to teach children how to treat others, by nurturing respecting and valuing the child impacts on how they form relationships with others. Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for the Council of Australian Governments, 2009, pp12) An effective teacher understands the importance of building strong relationships, Kemple and Hartle (1997) research suggest how vital peer relationships are to a child’s social emotional development and the comment is supported by Bagdi and Vacca (2005) that argue, teachers can contribute to peer relationships through nurturing and building strong relationships that develops a child’s emotional self and well being.
Therefore the classroom needs to create opportunities for the child to feel respected, listen to and nurtured without feeling threatened or scared so they can enjoy peer interaction (Kemple, & Hartle,1997). Children that feel respected and valued within the classroom environment enjoy learning, want to assist others and are better equipped to deal with conflict. (Bagdi, & Vacca, 2005).
And Bruce, (2005) endorses this statement by claiming, if the child’s ideas feelings and relationships are developed so is their own identity, creating healthy dispositions or attitudes towards learning. Also a quality teacher knows how to intervene and support children when dealing with inappropriate peer relationships by guiding positive interactions and helping children to articulate ways to address conflict. As bystanders children can observe and listen to how the teacher communicates to solve disagreements and learn how to problem solve for themselves.
This role modeling provides ideas for dealing with conflict that will empower children to gain control and build their self-confidence. (Kemple, ; Hartle,1997) To maintain high quality teaching standards teachers should apply Stanulis and Manning (2002) prospectives by engaging positive attitudes in the classroom. They argue that social interaction by adult key figures is the foundation to successful social emotional development within children.
Just as the EYLF articulates the importance of teachers responding towards children within care, and how teachers should build on the child’s strengths skills and knowledge to enhance learning. (Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for the Council of Australian Governments, 2009, pp14) As the classroom environment can affect a child’s self worth and teachers need to look at verbal, non verbal communication, behavior and attitudes towards children within care.
This means that teachers need to be aware of their own behavior when interacting with children, by understanding appropriate verbal and nonverbal communication and working these two concepts to send a clear message. Children will sense teachers attitude through nonverbal communication of speech, gestures, touch, body language, posture, facial expressions, eye contact and verbal elements that include emotional tone of voice, quality and style.
Teachers are role models, thats why it’s essential to maintain control of communication techniques as children will mimic what they see and they need examples of how to communicate effectively with others to build strong relationships. With this responsibility of creating positive interactions comes regulation of behavioral expectations that requires teachers to listen to interactions and provide support to correct negative attitudes. (Stanulis, & Manning, 2002).
If children are discriminated against it effects their self worth that will follow them throughout life effecting their hopes and dreams The Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for the Council of Australian Governments (2009), has set guidelines through the EYLF to ensure an understanding of diversity, quality teachers know how to respect and care for the well being of every child. Teachers are in a unique position to enhance quality teaching by following the EYLF of cultural competence by becoming aware of their current thinking and examine any bias nd prejudices to develop practices that embrace multiculturalism and show this actively within the classroom, so children are given a sense of ‘Belonging’ – where families are respected in regards to heritage, cultures, religion and lifestyles. Teachers encourage families to bring their experiences, knowledge and skills into the classroom to learn ( Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for the Council of Australian Governments, 2009, pp 9,13,16) and teachers treat all as individuals by embracing and understanding diversity. Managing this with respect and dignity will build a child’s self worth and wellbeing.
Therefore children should have opportunities to come into contact with other cultures, as Bruce (2005) states, ‘Mixing with a divers rang of people helps to break down stranger-fear, provided that positive strategies are developed that support the situation’. pp201. Each child has the right to have a fulling life at home and beyond knowing who you are? what your culture is? and knowing your religious roots are important in developing a child’s identity, in turn their self worth and it starts with the teacher giving all children and families the chance to feel valued.
This can be done by working with the parents and families, encouraging the child’s home language, valuing different dialect and accents give equal opportunities, understanding any disabilities and avoiding stereotyping. (Bruce,2005 pp195-203). Also a quality teacher has healthy transitions set in place for children and families one suggestion is for teachers to educate themselves on the families cultural background will help the families feel comfortable and this will impact on the child’s feelings and they will have confidence to adjust in the classroom environment. Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for the Council of Australian Governments, 2009, pp16) Teachers need to be aware that respecting families is how you respect the child, and a quality teacher builds healthy relationships with all families from different backgrounds (Bagdi, & Vacca, 2005).
To create a meaningful experiences for children in care, teachers need to form working partnerships with families, this is gained by developing open communication so all parties feel valued trusted respected to form positive collaboration. Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for the Council of Australian Governments, 2009, pp12) In conclusion to make an effective teacher, requires the knowledge of the EYLF system designed to provide teachers with the guidelines to perform to high teaching standers towards young students. Looking at the framework characteristics of ‘being belonging and becoming’ the keystone in creating a confident sense of self within children laying the foundation to future learning.
Where teachers set the curriculum to develop children with life skills by successfully evaluating their own teaching practices in order to achieve higher outcomes for the child’s social, emotional and physical development. By creating a rich learning environment through facilitating to building strong relationships between teacher, student, peer and families. And create a sense of identity within the child by communicating positively and respecting diversity toward all children placed in care.