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.
|Number of pages||14|
|Journal||International journal of child care and education policy|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
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- Early childhood
- Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF)