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  • Understanding Programming for EYLF

    Hi, just a bit of background about me. I am a Montessori trained educator, my previous 2 jobs were both in Montessori childcares and programming as I did it was mapping out learning outcomes I wanted the children to reach within that week and how they would reach it, it was mapping out goals & achievements & then managing my focus children for the week. It also included art/craft/culture activities, cooking etc. The program was flexible enough that new things could be easily incorporated into it. The goals to be reached were using Montessori materials rather than toys etc
    Anyway I am now working at a more mainstream childcare and notice the teachers and assistants get programming time, however it seems to be for sticking pics into a portfolio, sorting out artwork etc rather than the teacher planning the following week. I am a tad disturbed at the lack of prep & planning of the day and I seem to just see things being put in front of the children randomly with no thought.
    In Montessori the child's environment is very important and books, materials that were not in perfect condition were not kept in the room, however now I see children handling books torn and in bad condition, playing with (eg) puzzles with pieces missing etc. I have not seen any group time apart from the odd story being read ... as a educator (forget Montessorian) I feel very saddened by this and I do not understand if this is how things are in mainstream childcare centres.
    Personally I am finding it a struggle to get through the day with no plan to the day.
    Can someone please clarify EYLF programming and if what I am witnessing is how play-based learning is meant to be, because I do not think it is right at all

  • #2
    fefe - EYLF programming as I understand it and we are implementing it currently in my centre is what I would describe as a form of emergent curriculum. As in the program (or the curriculum) emerges as an interest, etc develops during the day. Yes, there is little pre planning if you like, though intentional teaching is certainly a part of the program.
    Every centre interprets this framework in their own way - my centre certainly has maintained quite a bit of our former style of teaching - plenty of routine (as research clearly shows children thrive in a structured environment), and lots of intentional teaching - so in our older age groups, we still focus on a phonics program, and have other structured learning focuses. All of our age groups (other than infants) have group times of some form, certainly the two oldest groups have further developed group times as is age appropriate. The portfolios you speak of do form a big part of the new framework with a focus on learning stories.
    May I say, the EYLF has been developed for a reason, centres are expected to comply with the recommendations, and it really doesn't come down to how things are in mainstream childcare or whatever you deem to be non mainstream childcare. You will find that montessori centres aren't exempt from the ELYF either, it is a national program for ALL early learning facilities.
    I have not worked in a montessori centre, though I have worked with people who have. I can understand your concerns - from what I understand, montessori is extremely structured. I can understand if this is the case, why you will be feeling unsure.
    As a trainer at a conference I went to just last week said, you don't need $50 000 of equipment to provide a fabulous learning environment. A bucket of dry leaves can be enough to start an incredible learning journey.

    Comment


    • #3
      Well sadly I am not seeing any kind of routine as such for these children, no planning at all for the week/day etc. I was suprised to see the older children being taught letters the old old fashioned way A B C D rather than phonetically, which I assume is what is the norm now.
      I also understand learning stories but is there a concept of having focus children to observe?
      I am not saying Montessori is exempt from ELYF but as I understand ELYF I just do not understand how things are being done at this place and its confusing for me as this is my 1st experience of a non Montessori centre.
      I can easily see how I would do ELYF in a Montessori setting in fact I can see how I would do it in a non Montessori setting too ... i just do not think what i am seeing is fair on the children.... I would think that teaching a child to learn to sit down and do some proper learning is never a bad thing rather than just running about all day, to me routine does not mean free play, morning tea, more play, outside play, lunch, sleep, more play, outside play! thats a generalisation of the day with no plan of setting out toys/objects that encourage x y z skills in the child

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      • #4
        Hi fefe76,
        I am catching up with the posts on this thread and thought I might provide some thoughts on your questions and concerns. I will start with some clarifications about the EYLF.
        The EYLF does not promote any one type of curriculum including an 'emergent curriculum'. Not everything a child needs to learn 'emerges' or will arise through their expressed interests. The EYLF makes it clear there should be a balance between adult initiated and led learning and child led and initiated learning. For example, children may never say "I want to learn about or I am interested in road safety or social justice or playing fairly with others" But these are important matters for children to learn about over time so adults take the lead and promote or plan for learning about these matters.
        Intentional teaching is about both planned and spontaneous learning.... educators are being intentional when they plan for learning about hand washing routines by planning to have some picture cards with words that show the sequence for this routine and they are being intentional when they see there is a need to model or discuss hand washing routines when that happens spontaneously as they observe children going to the bathroom not practising the routine.
        Play-based learning requires intentions about how the environment will be set up to provoke and promote learning, intentions about what learning experiences will be offered to achieve my learning goals for the children (related to the LOs or the Vision or the Principles in the EYLF), intentions about how I will record or document the learning that takes place, intentions about what will be my role in the play...will I be observing, or playing with the children, extending their thinking and supporting richer conversations and problem solving etc.
        The EYLF says the curriculum is about all the experiences, events, routines, interactions that the child experiences from arrival to departure so that means educators have to plan for and be intentional about all the day and not just activities. Proper learning as you suggest doesnt just happen at activities, it happens across the day through the relationships and interactions we have with children, through the care we give in routines, and in the friendships with other children.
        Hope this helps to clarify some of the issues you are thinking about.
        Children wandering aimlessly about the room, resources which are not in good order, routines which are imposed and not respectful of children's agency and dignity are signs that there needs to be more intentional thinking and planning about children's learning and their remarkable competence as learners.
        Anne K

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        • #5
          Proper learning as you suggest doesnt just happen at activities, it happens across the day through the relationships and interactions we have with children, through the care we give in routines, and in the friendships with other children.
          Totally understand this and obviously this is taken into account in play-based learning and other methods and philosophies of learning as well.
          From my experience ... and I have been dealing with children and learning and education for over 15 years... what I am seeing (at this particular place) I do not feel really allows the child to have the experiences that he could have and that upsets me.
          All I ever wish for is for a child to reach his full potential and just to see what the outcome would be I sat down with a small group of children (4) and using coloured soft toy fish taught them red, green and blue.... they were interested (i began with one child the other three came and joined in of their own accord) and enjoyed the experience...and learnt the colours.
          Play-based learning requires intentions about how the environment will be set up to provoke and promote learning, intentions about what learning experiences will be offered to achieve my learning goals for the children (related to the LOs or the Vision or the Principles in the EYLF), intentions about how I will record or document the learning that takes place, intentions about what will be my role in the play...will I be observing, or playing with the children, extending their thinking and supporting richer conversations and problem solving etc.
          There is my problem ... I am not seeing any of this ..... these are children who are at a stage in life where they soak up knowledge and every experience could shape their future ... and nothing seems to really be done to enthuse them... they are bored ... if i saw the same room, same toys, and did the same thing day in day out I would be bored too and want to run around and just shriek and create my own fun! I feel that the EYLF is being abused here and the easy way out is being taken .... again it's the children who suffer eventually.
          Browsing through portfolios I see GLs who cannot spell properly and sentences that are grammatically incorrect, sorry but if I were a parent to get such a thing from my child's teacher I would be thoroughly worried!
          I just wish I was in a position to implement some changes but sadly I am not as I am just an extra member of staff with no room of their own

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          • #6
            Fefe, are you working as a group leader in the centre you mention? Are you running a room - because how you teach should be up to how you personally want to teach (within reason of course) - sorry you just answered that. It must be frustrating for you.

            I see GLs who cannot spell properly and sentences that are grammatically incorrect, sorry but if I were a parent to get such a thing from my child's teacher I would be thoroughly worried!
            As to GLs with bad spelling and grammar - yes, it happens, as it does with quite a number of school teachers as well (and in newsletters and spelling sheets)! However, I am not sure how this would be a concern for a parent of a child care child (though it doesn't look professional) - it is not our job to teach spelling and grammar - as long as written word for the children is correct in the rooms. Some of my staff do struggle with spelling and at times grammar - people are not perfect and honestly, some people just are not good at english, (or math or science, etc). This definitely doesn't mean that while they fail in some areas they don't excell in others.

            It is definitely a confusing and sometimes confronting time for many of us in the industry. I hope that you feel you are able to share your concerns with your new centre and find some solutions.

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            • #7
              Sorry maybe I am a snob but I expect people in a position to be teaching children to understand the difference of where to use of and off and their and there! Perhaps as a teacher I just have very high expectations of myself and others around me as I know this reflects in what we get from the children in return.
              Just to clear up, I took this job as living in a remote area jobs are hard to come by and you take what you get, I am awaiting for a centre to be built where I will probably be a contact Director, meanwhile I took this job to keep in contact with children and to earn some money, its hard to be in a room where you don't agree with how things are done but are in no position to change anything, its very frustrating for me as a new person as I cannot even approach the GLs to just discuss things as i do not want them to think i feel i am superior in anyway or feel that I am there with intentions of taking their jobs!
              Anyway I can say that this is very good experience for me to see what I would NOT do if I ran a centre and not do even if i was a GL in a room. Every day is a school day ... and I will put this down to a learning experience for me

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              • #8
                Ill agree with you on the spelling aspect. On forums and in my personal life Im not too bothered of making sure my sentences are grammatically correct. It's the internet after all and usually as most people might have noticed I rarely use punctuation or even full sentences on the internet. However, I must say that when in my role as Teacher I am very particular about all communication that is on display for others, whether that be newsletters, programming, child's observations, posters or general displays. I personally hate it when I read other group leader's work which is on display and find grammatical and spelling errors in it. As a professional in an education institution I would expect staff to have correct grammar and spelling. Sure the kids can't read but the adults can.

                I also agree with the other aspect. It is difficult to be in a centre where your personal philosophy and beliefs conflict with the centre's. I guess this is where I am pretty particular in where I work. If I dont feel there is an alignment in believes I dont work there. Yes you arent always going to find people who agree with you on things or perhaps hold a superior position and feel that they know everything when they actually dont.

                Hoping you find a centre that suits your needs soon.

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                • #9
                  Sublimity - Thanks for understanding ... I was beginning to get a tad parnoid there that maybe I was being too particular & sensitive.

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                  • #10
                    Fefe it is very hard to write how you are actually feeling online. I certainly don't disagree with how you are feeling at all.
                    As to the spelling and grammar thing - I do agree that good spelling and grammar is important. But it is a personal kind of thing - if a 50 year old staff member can't spell exactly perfectly - how exactly can I expect her to begin to? And don't get me started on the younger generations - text speak just killed the english language!

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                    • #11
                      fefe you have found plenty of support from several forum members...as they say, it is difficult when you are not in a position to change much. Are there some small things you could do quietly that might improve the environments and the relationships with children? Sometimes our actions even small ones, can be more powerful than words.
                      Hang in there...I recall students telling me when they were on a placement where they believed the practices were not quality, 'that they would try to make some positive difference for the children while they were there'...that was in response to my suggestion that we could look for another placement. And like you they said it was a learning experience...learning what not to do and how it could be different.
                      Keep posting....and let us know if you have been able to do some small things, or changes that reflect the principles in the EYLF.
                      Anne K

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                      • #12
                        Hi Fefe and Ausgirl, It has been interesting reading your comments on correct spelling and grammar for educators. I am on your side and have been in education for many years. When I was a Director, I encouraged my staff to check their spelling before putting things out for parents to read. One staff member had difficulty and did ask what she could do? I then thought about having "find a word" books in the staff room and it became a game for the staff during their breaks. They took it light heartedly and it really became a race to see who could find the words first. This did improve their spelling and their interest in trying to spell correctly. A dictionary was in every room and they were encouraged to use it. I felt this was a good step after a parent read the daily diary of the toddler group and said she was worried about the spelling of the staff's comments. Her job was a "proof reader" for a publishing company. That really had all the staff wanting to improve their writing.

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                        • #13
                          Hi there,
                          I am wondering if anyone has any tips for supporting a staff member who is really struggling to identify learning in play.
                          I'm swifty running out of different ways to explain. I have tried talking her through it. I've tried writing obs/learning stories togehter. I've tried having her write the story and us working togehter to identify learning. It just doesn't seem like the penny has dropped yet. Any suggestions??????

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                          • #14
                            Maybe instead of writing, she needs to read a heap of learning stories where other people have identified the learning. Or maybe start with the real basic things that are obvious. Or maybe give her an outcome and get her to work out what that might look like in terms of children's play, again choose the really obvious things.

                            Or maybe she doesnt want to find learning in play.

                            You could try going through the EYLF book, I mean it does list example evidence under the outcomes so perhaps reading these may help her. I dont actually use the EYLF book because I work from the QKLG but even in my book, I found there might have been one outcome where I had no idea what demonstrating this might look like in play and I found the examples really helpful to give me a starting point.
                            Last edited by Sublimity; 20-09-2011, 11:00 PM.

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                            • #15
                              relate every day play and routine experiences back to them for example when children wahs hands before meals they are learnign good hygiene practices self care. when playing in dramaticve play area a huge amount of learning goes on in relation to social roles and power in the world, the ideas of life skills with cooking, wehn running out side even if the child does not engage with other chidlren they will be looking or watching others and learning tell the educator that everything that happens in a day is a learning expeirence and a child will get something some how out of every interaction and task with in a day they never stop learning new things.

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