Belonging, Being and Becoming

Being, Belonging and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) in Australia was endorsed by the Council of Australia Governments (COAG) in July 2009. It is the first early years learning framework to be nationally endorsed for use by educators in a range of early childhood settings.

This resource theme is designed to assist practitioners to implement the EYLF. It does not pretend to be comprehensive but it will provide practical support to early childhood education and services, including preschools, to implement the EYLF. It includes:

  • links to where the EYLF itself and information for parents can be downloaded;
  • links to some of the evidence about high quality early childhood practice;
  • links and books to support educators to understand the EYLF principles, practice and the EYLF learning outcomes; and
  • links to ECA publications that have been specifically written to support practitioners to work with successfully with the EYLF.

This resource theme is a work in progress and ECA encourages early childhood educators and practitioners using this resource theme to give us feedback. Let us know of other links and/or published books which it would be useful to include. We would be particularly interested in Australian links and/or books published in Australia. To do this email your feedback to

Table of Contents

EYLF Principles

EYLF Practice

EYLF Learning Outcomes

Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) – Information

Being, Belonging and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia
A full copy of the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia.

Being, Belonging and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework: Information for Families
Information for families about the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia from the Department of Employment Education and Workplace Relations.

The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia: Information for Families in Languages other than English
Information for families about the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia in languages other than English.

The Research – The practices that matter in ECEC services

Summary of EPPE research implications for practice
Foundation research findings which underpin the argument for high quality early childhood services – the implications for practice are outlined.

Lessons in Learning: Why is high quality childcare essential?
The link between high quality care and outcomes for young children.

What effective leadership in the early years looks like
Leadership matters – The implementation of the EYLF will require commitment and leadership. This research talks about what effective early childhood leadership looks like in action.

ECA books published to support practitioners to implement the EYLF

  The Early Years Learning Framework: Getting started
This book explores the central understanding upon which the Framework has been built, and looks at the why and how of educator's engagement with the ideas and understandings that can be found within it.
  The Early Years Learning Framework: Building confident learners
Explores how educators can help children to be confident and involved learners, focusing on Outcome 4 of the first national Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) for Australia.
Every Child Vol. 15 No. 4 – Early Years Learning Framework
This issue focuses on the EYLF, with several key articles on key aspects of the Framework, as well as a 'how to' emphasis, where it is relevant. It will help you understand how you can approach it, as well as what it can mean for your service, your practice and your families.
Every Child Vol 16 No 1 – Belonging
The informative and easy-to-read articles in this issue focus especially on the notion of being and belonging, including articles on developing inclusive relationships among early childhood staff, connecting behaviour with belonging, encouraging families to belong, the challenges of starting a new service, and much more...


EYLF Principles

Principle 1: Secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships

Attachment across cultures
Although the attachment relationship is universal, parents' attachment beliefs, values, and practices differ around the world. Secure attachment occurs when children have caregivers who are available, in tune with their needs, affectionate, demonstrate pleasure in their interactions with children and are able to comfort stressed children.

Social and emotional learning in early childhood
What we know and where to go from here. In planning for social and emotional learning programming recognises that the foundation is building secure relationships between teacher and child

Children develop in an environment of relationships
Young children experience their world as an environment of relationships, and these relationships affect virtually all aspects of their development. This report summarises the most current and reliable scientific research on the impact of relationships on all aspects of a child's development.

Must read books

Relationships, the heart of quality care: Creating community among adults in early care settings
An invaluable resource filled with many practical suggestions for the achievement of relationship-based care. 'The insightful questions in the last chapter alone make this book a winner!' – Dr Ronald Lally.

Principle 2: Partnerships

Seven essential guideposts to effective interaction with children
Seven essential guideposts for effective interaction with children from the time they are born until they reach adulthood. A synthesis of findings from over a thousand research projects and scientific presentations.

Parents as partners in children's early learning and development
This resource is from a UK training organisation with information focusing on working effectively with parents

Must read books

Parent-friendly early learning: Tips and strategies for working well with families
This is a practical book that will support educators to create a climate of partnership with parents, avoid problems and handle any conflicts which emerge.

Principle 3: High expectations and equity

Teaching young children
A four year old noticed that the water level in classroom aquarium is slightly lower each day. He says to his teacher: 'We have to put more water in the tank because the fish are drinking it.' How will the teacher respond?

Teaching young children well
Implications of the research for how early childhood professionals work with young children.

Must read books

Adults and children learning together
Pam Hanna makes a very persuasive case for looking carefully and listening sensitively to children as a basis for fostering learning environments that extend young children's thinking and learning.
Caring spaces, learning places: Children's environments that work
This new edition of Jim Greenman's book offers a wealth of ideas for transforming environments to powerfully enhance learning.
Educating young children with additional needs
Louise Porter is well known for her work with children. This book is a comprehensive guide to working with children with additional needs.

Principle 4: Respect for diversity

NAEYC Position Paper – Responding to Linguistic and Cultural Diversity
For the optimal development and learning of all children, educators must accept the legitimacy of children's home language, respect (hold in high regard) and value (esteem, appreciate) the home culture, and promote and encourage the active involvement and support of all families, including extended and nontraditional family units.

Teaching Diversity – A place to begin
There are many equally valid ways to raise healthy children who thrive in the world. Professional knowledge and experience are important, but we must never forget how much we can learn from the families we work with. This article gives educators a place to start.

Must read books

Roots and wings: Affirming culture in early childhood programs
Author Stacey York has completely updated this invaluable guide to respond to the tremendous changes in the field around cultural relevance and anti-bias issues since the first edition was published.

Start seeing diversity: The basic guide to an anti-bias classroom
Introduces educators to bias as it emerges in early childhood settings. This book will support educators to establish a framework for responding effectively to bias.

Principle 5: Ongoing learning and reflective practice

Action Research in Early Childhood Education
Action research is an approach to professional development and improved student learning in which teachers systematically reflect on their work and make changes in their practice.

Must read books

Observations and reflections in childhood
Quality assessment, or documentation, is a key aspect of providing best practice in early childhood settings. Using real-life examples, this book supports professionals in recording children's learning and development during everyday activities.

Making links: A collaborative approach to planning and practice in early childhood services
This book will provoke early childhood educators to question how they work with young children each day. It embraces current thinking around planning and practices and helps staff in very practical ways to 'know children' and use that knowledge to plan for their learning.

EYLF Practice

Holistic approaches

Effective practice: play and pedagogy
This articles sets out a series of key messages that underwrite effective play and exploration in early years settings. This means children are able to choose activities where they can engage with other children or adults or sometimes play alone, and during those activities they learn by first-hand experience – by actively 'doing'.

Swings and roundabouts
We need to give children a voice and learn to listen to parents so we can pick up on what works for them and their children, valuing collectivism and interdependence in our learning settings (Cannella, 1997), and we will need to use critical reflection on the range of educational research and our own long experience as our guide.

Must read books

Programming and planning in early childhood settings
With a focus on socio-cultural theories of learning, this Australian book recognises children's diverse experiences, competencies and learning styles, as well as the need for collaborative partnerships between educators, children and families in developing appropriate programs.

Responsiveness to children

Using scaffolded instruction To optimize learning
Using scaffolded instruction to optimise student learning provides a supportive environment whilst also facilitating student independence.

Talking with children really matters
Research on how children learn to talk – the amount of time parents and carers spend talking to babies and children has a direct effect on children's speech.

Must read books

Tender care and early learning: Supporting infants and toddlers in child care settings
This book is easy to read and practical. It will help you get started in developing programs which support infants and toddler actions, choices and problem solving – the keys to successful early learning experiences.

Developing learning in early childhood: 0–8 years
This very practical book talks about what it means to develop learning, to learn by doing real things, how communication and language helps play, creativity and imagination, diversity and inclusion and the partnership with parents.

Learning through play

Let the children play: Nature's answer to early learning
Play nourishes every aspect of children's development – it forms the foundation of intellectual, social, physical, and emotional skills necessary for success in school and in life. Play 'paves the way for learning.'

Play for change: Play policy and practice – A review of contemporary perspectives
Play for a change, completed in October 2007, illustrates substantial and wide-ranging evidence of the importance of play in the lives of children.

Must read books

Spotlight on young children and play
This book includes chapters on the use of improvisation in early childhood teaching; outdoor pretend play; babies and their play; meeting children's needs in violent times; and learning to play again. It also provides details of a workshop on play that can be used with staff.

Play matters: A play and project based philosophy
Although this book is focused on the early school it is equally valuable for teachers working with 3–5 year olds. A teacher who has used this approach says that the richness has been how the rigorous planning, assessment and documentation has allowed them to come to know students as individual learners. This really is about play as a pedagogical tool.

Intentional teaching

How do we support children's sustained shared thinking?
Sustained shared thinking is strongly associated with high-quality teaching and learning for young children. This link gives very practical support for engaging in sustained conversations and thinking with young children.

Nurturing persistence in young children
Children are born with a motivation to explore and learn, and persistence helps them accomplish their goals. Persistence is a feature of problem solving and its development can be intentionally nurtured by early childhood educators.

Must read books

The intentional teacher: Choosing the best strategies for young children's learning
This book advocates that children and teachers have active roles in the learning process. It is written for teacher-educators who are grappling with the issues of how and what to teach young children.

Learning environments

A tool for analysing early learning environments
This article is thought provoking and challenging. It identifies nine key themes that are integral to any high-quality learning environment: motivation, concentration, independence, confidence, well-being, social interaction, respect, multiple skill acquisition and higher-order thinking skills.

Must read books

The outdoor playspace naturally: For children birth to five years
This easy-to-read and beautifully illustrated book guides early childhood educators to encourage engagement with the outside world. It provides a foundation for creating natural, dynamic, and engaging playspaces, and fostering ongoing collaboration between children, parents and staff.

Designs for living and learning: Transforming early childhood environments
This book includes a multitude of simple and practical ideas, combined with full-colour photographs, outlining hundreds of ways to create healthy and inviting physical, social and emotional environments for children in child care settings.

Caring spaces, learning places: Children's environments that work
This new edition of Jim Greenman’s book offers a wealth of ideas for transforming environments to powerfully enhance learning.

Cultural competency

Understanding the impact of language difference on children's behaviour
This What works brief is a short, easy-to-read 'how to' of evidence-based practices, strategies, and intervention procedures. It includes examples and vignettes that illustrate how practical strategies might be used in a variety of early childhood settings and home environments.

Culturally responsive and inclusive early learning environments
Children's sense of themselves is enhanced in learning environments that reflect the cultural diversity of the group they are in. This recognition gives children a positive feeling about their worth as individuals and as a group.

Must read books

A world of difference: Readings on teaching young children in a diverse society
This collection of readings will provoke self-reflection and thoughtful discussions with an emphasis on building respect and understanding. A wide range of issues is touched upon, including: culture, language, religion, inclusion, and socio-economic status.

Continuity of learning and transitions

Starting school can be stressful
Starting school can be stressful for children. The buildings are bigger, there are more children and they are the smallest in the playground. There are fewer adults and more rules which they don't know and for many the classroom will be more formal.

Starting school
A comprehensive examination of the pressures stresses and joys of starting school for both children and their parents. Also includes information about school readiness.

Transitions for young children
Early transitions for children and families: Transitions from infant/toddler services to preschool education.

Must read books

Managing change with infants and young children
To young children, everything is new; but some changes are more difficult for them than others. This book outlines what educators can do to help to make infants' and young children's early experiences of change as stress-free as possible.

Starting school: A handbook for educators
Topics covered in this book include: The importance of a positive start to school, planning transitions, setting goals, ideas for transition activities, issues and concerns and thinking beyond transition.

Your child's first year at school
This book is about a child's first year at school. It covers all of the challenges and joys of that vital first year. It is practical and written by people who understand children their learning and the way schools work. 'I was so worried about my child starting school. The book took most of my anxieties away. It explained everyday life in a primary school so clearly.' – Kylie, parent, Currambine Primary School, WA.
Also available as an ebook: Your child's first year at school (ebook)

Assessment for learning

Evaluation in early childhood: An overview
Evaluation has a strong influence on teaching and learning. Evaluation in early childhood classrooms can promote learning, build confidence, and develop children's understanding of themselves and their abilities.

Must read books

Spotlight on young children and assessment
This book gives both an overview and specific examples of assessment to show how it informs and improves practice in early childhood education. It includes sections on infant/toddler assessment, culturally and linguistically appropriate assessment and how to choose an appropriate assessment system.

Focused observations: How to observe children for assessment and curriculum planning
This is a very user-friendly book about implementing realistic and meaningful observation techniques in childhood settings. It suggest a range of ways of observing children that will assist educators to understand children's behaviour, assess their development, and develop curriculum focused on children's capabilities and interests.

EYLF Learning Outcomes

EYLF Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of identity

Excerpt from 'Our best future: Early Learning in Ontario'
The essential outcomes outline key learning expectations in five interconnected areas of development – social, emotional, language and literacy, cognition and physical.

Learning starts early: Attachment
Secure attachment to a caregiver is important for infants to grow into emotionally and psychologically healthy children and adults. It is linked with the development of self-reliance, self-efficacy, empathy and social competence.

Must read books

The Circle of Security: Roadmap to building supportive relationships
This gentle guide focuses on what is at the heart of high-quality child care and education: strong, secure relationships which support practitioners to connect deeply with children, encouraging and supporting children's connections with their peers and developing strong partnerships with families.

Nurturing the spiritual child: Compassion, connection and a sense of self
Nurturing children's spiritual development strengthens an understanding of and interaction with their own life, the lives of others and the changing world they live in.

Optimistic carers and children: Pathways to confidence and wellbeing
This book looks at how educators, carers and parents influence the development of optimism in children from infancy. It offers practical advice on understanding and recognising optimism, thinking more positively and developing an optimistic outlook and supporting optimism in young children.

Promoting social success: A curriculum for children with special needs
Social skills are vital to ensure young children's emotional wellbeing – and are a key issue in the education of children with special needs. This curriculum has been a success with primary school children with mild to moderate disabilities and their peers; they learn the concepts behind appropriate social behaviour, rather than simply a set of specific behaviours to replicate.

EYLF Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world

Reconnecting children to nature
The term 'nature learning' is used in this paper to encompass both spontaneous and intentional learning experiences that occur when young children interact with the natural environment – sometimes on their own and sometimes with the assistance of adults.

Must read books

That's not fair: A teacher's guide to activism with young children
The book focuses on accepting differences, collaborating with others, paying attention to other people's feelings, ideas, and needs, speaking out about fairness and unfairness, and taking responsibility for solving problems.

Dreaming stories: A springboard for learning
This book and DVD includes 13 of Aboriginal Nations' award-winning animated short films and a guide to using them in a diverse range of early childhood settings. 'Dreaming Stories' can introduce all children to many concepts, including science, cultural diversity, emotional literacy, communication and art.

Diversity and difference: Lighting the spirit of identity
From the book: 'This chapter explores more closely the way children make meaning of beauty by creating a hierarchy of skin colours and cultures (Hage, 1998). It shows how children negotiate their knowledge and experience of 'race' and gender to make rules about who can access play and learning and in what ways.'

Greening services: Practical sustainability
Outlines the steps necessary to develop your own management plan, including setting targets and goals with the input of all groups involved in the service. Activity ideas include understanding pollution in the waterway, making paper, creating a mini landfill, composting, setting up a vegetable garden and making a tyre garden.

Just discover: Connecting young children to their natural world
This book, beautifully illustrated with colour photographs, emphasises hands-on, play-based learning opportunities for educators who are looking for new ways to extend the learning environment for children. It provides a variety of experiences for children from infants to Year 2 showing how to set up experiences with scientific principles, developmental appropriateness and aesthetics in mind.

EYLF Outcome 3: Children have a strong sense of wellbeing

Social and emotional learning in early childhood: What we know and where we go from here
Building secure relationships between the adult and child is a key foundation of social and emotional learning (SEL). These practical articles give an overview of the importance of SEL during early childhood.

Must read books

Initiative and social relations
Early childhood practitioners learn to recognise and support key experiences in initiative and social relations such as making and expressing choices, plans and decisions, solving problems, expressing feelings in words, participating in group routines, being sensitive to the feelings, interests and needs of others, building relationships with children and adults, creating and experiencing collaborative play and dealing with social conflict. Includes a DVD.

Active for life: Developmentally appropriate movement programs for young children
Provides guidance on what high-quality movement programs should include, for example: Environments designed for young children, effective curriculum components, developmental approaches to teaching and planned assessment.

Me, You, Us: Social-emotional learning for three-to-five year olds
This very practical book covers many topics related to social-emotional learning including developing a positive self-identity, feeling empathy, recognising and labeling emotions, valuing diversity, resolving conflicts and developing a framework for moral behaviour.

Everyday learning about confidence and coping skills
Debunks the myth of the 'resilient child', and gives practical advice and knowledge about what parents and carers can do to help children develop life-coping skills – building self-esteem, problem-solving, confidence and positivity along the way!

Understanding children's feelings: Emotional literacy in early childhood
Using variety of activities from the arts to enhance the expression of feelings and to address difficult areas, this book explores how children can be supported and encouraged to be aware of their feelings and to understand how they can deal with them.

Everyday learning about healthy bodies
This book is a great starting point for encouraging children to develop sound habits that will ensure their future wellbeing. It emphasises healthy eating and lots of physical activity.

EYLF Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners

Effective practice: Creativity and critical thinking
This article is based on a number of key messages, including that creativity emerges when children become absorbed in exploring the world around them, that adults can, and should, contribute by following children's leads and importantly that sharing children's thinking makes adults aware of children's interests and understandings and enables them to foster development of knowledge and ideas.

Developing independent learning in the early years
This is an extremely useful article and a must read for educators wanting to support children to become confident and involved learners. It examines the current interest in programs such as Reggio Emilia and High/Scope which emphasise children’s autonomy and ownership of their learning, together with the value of making the processes of learning explicit to the child.

Must read books

Learning together with young children: A curriculum framework for reflective teachers
This book combines theory with its practical applications. It inspires the creation of a welcoming classroom environment, encourages imaginative play and exploration, and supports children's self-expression and connections with each other using stories, songs, art and drama as tools.

Key experiences in creative representation
A guide for educators working with three-to-five-year-olds, helping them to recognise and support the key experiences in creative representation. These include recognising objects by sight, sound, touch, taste and smell, imitating actions and sounds, relating models, pictures, and photographs to real places and things, pretending and role playing as well as others. A DVD is included.

Spotlight on young children and science
Part of the very popular 'Spotlight' series this book describes effective ideas for early childhood science. It includes chapters on using photographs to support children's science inquiry, documenting early science learning, entries from a staff developer's journal and raising butterflies from your own garden.

Just discover: Connecting young children to their natural world
This book, beautifully illustrated with colour photographs, emphasises hands-on, play-based learning opportunities for educators who are looking for new ways to extend the learning environment for children. It provides a variety of experiences for children from infants to Year 2 showing how to set up experiences with scientific principles, developmental appropriateness and aesthetics in mind.

The potential of a puddle
This book defines the factors that create exciting and dynamic play areas that are used all year round. Using a framework of opportunities based on a high-level of child consultation it covers topics such as indoor and outdoor links in curriculum, why should children go out of doors, creating effective environments for outdoor learning.

Young children: Thinking about the scientific world
Shows how an understanding of cultural context, and using the knowledge children already have as a starting point, can lead to rich science outcomes in many different settings. Explores the importance of play-based learning using practical activities, incorporating children's questions into planning and understanding a range of different approaches to teaching and learning.

EYLF Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators

Children thinking mathematically: PSRN essential knowledge for Early Years practitioners
Beautifully illustrated and practical, this book recognises that children must be supported in developing their understanding of problem solving, reasoning and numeracy in a broad range of contexts in which they can explore, enjoy, learn, practice and talk about their developing understanding.

Mark Making Matters – Young children making meaning in all areas of learning and development
This book illustrates that very young children who are given rich opportunities to explore making marks within an encouraging emotional environment will become confident and competent communicators, both orally and on paper, in all six areas of learning and development.

Bridges to Literacy: Routines that help
Although this article divides strategies for emergent literacy into 11 bridges, all come together in the play of the
child, where emerging understandings are integrated, practiced, and tested in a safe environment.

Must read books

From Lullabies to literature
Language drives learning through experiences involving stories and other language, experiences which begin at birth. People working with young children have roles to play in introducing children under three to the excitements and possibilities of language. This book provides practical suggestions and presents ideas for discussion and reflection.

Learning to listen, listening to learn: Building essential skills in young children
Good listening skills do not simply develop naturally – they need to be learnt and practiced. This resource uses real-life examples to support educators and carers in helping children develop their listening skills. Among other things it helps educators to actively listen to children and other adults and provide a rich oral language environment.

Key experiences in language and literacy
This book explores key experiences in language and literacy including talking with others about personally meaningful experiences, describing objects, events and relations, having fun with language (listening to stories and poems, making up stories and rhymes, writing in various ways) drawing, scribbling, letter-like forms, invented spelling, conventional forms and reading in various ways (reading storybooks, signs and symbols or one's own writing).

Discovering letters and sounds
Letters and sounds are the foundation blocks for communication–the pathway to success in school and life. This book is about making early literacy learning a fun and exciting process, using activities to tune young children's ears, learn about rhymes, connect letters with sounds and more.

Spotlight on young children and the creative arts
The arts invite children to imagine, solve problems, and express ideas and emotions. This collection presents a range of learning experiences that offer children multiple ways of knowing and doing. Also includes resources and carefully designed questions and activities to support educators to think about what this means for what they do.

Capture the moment: Using digital photography in early childhood settings
Digital photography opens up a whole new world of communication within early childhood settings, giving scope for devising more effective ways of engaging children, producing resources and encouraging interaction with parents. It can be used, for example, for developing digital portfolios, creating storybooks featuring photos of children in the group (a powerful tool for emergent literacy), or making games, puzzles and charts with input from children.

Children as illustrators: Making meaning through art and language
This engaging book is a joyous exploration of visual expression combined with writing and reading. Included are instructions for printing, painting, collage and other techniques that children will enjoy learning and using in their illustrations.

Key experiences in classification, seriation and number
This book encourages and supports children in investigating size, quantity, categorisation, patterns and other maths concepts on their own. In an area where educators may lack confidence this guide describes and explores maths-related key experiences, including describing how things are similar or different, sorting and matching, distinguishing between some and all and arranging. Also includes a DVD.

Last updated: (March 20, 2013 at 6:58 am)


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