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Please note that this article is aimed to educate readers who are beginning to implement and learning how to incorporate the EYLF into their documentation. So this tutorial is written keeping in mind that our readers may have "zero" or "limited" knowledge on EYLF (or) how to create a suitable program based on EYLF. Therefore we have tried to put it in a very simple term in this article so everyone new to this can easily understand. The examples demonstrated in this article is a very basic format so our readers can see a simple demonstration with examples of how you can start off creating your own basic templates. Bear in mind that you are NOT limited to these templates and these templates are only shown to demonstrate a simple approach to get you started. EYLF is a framework which is open to your own interpretation and there are many way you can improve these examples based on your own understandings and experiences. So use your imagination. You have to understand that there are no right or wrong when using the framework it's just about adding the elements throughout the EYLF into your own documentation and this article easily demonstrates how you can do this.
ONLINE TOOLS NEW!: We have improved the ideas from this article and have created a much more advanced digital tools to complete your Programming Documentations online itself. Best of all, we are providing these tools for FREE! You can find these new templates and designs under our "Online Tools" (Go to Printables --> Classroom Management --> Online Tools). These new online tools will provide you with a very simple solution for you to complete your everyday documentations like Curriclum Plans, Learning Stories, Reflections of our Day and Child Observations directly from your computer. These can be used for Long Daycare, Family Daycare and OOSH Before and After School care settings. We have designed and created these templates based on our understanding and interpretation on the EYLF, MTOP and the NQS. Each template design compliments one another and shows clear links on how you are using elements of the EYLF in your documentation. Click here to go to Online Tools!
Alright...now lets get started with this tutorial....
The Early Years Learning Framework is a great document in which we can use to extend and enrich children’s learning across all early childhood settings and change the standard of care throughout Australia. However, change brings up challenges and for some of you, implementing the EYLF can be a challenge. This is why I decided to provide you with sample documentation of how the EYLF can be implemented at your centre. The sample documents can be viewed, printed and used at your early childhood setting free of charge. It can also be used as a template and suit any changes that you would like to make, according to your needs. All samples are original and are created from the key elements referred throughout the Early Years Learning Framework. I sincerely hope that the curriculum planning and documentation that I have provided will lead you down the right track of implementing the EYLF at your centre.
The documents that I have created are original content and it is only pure coincidence if the samples are similar to ones that may have already been developed. Please understand that implementing the EYLF is a learning progress, so information may be updated if necessary.
So, where do you begin? I am sure most of you are trying to figure out the best way on implementing the EYLF curriculum at your service. Do you change your program format? What documentation do you need? How do you implement the elements of the EYLF (Australia) within your curriculum? These are all valid questions that need answering. The EYLF explains the theory of the key elements and encourages us to think, reflect, use our knowledge and best judgment in “designing a curriculum” with children, however practically it doesn’t give us a particular format on how to document, design and write up plans.
This article will provide you with the necessary information and support you need to develop a Curriculum Plan using the key elements referred to throughout the Early Years Learning Framework. The information and documents I have provided are those fundamental in gathering documentation and evidence to support children’s learning and development.
The points explained in this article include the following:
The Early Years Learning Framework says that a curriculum is - “all the interactions, experiences, activities, routines and events, planned and unplanned, that occur in an environment designed to foster children’s learning and development” (source – EYLF document, pg. 9).
When we start to think about curriculum decision making and begin to plan the curriculum, we should also think about, collaborating with families, about play experiences, guiding children learning and so on. It’s a continuing process of collecting evidence and information, identifying the development of learning and reflecting upon our daily practices.
As part of implementing a curriculum plan within your setting, documentation (such as Daily Reflections, Learning Stories and Child Directed Observations) becomes a resource tool that you use to reflect on and extend upon the children’s learning and development. This is done by linking further learning opportunities from these documents to the curriculum plan.
Before you start to think about what experiences / activities to implement on your curriculum plan (previously known as “program”), you will need to gather information / evidence that supports children’s learning and development. The collection of evidence you gather to form your curriculum should come from a variety of sources. Once you have gathered the sources, you can use these to make up your curriculum plan. The collection of evidence and the information you gather should come from the following sources:
Through this information and evidence you have gathered you can begin to make up your curriculum plan. This is the process of “designing a curriculum” with children, rather than “programming” for children’s learning.
Once you have gathered the information and evidence (listed above) you can begin to design a curriculum plan. The EYLF doesn’t provide a specific format for you to follow however it does have a specific emphasis on play based learning and teaching, which should be one of the practices included into the curriculum plan. There is no right or wrong way on how you design your curriculum plan and each individual child care professional will have their own thoughts and ideas on how to implement the elements of the EYLF within their program plan. In saying this, I have developed a basic format of “A Daily Curriculum Plan” that I will be sharing with you here, which will give you an idea on how you can go about designing a curriculum plan. (Refer to Online Tools for more advanced curriculum plan templates).
I have designed my curriculum plan as per each day in this example. It is up to you on whether you would like to have a daily curriculum plan or a weekly curriculum plan. The reason in having a daily curriculum is to include continuation of children’s learning experiences from the previous day through daily reflections, learning stories, individual child observations, intentional teaching, and child/parent input etc. The experiences in which I plan and prepare on my daily curriculum plan are gathered from “Daily Diary- Reflections of Our Day” (this will be explained further below).
Curriculum Plan Headings:
To emphasis a play based learning approach within the curriculum plan I have used these following headings: Sensory Play (learning through senses), Exploratory Play (learning by finding out), Manipulative Play (learning by touch/feel/manipulating), Dramatic Play (learning by role-taking/pretending) and Creative Play (learning by creating). The headings also support the types of play the children will be engaged in throughout the day within their learning environment. It is not essential to have the same headings as the ones I have used. Depending on your previous program, the headings can been mortified to suit your needs. For e.g. you can use part of your routine as the headings – free play, transition, music group, group time, outdoor play and quiet time. This approach reflects what experiences the children will be engaged in during different parts of the day.
Experiences and Equipments:
In these blank boxes, you will write up the experiences or equipment which you will set up for the day, in the corresponding boxes. The number of experiences required in each box will depend on the information and evidence you have gathered and are reflected through the Daily Diary – Reflections of Our Day. When writing up the experiences in each of the boxes, it is not necessary to include all the equipments that you will have out. Your room set up usually stays the same (block area, book corner, writing centre, puzzle shelf etc.). On your curriculum plan, record any specific extra equipment, experiences and changes that will be placed in the setup of your room.
Learning Outcomes and Input Keys:
In this table the L/O (learning outcome) and I (input key) is recorded for each of the experiences, equipment or changes that is listed in your curriculum plan. Think about and identify which learning outcomes you want the children to achieve while engaging in that particular experience, using that specific piece of equipment or any changes which have been made. Once you have identified the learning outcome, record it in this column with their number, for e.g. 2.2. The input column is used to record the symbols from the input key box which identifies the input from children, parents, staff and where this experience, equipment or change had originated from.
Group Broad Goals, Cultural Component & Parents Suggestions:
You will use this box to record your group broad goals (which can include the centre philosophy), cultural component (this can include a cultural experience, cultural celebration, resource, piece of equipment that promotes cultural diversity) and parent input/suggestions.
The input key box shows the links of your planning and assessment and tells others (parents and staff) who contributed to the curriculum plan. This is shown through the information and evidence you have gathered, through a variety of sources that supports children’s learning and development. The input key doesn’t need to be a specific image. Other options you could use include: using different colors, letters, abbreviations etc. (as long as the input key can be clearly identified, on your curriculum plan).
The day’s activities and experiences don’t always go according to plan. There could be an interest that has just emerged or a spontaneous experience that just takes over. Using this document will enable you to record what actually happens during the day and the learning that took place through children’s play.
In this column, you can write a series of short stories or a long story describing the day’s experiences. Think about the learning opportunities that the children engaged in during the day and use that information to describe the children’s understandings and actions. You can record conversations, evaluations from curriculum planned activities and spontaneous experiences that may have occurred throughout the day. Provide as much detail as possible as this document becomes an assessment for learning.
Learning Outcomes and Input Keys:
When you have written up your daily experiences, take a minute to identify the L/O (learning outcomes) which were present in the children’s play. List the learning outcomes which apply in this column with the corresponding number e.g. 3.1. This will enable you to recognize the learning outcomes in your daily experiences. The I (input column) is used to record the symbols from the input key box which identifies the input from children, parents, staff and where this experience, equipment or change had originated from.
Extended Learning Opportunities:
Once you have written up your “Reflections of our day” and filled in the learning outcome and input column, you will need to complete this section. As you complete your write up, try and think of further activities/ experiences that you can provide for the children to support their learning and development. Include opportunities for children to extend their learning from the daily experiences, emerging interests and observations. The experiences, activities and learning opportunities that you provide here, will make up part of your curriculum plan. Once written, the experience and learning outcome recorded in this box can be transferred to your curriculum plan for the following day (under the corresponding heading in the curriculum plan). The date of implementation is used to date when the particular experience, equipment or change is going to take place. Although most of the time, the date of implementation would be for the following day. There are times where you may need to implement a particular experience on a specific day, not necessarily the following day.
When implementing the EYLF, the “Daily diary – Reflections of our Day”, becomes an important source of evidence in which you would use to further develop your curriculum plan. This document is to be used as a tool to REFLECT on your daily practices, identify emerging interests and observe and report on play based learning that supports children’s development. In simpler terms, you use this to record what actually happened during the day.
When you begin to write up the “Daily diary – Reflections of our Day”, you can write one long story or a series of short stories describing the children’s play experiences and REFLECT on the learning that took place throughout the day. Record conversations, report on spontaneous experiences and the planned curriculum, describe the children’s strengths, understandings and interactions with their peers and teachers. Provide meaningful information that describes children’s learning through play and interactions.
So you may begin to think, what is so different to our previous program? Well typically, in the past our planning approaches for the program would focus on activities (mainly gathered from child observations), to improve skills that children could NOT do, art and craft for the children to take home and other activities most probably put on the program to fill up space rather than focusing on children’s play based learning. As we begin to implement the EYLF into our practices, child directed observations also changes to focus on what children CAN DO (rather than being compared to a developmental checklist) and how it is linked with the key elements within the EYLF – Belonging, Being, Becoming, Principles, Practices and the Learning Outcomes. Below is an example of child directed observations, through EYLF.
When thinking about child directed observations, we try and incorporate a more story telling approach. Previously the observations were very precise and primarily focused on the developmental abilities such as; the way a child holds their pencil or the amount of shapes and colors the child knows. Now we focus on the child’s interactions, their conversations, what they are interested in and their abilities and understandings. When observing a child, specifically pay attention to the scenario, interactions and conversations the child is engaged in and document that.
Child Directed Observation Title:
Every story needs a title and that also goes for our child directed observation. Come up with a catchy title for your observation.
Reflection of Learning:
In this column, reflect and think about what learning took place while that child was engaged in that particular experience. A simple approach is to identify the learning outcomes, principles and practices from the EYLF and link it to how the child displayed these particular elements. This will give you a familiar understanding with the key elements within the EYLF and reflect on the child’s learning.
Think about how you may encourage and extend on the interests, abilities, understandings and play that have been demonstrated throughout this observation, through all areas of the curriculum plan. This can include a learning experience, a particular game or a topic that the child may want to explore. The date of implementation will tell you when you have planned for that specific experience.
It’s important to ask parents for their comments and feedback regarding their child’s learning and development. When you have completed the observation, share it with the child’s parents and encourage them to offer their thoughts and suggestions.
You may have noticed that I didn’t include an evaluation box on this document. The reason is that the evaluation for the extension ideas should be included in the reflections of our day. This can be found through the date of implementation. All individual child observation evaluations can be included on the reflections of our day.
This is one of the most important elements reflected throughout the EYLF and plays a vital role in supporting the learning and development of the children within your child care setting. There is more to it, than just stacking blocks on the table and expecting a child to sit on the chair and play with it. The environment has to be inviting and welcoming for the children, which provides them with possibilities to explore and interact.
Through practical experience I understand how challenging it can be trying to set up an appropriate learning environment in your child care setting. The environment in which you set up mainly depends on the amount of space you have and the furniture and resources that are available to you. One of the ways to create a learning environment within your setting is to organize your room into interest areas. The interest areas can include the following:
An atmosphere divided into interest areas offer the children clear choices. Interest areas will also accommodate a small group setting which will allow children to play more positively rather than in large groups. When children are working in small groups they tend to concentrate more on their work and their play will be much more complex and engaging.
Although you may not have any control over the size of your room, you will have plenty of options about the materials you use and how to organize the furniture to make the space a lot more interesting for the children. Here are some ideas to use when setting up the learning environment:
A learning environment that is challenging, stimulating and interesting will allow the children to engage in the experiences that you offer. An environment like this will enable you to observe and interact with the children in a positive way and support the development of children’s play based learning. Just remember -"The Possibilities Are Endless".
As we begin to implement the Early Years Learning Framework within our early childhood setting, one of the major changes that we as childcare professionals need to transition towards is “designing a curriculum” with children. Developing and implementing a curriculum involves decision making by children, parents, families and childcare professionals to assist each child to be a successful learner.
Through the information and documentation samples I have provided I hope it gives you a better understanding and the confidence to begin implementing the EYLF within your early childhood setting.
..New! For New and Updated EYLF Templates and Digitals tools: Go to Online EYLF Tools!
Copyright by AussieChildcareNetwork.com. All rights reserved.
Date Written: 21 Feb 2011.
Last updated: 25 May 2012.
Current rating: 4.5 out of 32 votes