After ten years, the two National Frameworks in Australia, the Early Years Learning Framework and My Time My Place Framework were updated earlier this year.
The updated approved learning frameworks are a result of a robust process to assess options and provide recommendations for change. This included reviewing contemporary research, comprehensive stakeholder engagement nationally and piloting of the proposed changes across a range of education and care settings.
The collaborations with stakeholders informed robust pedagogical discussions, provoking deeper thinking and critical reflection and testing within both sectors, resulting in V2.0 of the Frameworks for Early Childhood Education and Out of School Hours Care.
The Early Years Learning Frameworks (2012) & (V2.0) and My Time Our Place will operate in tandem until early 2024 when the EYLF V2.0 replaces the original documents.
The sector's response and queries
The unveiling of the changes sparked many discussions across early childhood education services in Australia. Educators, driven by their passion for their work with children and families, are keen to ensure they “get it right”. This has led to a flurry of questions across various platforms such as:
- How do the changes impact my daily work with children?
- What exactly are these changes?
- How will they shape my role as an educator, educational leader, room leader, approved provider, director and centre manager?
Providing a safe space for the sector to engage in dialogue around change is essential. Being able to reframe and embrace change as part of professional growth and viewing it as an opportunity to sit in a place of not knowing is powerful and often unsettling. It's a testament to the commitment of those in the field, always striving for excellence. The early childhood profession is dynamic and ever changing, and so, too, are the overarching documents that inform educators' work. They are living documents, evolving in tandem with the needs and insights of the community, and are responsive to the early childhood environment both nationally and internationally.
In the words of Dahlberg, Moss, and Pence, "…what we are talking about is not the application of some finalised model, universal in scope and definitive in nature, but rather the adoption of a process of questioning, dialogue, reflection and meaning-making which leads we know not where and has no obvious endpoint: it is work continuously in progress.
(Dahlberg. G, Moss P. and Pence A., 2007.)
This sentiment encapsulates the essence of the early childhood education journey, always evolving, always seeking to better serve the needs of children and families.
What are the changes to the EYLF V2.0?
Both documents comprise a mix of clarifications and expanded explanations across elements of the original Approved Learning Frameworks.
The main differences are a stronger connection between the frameworks and the National Quality Standard in areas such as:
- Theoretical approaches
- Critical reflection
- The importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of being, knowing and doing, inclusion
The principles have been updated, including:
- New principles promoting collaborative leadership, sustainability, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives.
- Strengthening the principle of high expectations and equity.
- Strengthening ongoing learning and reflective practice.
- Updating the principle of secure, respectful, and reciprocal relationships to include relational pedagogy.
- Strengthening partnerships to include other professionals.
The three new principles in summary
Promoting collaborative leadership:
Collaborative leadership is about fostering a culture where educators, families, and communities work together for the betterment of children's learning and well-being. It emphasises the importance of shared decision-making, open communication, and mutual respect. By working collaboratively, educators can draw on the strengths, expertise, and knowledge of others to enhance children's learning experiences.
Sustainability in the EYLF V2.0 goes beyond environmental conservation. It encompasses three interconnected dimensions: environmental, social, and economic sustainability.
- Environmental sustainability: Focuses on helping children recognise their role in ecosystems and the importance of preserving, protecting, and improving the environment.
- Social sustainability: Addresses issues of social justice, equity, respect for diversity, and active citizenship. It emphasizes the importance of living peacefully, fairly, and respectfully in resilient local and global communities.
- Economic sustainability: Refers to practices that support economic development without negatively impacting the environment or society. This includes a focus on fair and equitable access to resources, conserving resources, and reducing consumption and waste.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives:
The EYLF V2.0 emphasizes the importance of respectfully and truthfully reflecting the history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This is achieved through community involvement and culturally sensitive practices.
Embedding these perspectives encourages an openness to diverse viewpoints, enriches all children's experiences, and aids in the genuine advancement of reconciliation.
Educators are encouraged to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members to explore connections to the community and to build genuine and sustainable partnerships. By incorporating these perspectives, educators help children understand the rich traditions, histories, and sustainable practices of Australia's First Nations peoples.
An invitation to examine practice
The EYLF, V2.0 invites educators to be active participants as they examine changes in practice, which includes strengthening the connection between play-based learning and intentionality, introducing cultural responsiveness, aligning assessment and evaluation to ensure they are authentic and meaningful, including children's role in assessing their own learning as well as clarifying the meanings of holistic approaches bringing into focus the interconnectedness of the vision, principles, practices, and learning outcomes.
Changes have been interwoven across all five learning outcomes, capturing and strengthening pedagogical Principles and Practices guidance to further educators' work with children.
What are the implications for the educational leader?
Implications for the educational leader are reflected in Quality Area 7 of the National Quality Standard (NQS), in particular Standard 7.2. Element 7.2.2: The educational leader is supported and leads the development and implementation of the educational program and assessment and planning cycle.
Educational leadership is also integral to the outcomes of Quality Area 1:
Standard 1.1: The educational program enhances each child’s learning and development. Standard 1.2: Educators facilitate and extend each child’s learning and development. Standard 1.3: Educators and coordinators take a planned and reflective approach to implementing the program for each child.
The journey belongs to the educators and the service; it is contextual and place-based. With the inclusion of the values of joy and engagement into the process, which will require considerable effort, we are reminded of Loris Malaguzzi, who is quoted as saying, “Nothing without joy.”
When will the next phase of implementation commence?
Phase 2 of implementation will commence from 1 February 2024. This is the date by which an approved provider will be in breach of the National Regulations and not meeting relevant elements of the NQS if their service(s) are not yet using and operating in accordance with the EYLF V2.0 and/or MTOP V2.0.
Note: The VEYLDF was out of scope of the project. The current VEYLDF will continue to remain an approved learning framework under the NQF
Where to from here?
The release of documents in early 2023 invited a “familiarisation phase” where approved providers and services have a safe space to explore new knowledge and key changes and dare to dream as they introduce the new aspects of the learning frameworks into their educational practices and curriculums.
More specifically, under section 168 of the National Law, approved providers and nominated supervisors of an education and care service must ensure that a program is delivered to all children being educated and cared for by the service that is based on and delivered in accordance with the Approved Learning Framework.
As the EYLF evolves into its V2.0 iteration, educators stand at the forefront of this transformative journey. To ensure a smooth transition, it's imperative that educators familiarise themselves with the updated framework's nuances and intricacies.
- Begin by delving deep into the revised learning outcomes, principles, and practices, understanding their implications for daily interactions and curriculum planning.
- Engage in professional development workshops and seminars that focus on the EYLF V2.0, fostering a community of shared learning and collaboration.
- Establish open channels of communication with colleagues, sharing insights, challenges, and strategies.
- Moreover, consider liaising with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to genuinely integrate their perspectives, a significant emphasis of the new framework.
- Lastly, embrace a reflective practice, continuously assessing and adapting teaching methodologies to align with the EYLF V2.0's ethos.
By proactively equipping themselves with knowledge and resources, educators can seamlessly transition, ensuring they continue to provide optimal learning experiences for every child.
CELA professional development relating to this topic
We recently launched 6 new live webinars to support educators to understand the EYLF V2.0 and prepare for transition to the updated framework:
Spotlight on the EYLF V2.0: Exploring the Changes (NESA Accredited PD)
Bringing the EYLF V2.0 to Life: An Overview of the How (NESA Accredited PD)
Bringing the EYLF V2.0 to Life: Cultural Responsiveness in Practice (NESA Accredited PD)
Bringing the EYLF V2.0 to Life: Equity, Inclusion and High Expectations in Practice (NESA Accredited PD)
Bringing the EYLF V2.0 to Life: Sustainability in Practice (NESA Accredited PD)
Bringing the EYLF V2.0 to Life: Critical Reflection and Ongoing Professional Learning in Practice
- Belonging, Being & Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia Original
- Belonging, Being & Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia V2.0, 2022
- My Time, Our Place Framework for School Age Care in Australia Original
- My Time, Our Place Framework for School Age Care in Australia V2.0, 2022
- Summary Video of "Approved learning frameworks update 2022"
- ‘What’s changed?’ fact sheet for the EYLF V2.0
- ‘What’s changed?’ fact sheet for MTOP V2.0
- National Approved Learning Frameworks
- 2021 NQF AFL Update Literature Review
- Dahlberg, G., Moss, P., & Pence, A. (1999). Beyond Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care: Postmodern Perspectives. Taylor and Francis. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED433943.pdf