The Early Years Learning Framework is Australia's first national early childhood curriculum framework and the first significant step in delivering the Australian Government's commitment to providing high-quality early childhood education and care throughout Australia. Raising the quality of early childhood education and care is at the heart of the Government's reform agenda for early childhood. Over the next four years we are investing almost $16 billion in early childhood education and child care. We want all children to start school as happy and confident learners, and we recognise the importance of the early years in a child's life.
Early Childhood Australia has long been dedicated to raising industry standards and has always provided considered insight on the Australian Government's reforms. I am pleased to see that Every Child is profiling the Early Years Learning Framework. The Framework is a substantial piece of policy and I welcome comment and debate from those in the industry.
The Early Years Learning Framework underpins our pledge to achieve universal access to early childhood education. It documents principles, practice and outcomes for young children's learning, from the time they are born to five years of age. It has a strong emphasis on play-based learning because play is the most appropriate stimulus for early brain development. The Framework recognises the importance of communication and language, including early literacy and numeracy. It also acknowledges a child's social and emotional development.
The Framework is a tremendous example of what can be achieved when governments at all levels work together cooperatively with industry and families. It is a collaborative breakthrough when it comes to early childhood education.
Since July 2009, when the Council of Australian Governments endorsed the Framework, we have been busy disseminating the document, along with the Families' Guide companion document. Each long day care centre, preschool and family day care centre in Australia will receive a copy of these publications. The Families' Guide has been translated into 20 languages and is available, together with the Early Years Learning Framework, on the website of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations: www.deewr.gov.au
Readers will be pleased to know that we haven't forgotten the educators. Starting next month, we will release the Educators' Guide, as a series of modules. We are also reopening the online forum that educators used during the trial phase of the Early Years Learning Framework.
In addition to the Framework, we are developing a national Early Years Workforce Strategy. This Strategy will build on existing measures designed to improve the supply and quality of early childhood staff. It will also help address the effectiveness of training and education courses for early childhood professionals. Universities have also been asked to include the Early Years Learning Framework in their curriculums for early childhood education courses from 2010.
The Early Years Learning Framework is a testament to the commitment and professionalism of all those who are dedicated to modernising and enhancing our early childhood education and care sector. Without community input we would not have been able to achieve such a quality document, and I thank those of you who made the time to contribute.
I thank Early Childhood Australia, and the Every Child magazine, for their efforts in promoting the Early Years Learning Framework. It is ongoing support like this that helps individuals understand how the Framework will affect their day-to-day activities. I believe the Framework will help professionals and parents achieve the best learning and developmental outcomes for children.
The Early Years Learning Framework places Australia at the very forefront of best practice in terms of early childhood education. The Australian Government is truly determined to deliver world class early education opportunities for our children.
I know that you share my determination.
Minister for Early Childhood Education, Child Care and Youth
Every Child magazine – vol. 15 no. 4, 2009, p. 3Don't forget, Every Child is tax deductible for early childhood professionals
Vol. 15 No. 4 2009
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