[Catharine Hydon - Director Hydon Consulting ]
Standard 3 in the Australian Professional Standards for teachers is 'Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning.' For teachers in early childhood settings this is firstly about engaging with the practice principles of the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework.
This particularly means considering high expectations for every child and building respectful relationships and responsive engagement and through this process establishing learning goals for individual children in collaboration with families that will challenge and extend children’s learning. It’s also about making curriculum decisions about the learning environment that maximise children’s opportunities for learning and growing.
[Lisa Deane - Early Childhood Teacher Yarraville Community Kindergarten]
My name is Lisa Deane, and I am the nominated supervisor, educational leader and early childhood teacher here at Yarraville Community Kindergarten. Having a set of teaching standards for me as an early childhood teacher means that I have something that will help me to make sure that I know what my requirements are as a teacher.
I know what is expected of my role, what I should know and what I should be doing. I believe that we are professionals and having these teaching standards would definitely help us to make sure that we can say, “yes, we are professionals and we know what we’re doing, and we are supporting children in their life-long learning.”
To plan for and implement effective teaching and learning, you really need to get to know the children that you're working with. Once you are able to know the children, you get an understanding of where they’re at developmentally, emotionally, socially, physically. You can use that knowledge to plan where they’re going to next.
We utilise a few documents to help us with our planning in terms of what we want the children to achieve and what outcomes we want for them. We then collaborate as a team to decide what goals we would like these children to achieve and then we think about the activities and the experiences or the resources or the strategies that we’re going to use to help the children to get there.
An example of a learning goal that we’re currently working on with the children is to create more understanding about sustainable practices and being socially responsible. This learning goal is informed by the children, their curiosity in the environment.
We’ve shared with the families what we’re doing and we’ve even asked the families to contribute. So we’ve been talking about different types of trees and what they might look like and a simple you know, 'bring in a photo of your child with their favourite tree' has led to lots of discussions at home.
Another strategy that we use to ensure that learning is progressing is through reflective practice. We have conversations as a team as to how the experience went, were we able to achieve those goals? Do we need to plan for further learning? Do we need to provide more time for the children to actually understand and grasp the concept that we’re trying to teach them?
We document it, we keep a record of it which further guides the next step of the planning process. We also share it with families through our online communication tool and through summative assessments that we do for the children.
We observe the children, we engage in conversations with them to get an understanding of their understanding. It’s great to hear when something you’ve been working on at kindergarten is discussed at home and they’re able to share with their families what they’ve learnt. That gives us feedback as to how our program is going.
For me, the teaching standard ‘plan for and implement effective teaching’ is mostly about having a really good understanding of the children that you’re working with and having clear intentions as to the goals that you want the children to achieve, and then thinking creatively about how you are going to get the children there.
Therefore, this teaching standard is really important so that we can help build that solid foundation for life-long learning.