The Early Years Learning Framework
At the heart of all the Treehouse Early Learning Manly’s programs is the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF), Queensland Kindergarten Learning Goals (QKLG) and Belonging, Being and Becoming. This is the Australian Government’s national framework for early childhood education, and is a key component of the National Quality Framework (NQF) for early childhood education and care. It is designed to encourage continuous improvement of education and care services across Australia.
The EYLF defines the principles, practices and outcomes essential to all early learning programs, and is designed to ensure all children, from birth to five years of age, receive high quality learning experiences. The QKLG, enables children aged 4 to 5 years, to take the next stepping stone within their journey, through the Kindergarten Program, preparing for many aspects of schooling life, that will occur in their next chapter. By the time children are ready to start school, they are confident, resilient and fully prepared for their schooling life. The NQF offers a vision where ‘all children experience learning that is engaging and builds success for life’.
A play-based approach
As children are naturally active learners, the NQF has a strong emphasis on play-based learning as it allows them to discover, explore, take risks, negotiate, create meaning and solve problems. These are all important foundations for developing numeracy, literacy and social skills throughout their early years.
The NQF aims to achieve five overall Learning Outcomes:
- Children have a strong sense of identity.
- Children are connected with and contribute to their world.
- Children have a strong sense of wellbeing.
- Children are confident and involved learners.
- Children are effective communicators.
Because children are naturally curious and always keen to explore the world around them, our skilled educators can also use these learning outcomes to create unique experiences that appear to be just ‘play’, but are actually designed around a child’s interests to help them develop specific skills. Some examples might be:
Piper Loves Puzzles
Piper loves tackling puzzles, particularly with her friend, Charlotte. A skilled educator might choose a range of shapes and colours and mix them up. Piper and Charlotte are then encouraged to pinch, pick up and grasp pieces and then sort and fit them into the correct places. While the girls just think they’re having fun indoors, they are also:
- Improving their cognitive skills, particularly of certain themes like letters and numbers
- Developing their fine motor skills, including hand-eye coordination
- Learning how to reason, strategise and solve problems in a teamwork scenario
- Participating in cooperative play, which involves sharing, taking turns and supporting each other
- Learning important life skills like overcoming challenges and building self-confidence and self-esteem
Ben Loves Bikes
Ben and his mate Jack can’t wait to get on their bikes when it’s time for outdoor play. A skilled educator might suggest they play the Red Light/Green Light game. The children remain stationary behind a chalk line, a suitable distance away from their educator, who is behind another chalk line. The educator then faces away and yells, “Green Light”. The boys ride towards the educator until they say, “Red Light” and turn back around. The goal is to stop before the educator turns around. The process is repeated and whoever gets the closest to the chalk line first, is the winner. While the boys just think they’re having fun outside, they are also:
- Developing their gross motor skills, including their leg muscles
- Building their stamina and improving their cardiovascular development
- Increasing their balance, coordination and confidence
- Experiencing persistence and then a sense of achievement
- Enhancing their social/emotional skills through competition and the concept of winning/losing
Nicole Loves Nature
Nicole loves being outside tending to flowers and discovering creatures in the centre’s Natural Exploration Zone. A skilled educator might suggest an activity that involves describing some of the plants and animals she sees and deciding which is her favorite. While Nicole thinks she is just enjoying some outdoor playtime, she is also:
- Practicing self-discovery and using her imagination to entertain herself
- Discovering the diversity and beauty of nature and the outdoors
- Observing and describing the details of certain plants and animals
- Communicating preferences and then making choices
- Recognizing and categorizing similarities and differences in things