Effective teaching practices which are suitable for the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) include creating a play-based learning environment, observing and responding to each child’s individual needs and interests, building positive relationships with families, and using intentional teaching strategies. Play-based learning allows children to explore, discover and learn through hands-on experiences. Observing children and responding accordingly allows educators to tailor their teaching to the needs of each individual child. Building positive relationships with families fosters a sense of collaborative partnership in the child’s learning journey. Intentional teaching strategies involve planning and implementing purposeful learning experiences that promote children’s knowledge, skills, and interests. These teaching practices support the holistic development of each child, including their emotional wellbeing, social skills, language development, and cognitive growth.
Today, I’ve invited Jessica Robinson, educational writer at The Speaking Polymath, to share her insights and tips for implemeting best practice when delievering the EYLF.
The environments we expose our children to during childhood play a part in their brain development, learning experiences, and overall life. When children are exposed to positive learning environments, they attain a widened mindset about life.
Parents and teachers play a vital role in a child’s learning experiences. Moreover, it’s the parents that cultivate a firm foundation for their children’s learning. Science also asserts that brain development in children is almost complete by the age of five.
This means that when children are provided with a positive environment, they are more likely to thrive and develop reliable life skills. These range from curiosity, independent thinking, creativity, problem-solving, and many more.
A good learning environment during childhood also enlarges a child’s mindset. It helps him or her remain open to learning and develop competencies for every study area. Many children have trouble learning, it is sometimes because they received no reliable support while growing up.
However, a supportive learning environment helps a child develop an interest in certain subjects that are seen as complicated by other kids. For example, many students hate science. Not because they are dull, but because they weren’t provided a positive environment to learn. On the other hand, some children are able to perform exceptionally in class because they receive the support they need, both at home and school.
If you’re a parent, you might be thinking of how to provide a supportive environment for your child’s learning and cognitive development. Or perhaps you’re a kindergarten teacher who wants to provide meaningful learning experiences for young kids.
The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) details a range of pedagogical practices that educators and parents can leverage to promote early learning. The framework emphasizes three aspects vital to children’s upbringing and learning. These include belonging, being, and becoming. It is designed to inspire conversations, and improve communication.
The EYLF learning outcomes also help children develop a strong sense of identity, understand the world they live in, and develop the desire to learn continuously. However, for children to dimensionally benefit from the framework, their parents and educators must identify children’s strengths, weaknesses, and interests.
This helps them choose appropriate teaching strategies and design the learning environment accordingly. In this blog, we look at some of the best EYLF practices that can support children’s learning and development. Let’s get started.
The 7 Best EYLF Practices for Parents and Teachers
#1: Holistic Approaches
Gone are the days when children’s learning mediums only emphasized intellectual development. The modern world is changing at a great speed and learning these days, exceeds that. Precisely, children need more than intellectual stimulation and good scores to thrive in life.
They require a set of skills that range from critical thinking, independent thinking, emotional intelligence, and problem-solving skills among others to succeed in life. Implementing holistic learning approaches helps children to dimensionally be prepared for life; i.e in school, workplace, and homes.
Holistic learning practices can be incorporated into a child’s daily life to foster emotional, social, physical, and intellectual development. In this case, parents and teachers can consider;
Stories and songs
These are very effective in promoting cognitive development in children. They stimulate a child’s awareness and also improve emotional and self-regulation capabilities.
Games & Play
Provide a child with indoor materials to play with and you can also take a child out to playgrounds. These mediums help in the development of sensory organs, limbs, hand-eye coordination, and gross and fine motor skills. They also help a child develop physically.
Additionally, consider taking your child for walks, and shopping, or let him or her play with others. Exposing the child to the natural environment helps them grow mentally. You can also consider other activities like gardening where they directly come into contact with the earth.
This is one of the best early childhood activities that promote cognitive development. Painting, coloring, colored objects, and music allow children to develop and use their senses. They also help children express their emotions and convey ideas. Above all, they increase their imagination.
During childhood, children are very sensitive and if not attentive, parents and teachers are more likely to misinterpret children’s feelings. During this phase, children ask many questions and when provided with a positive learning environment, their love to learn and evolve is fostered.
However, when parents and teachers fail to understand children’s questions, their emotions, and act accordingly, children are discouraged from many things.
With that, take note of their emotions, thoughts, words, and actions and ensure to remain responsive. Responsiveness is key to promoting learning and also helps teachers evolve with the changing learning environments. For example, when it comes to teaching diverse classrooms.
Consider leveraging inquiry-based learning, open-ended questions, and problem-based learning. Questions like “I wonder why babies cry” help children to think about the question, analyze it, and offer answers depending on what they think.
Also, consider extending parent or teacher talk time. The more you’re available to a child, the more it cultivates trust. These learning mediums also help children to think out of the box and put themselves in that position. This helps improve EYLF outcomes as children are able to relate to the questions.
Playing during the early years is associated with a range of benefits. Streaming from physical development, motor skill, cognitive, and social skill development, playing caters to emotional well-being. Therefore, as a parent, guardian, or teacher, ensure to provide safe playgrounds for children.
Playing caters to learning in many ways, especially outdoor playing. Outdoor activities like running, building, catching the ball, and hide and seek are immersive learning experiences. They not only help children to put their creativity to use, test out ideas, and build new understandings, but they also help children to break free.
Playing conforms to the aspect of being as it helps them enjoy their childhood and build relationships. It also exposes the children to nature which helps them learn more about their surroundings. Besides that, children are able to realize the diversity of the world we live in. For example, the different cultures, plant species, and races among others.
Other mediums to promote playing among children include providing them with play materials for example crayons, fabrics, blocks, and any other materials that can help them use their creativity. All round, playing contributes to sensory, cognitive, linguistic, social, and emotional learning.
#4: Promote Positive Learning Environments
Environments make a lot of difference during learning. Precisely, they can either break or make a child. During the early years, children are entirely new to everything, and the environments they are exposed to play a big role in their cognitive and personality development.
As a parent, consider providing a safe learning environment for your child. You can consider indoor play materials or online STEM apps. Play materials and learning apps help children to develop curiosity and to use their free time productively.
Stem resources have proven to help children develop an interest in science subjects. They also help them think critically, analytically, and creatively. Parents can also consider leveraging teaching mediums for example storytelling, singing, and playing.
On the other hand, teachers can leverage a range of teaching mediums, for example, outdoor activities, group discussions, and classroom lessons. These learning experiences foster a positive learning environment that promotes holistic development in children.
Generally, children are able to play, test ideas, share thoughts, and explore. These help them to develop emotionally, physically, socially, and personally. All in all, positive learning environments comprise social interactions and safe spaces that also cater to cultural diversities.
#5: Intentional Teaching
Intentional teaching mediums are deliberately designed to help children learn specific things. It can be a subject, an activity, or a test. For example, if you want a child to learn the habit of sharing, you will have to directly tell the child to share with others.
Intentional teaching may also involve intervening with a child when doing something to correct them. For example, asking a child to explain what he is doing. A child will have to stop and think about his or her actions in order to provide an answer.
Other intentional teaching mediums include striking meaningful conversations with children. For example, talk about your father. Other ways include creating opportunities for a child to take initiative. Other considerations are active learning strategies like peer teaching.
All these avenues allow a child to think independently, evaluate scenarios, and develop new perspectives. Additionally, intentional teaching helps children reflect on their actions, behaviors, and emotions. However, a parent or a teacher must be strategic.
First and foremost, recognize a child’s unique strengths and weaknesses and then tailor learning experiences accordingly. You can consider purposefully choosing activities that foster EYLF learning outcomes. For example, painting to improve imagination, and playing to boost interpersonal skills and communication.
Besides that, help them develop their interests and hobbies. For example, once you notice that your child likes music, start playing songs and watch his or her reaction.
Also, you can motivate, recognize, and praise. Praising children encourages them to keep learning and trying out new things.
#6: Enabling Transition
Any positive learning environment caters to smooth transitions. Learning evolves and children must develop such a mindset while still young. Besides that, children go through significant transitions in the early stages. These can be within the home, community, or on a bigger scale.
Parents and teachers must foster mediums that enable children to transition seamlessly. For example, explain to the child why he or she needs to shift to another bedroom. Or, you can explain to a child why he or she needs to stop eating a lot of candies.
Change shouldn’t be drastic and children should be given time to adjust. Therefore, parents and teachers can consider mediums that gradually introduce children to change. These can be providing learning spaces that cater to change and continuity. Also, parents and teachers must leverage teaching mediums that help children attain the necessary flexibility.
#7: Assessing & Monitoring Learning Progress
It is important for parents and teachers to monitor, document, and evaluate children’s learning outcomes. Evaluating children’s learning outcomes helps parents and teachers identify learning gaps and develop personalized teaching mediums.
For example, when a mother realizes that her child’s cognitive development is lagging, she can decide to see a doctor. However, this is possible when a child is monitored as per the baby’s development stages.
She will also leverage teaching models that help a child improve speech, numeracy, social and literacy skills. Therefore, as a parent or teacher, ensure to track children’s learning outcomes to identify delays or upgrade teaching mediums.
The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) is a curriculum designed to support the development of children from birth to five years of age, or before starting primary school. The framework can be adopted by mothers and educators as a way of providing a firm foundation for children’s learning and development.
The framework details outcomes that children are expected to attain when leveraged effectively. With that, parents and teachers must consider activities and lesson plans that foster learning outcomes such as social skills, and intellectual capabilities among others.