Infants and toddlers: how visible are they in the Early Years Learning Framework?

Belinda Davis*, Jane Torr, Sheila Degotardi

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)
    1436 Downloads (Pure)


    Australia’s first national early childhood curriculum, the Early Years Learning Framework (Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations [DEEWR], 2009), aims’to extend and enrich children’s learning from birth to five years and through the transition to school’ (p. 5). The framework sets out some key principles, practices and learning outcomes to guide educators working with children prior to school age. In its introduction, the framework states that the term children should be understood to refer to infants and toddlers as well as older children, unless otherwise stated. This study used a critical discourse approach to analyse the language used to refer specifically to infants and toddlers, rather than the more generic term children. We found 8 instances where the words baby, babies or toddlers are used. In these sentences, infants and toddlers are construed in the language in terms of their observable behaviour, rather than as communicators or thinkers. We then interviewed six educators working with children under 2 years in long day care centres. The educators stated that they faced challenges in interpreting and implementing the framework in their work with infants. The findings suggest that the distinctive developmental trajectories and learning experiences of infants and toddlers are relatively invisible in the national curriculum. The findings indicate that educators working with children under 2 require more specific information about pedagogy and learning experiences for this particular age group, rather than the present situation, where pedagogy and outcomes for all children under 5 years are conflated into a single learning framework.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number12
    Pages (from-to)1-14
    Number of pages14
    JournalInternational journal of child care and education policy
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Bibliographical note

    Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • Infants
    • Toddlers
    • Educators
    • Early childhood
    • Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF)
    • Curriculum
    • Language


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