Australian Catholic University – EDCX202 – Curriculum Decision-making in the Early Years Connections and Continuities – CR 68/100

Introduction

Early years children are the foundation year for their future development. A good teaching strategies with the combination of appropriate curriculum and pedagogy would provide children a strong base for lifelong learning and learning abilities. In order to design great curriculum and provide outstanding pedagogy practice to achieve mentioned objectives, educators should continuously reflect, adapt and adjust the curriculum, and teaching progress. The complete cycle an educator must participate in would include curriculum decision-making & reflection, pedagogy, monitoring & assessing, and planning. This paper will provide a reflection on all mentioned stage of early childhood education training base on personal experience as well as collective data from various secondary sources to identify the key important details in each stage, and how to achieve the ultimate goals with efficiency.

 

Curriculum Decision-Making and Reflection

What might you include about curriculum decision-making and communication strategies? How do educators make decisions about what to include in their curriculums? Could you refer to elements of the EYLF/NQS/code of ethics? AITSIL Teaching Standards? What are important elements of the role of educators? Ethics? What role does policy play in these decisions? You must support your thinking in all sections using secondary sources. The marking rubric details the EYLF you must use this.

 

Following the EYLF, which position children’s learning at the core and comprises 3 inter-related elements to influence the establishment of curriculum decision-making progress, namely principles, practice, and learning outcomes. Though these elements are one of core ingredient to support the curriculum making, educators need to keep in mind that curriculum is expected to contain and define all the experiences, routines and events (both planned and unplanned) in  the designed experience to support children’s learning and development (Australia Government, Department of Education, Skills and Employment, n.d).

 

Considering the characteristics of different children, group of children and families; customizations are compulsory to design the most appropriate environment for children development in given area. Therefore, the needs of listed audience are priority for the development of curriculum.

 

Regarding the children, according to Department of Education, Skills and Employment of Australia (Australia Government, Department of Education, Skills and Employment, n.d), the framework and design of program is expected to contain three key children’s learning expectations, shortly named as belonging (the community that the children are living in), being (the surrounding environment and life casualties that the children are living in), and becoming (children’s identities, knowledge and understanding). The children group with different characteristics is also a factor that greatly impact the development of curriculum, continuous reflection and adjustments are compulsory to offer the best outcome for the program. The moving variable of children characteristics, surrounding environment, and their family characteristics (ethnicity, language, beliefs and values, geographic location, family structure, gender and sexuality, abilities, and economic circumstances), will require educator to adapt and adjust curriculum timely within the border of AITSIL standards on teacher, core elements of EYLF, and government & industry requirement.

 

Due to the high level of complexity and numerous mobile variables, I find that educators play a very important role to continuously learning, and adapting with changes to pursue ultimate goal is the best curriculum for fosters. On the bright side, with the development of social networks, and Internet; educators can connect with industry experts and industry community more conveniently to make timely adjustment and development to the curriculum. On the side of the Government, the release of National Assessment Program–Literacy and Numeracy(NAPLAN) in 2010 to test foster capabilities is a tool to assure the children’s knowledge at certain age. The test can be considered as a bottom line standard for educators to develop curriculum that contains common knowledge that children should be aware of at certain ages (Polesel, Rice, & Dulfer, 2014).

 

Pedagogies

What do you know about pedagogical practice and curriculum approaches? What have we discussed in class? What relevant Chapters of the text could you look at? What policy, curriculum documents, national, state and local contexts determine and guides pedagogical practice?

(EYLF, NQS, AITSIL)?

 

There are three parties / standards that heavily influence the development of curriculum and pedagogical practice, namely EYLF, NQS, and AITSIL. They are developed for different purposes.

 

EYLF is a Framework developed by The Councils of Australia Government to assist educators in providing children with opportunities to maximize potential development. EYLF acts as a guide for educators on the development of curriculum and pedagogical practice.

 

NQS and AITSIL acts as a qualification or a standard to assess educators capabilities and skills. Acquiring NQS enable educator to legitimately and legally working with children due to proven qualifications. The pedagogical practice could be found in NQS that provide details on how educators should perform and behave while working under their educating professions with fosters.

 

Each state in Australia has different set of policies to apply on pedagogical practice and curriculum approaches of educators. For example, Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF) developed by The Department of Education and Training (Victoria) and the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority that included contents that are specified in Figure 1. Since each state has different priority and philosophy on early childhood education (Figure 2), different set of policies, code of conduct or pedagogical practice are expected to be different between different states of Australia.

Figure 1. Content of VEYLDF

Monitoring and Assessing

How do educators monitor and assess in learning programs – what is important in regards to children’s learning to support ongoing and continuous learning? Assessment? Monitoring? Why is this important?

 

Monitoring and assessing are undeniably two of most important activities in education due to the factor that the needs, the children, environment and society characteristics always mobile. While monitoring can happen internally between the direct educators or schools or families on children. On the other hands, assessing needs to follow a common standard(s) that is recognized and accepted by the community.

 

Regarding monitoring, early years learning program monitoring focus on educator observing, recording and reflecting on children response to the surrounding environment and community. These could consist of different methods and techniques, for example, observation of children response to other people, surrounding environments. The outcomes from such observations will allow educators to build awareness of the scope of children’s understandings and identify any misconceptions (Rosicka & O’Connor, 2020). Such findings are expected to enable educators to update the curriculum accordingly, or spend additional time with children to study the situations better. In addition, these valuable information can be good inputs to share with other educators to either acquire potential solutions or spread the awareness of a situation to other educators. In practice, monitoring methods can be observing children while they are at kindergarten, and frequently communicate with families to be aware of their behaviour at home to evaluate children response under different communities and environment. Synchronizing such information on school’s database would also allow other educators to understand children faster when they first approach them.

 

Regarding assessing, there are variety of standards and frameworks in different states of Australia. Assessments could be applied on both educators and children. Regarding educators, there are standards such as EYLF and NQS that are well recognized to evaluate educator capabilities and skills. The qualifications for mentioned standards allow stakeholders (families, schools, and related parties) to be aware of educators capabilities and skills. The regular learning and training required to be able to apply for or maintain the qualification are best methods to assure the quality of educators. Different elements could be found in following table to justify different elements that different states of Australia demand from their educators. In order to be able to deliver and be a highly qualified educator in Australia, one must obtain 6 key standards, namely  Brief, Transparent, Specialised, Contextualised, Focused on teaching and learning, and Matched by strong assessments (Louden, 2000).

 

Figure 2. Comparison of four frameworks, monitoring and assessment (Louden, 2000)

 

Regarding children learning assessment, common methods are homework, test, or exam to assess foster’s capabilities as well as identifying if the existing curriculum can deliver the standard requirement.

 

Planning

What contributes to how educators plan for children’s learning in systematic and individual ways based on the EYLF and NQS?

 

What about the importance of relationships? What strategies do educators use for documenting curriculum-decision making – describe and include these throughout your reflection. How do educators’ teaching and planning strategies support collaborative relationships with children, families and colleagues?

What about communication and its use in relationships between stakeholders?

 

Planning is a legal requirement demanded by the NQF. In order to provide a good education planning, educators are required to observe, gather and interpret information about children, surrounding environment, and experience that are engaging and meaningful to them. It also requires educators to reflect on previous documenting children’s experience and learning to have a good understanding of the children. In combination with the surrounding community & society, and families; finally only then a complete education planning can be initially built, and the planning is expected to be an ongoing cycle that contains mentioned activities. Therefore, educators are expected to continuously observe, gather and interpret, and reflect to improve their planning. A good planning enable educators to help children’s well-being, learning and development as well as identifying the children that need additional supports.

 

Figure 3. Planning cycle (Cole, n.d)

Regarding relationships in this context, it mostly happens between children and adults (educators and children, parents & elders and children). The interaction between the two objectives is expected to assist the information collection as either relatives or educators can receive and reflect on the children response to support evaluation and monitoring progress (Cole, n.d).

 

Educator’s teaching and planning strategy strictly follow the planning cycled mentioned above, therefore, in order to provide timely response to a situation, information needs to be continuously gathered from as much sources as possible. Considering that children spend most of their time at kindergarten, and home; they are most likely to spend the majority of time and most comfortably to interact with their parents, relatives, direct educators and his/her colleges. Therefore, the inputs from mentioned relationships are crucial for a better development of planning. In practice, a meeting between educators and families often take place to exchange information about children, from there, both can learn about children performance and responses in different environments.

 

Other than providing inputs for planning and curriculum development, the connection between stakeholders also support the education program. Given that the mentioned connections are where the children spend most of their time with, the exchange between educators and parents would enable children to be keep educated even when they are away from kindergarten of schools.

 

As shortly explained in Figure 2, the planning process is an ongoing cycle that require educators to firstly understand the children (question/findout) before proposing a planning. Pedagogy practice and curriculum will be developed and follow the initial planning. The practice and journey needs to be observed and continuously reflected, the data from the observation is input to further question/find out to adjust the planning.

Conclusion

Overall, the key findings is that early childhood education requires educator to continuously adapt with various variables, such as changes of children characteristics, state of mind, and conditions; surrounding environment & policies; families; and organization wants. It demands educator to push themselves into continuous learning journey to offer a best design of curriculum and pedagogy practice. One of the most critical stage could be monitoring and assessing, as they are most of the time not compulsory which make it forgetful, they are critically important. Using various methods and techniques to monitoring and assessing children when they are at kindergarten, at home, and at their own time; at the same time working closely with the family would enable educator and family to have a full and effective early childhood education experience.

 

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