The School Curriculum and Standards Authority sets curriculum policy directions for Kindergarten to Year 12 schooling in Western Australia.
The Western Australian Curriculum and Assessment Outline includes curriculum, policy advice and guidelines for Western Australian schools. At Kelmscott Primary School our Kindergarten to Year 2 programs directly align with the School Curriculum and Standards Authority Guidelines and aim to facilitate the optimal learning and development of our children in the early years of schooling. They draw on the key ideas and related content of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and the National Quality Standards (NQS) to ensure that all students at Kelmscott Primary School experience quality teaching and learning.
The EYLF defines curriculum as ‘all interactions, experiences, activities, routines and events, planned and unplanned, that occur in an environment designed to foster children’s learning and development’ (Commonwealth of Australia, 2009, p. 45).
At Kelmscott Primary School our Early Childhood teachers make curriculum decisions to provide relevant learning opportunities for children in consideration of the following components diverse family, cultural, linguistic, school and community influences. They know that children draw on a wide range of knowledge, experiences, interests, and skills that impact on the way they learn.
Differentiated curriculum ensures curriculum is based on sound knowledge of each individual child, and that experiences and interactions are engaging, relevant and respectful of each child’s background, current interests and abilities. When working with children with additional needs, educators target capabilities and work closely with families and support personnel to differentiate learning opportunities that foster equity and fairness for all children and their families.
Early Learning Environments
Educators plan and establish positive, vibrant and challenging intellectual, social and emotional and physical environments that promote a sense of wonder, curiosity and imagination and support risk-taking within a safe and inclusive context. The environment supports multi-modal learning with concrete materials. The temporal environment has a sense of predictability and allows for flexibility to cater for children’s different learning requirements.
Relationships and Partnerships
Relationships are key to all educational endeavours. Partnerships involve children, families, communities, educators and other professionals working collaboratively to provide optimal learning opportunities for active engagement and participation. Educators purposefully engage partners in children’s learning, by providing a variety of opportunities for others to contribute to children’s learning.
The quality of interactions, and the thoughtful implementation of balanced content in experiences, assists children in attaining knowledge, skills, attitudes and dispositions that are a base for future learning. Children’s knowledge is constructed by the integration of concepts that are obtained from a variety of related and repeated experiences. Skills are developed and refined through frequent opportunities to use them in different contexts. Attitudes and dispositions are developed through thoughtful and responsive curriculum where children are encouraged to discuss ideas and reflect on experiences and situations.
Contexts and Strategies for Learning
Educators plan a variety of contexts, strategies and multi-modal experiences to engage children and to foster their participation and learning. These include, but are not limited to, play, small group and some whole group interactions, intentional teaching, inquiry, real life experiences, transitions and routines. As play is a primary medium for children’s learning, educators plan how they will structure, use and support play experiences. Educators use transitions and routines as learning opportunities and to support children’s increasing independence.
An effective early childhood curriculum supports active participation of children and views children as decision-makers who promote their sense of agency. Experiences are presented in ways that children can make choices and use different processes to complete where more than one solution is possible. The environment is constructed to encourage and allow children to be as independent as possible.
Extension, Engagement and Enjoyment in Learning
Early childhood educators maximise children’s learning by making knowledgeable decisions about teaching and learning in five learning and development areas related to the outcomes identified in the EYLF. While children’s interests are a focus of curriculum planning, it is the role of the educator to expand these interests with rich ideas and new opportunities. Actively engaging learners, arousing their curiosity and responding to capabilities will make children more likely to be motivated, curious and feel supported in the learning process. Educators are active participants in children’s learning and play, and encourage children to explore, support shared sustained thinking and assist children to achieve outcomes. The curriculum extends children’s knowledge, understanding and enjoyment.