If you are a parent of a a child 0-5 then you will have seen the acronym EYLF. But perhaps don't really understand what it means and how it helps set your child up for life success.
BEING, BELONGING, BECOMING
The three B’s that are the foundations for early education in Australia.
All long day care, preschools, and family care settings now have a framework that underpins the care and learning they provide to children, from birth to five years. This is called the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF).
Many Australian parents know or assume that the early childhood settings their children attend have to meet certain guidelines but may not understand much beyond that. The framework, as a parent, can be hard to navigate and may appear to have little relevance outside of these early childhood settings.
This is a fair enough assumption as it does include principles, practices and outcomes that are not specifically focused on parents but rather early learning settings.
It does however, have some valuable insights that parents can implement in their own home to support their child’s early learning.
The EYLF identifies early childhood experiences as having three facets; Belonging, Being and Becoming.
These are particularly useful for parents, as an awareness of these can help parents to reflect on the at-home care and learning they provide for their own children.
The Department of Education and Training’s document for families outlines these as follows:
Belonging is the basis for living a fulfilling life. Children feel they belong because of
the relationships they have with their family, community, culture and place.
Being is about living here and now. Childhood is a special time in life and children need time to just ‘be’—time to play, try new things and have fun.
Becoming is about the learning and development that young children experience. Children start to form their sense of identity from an early age, which shapes the type of adult they will become.
So what does this mean for parents?
Firstly, a simple awareness of The Three Bs allows for a more holistic approach to parenting, as it encourages parents to support their early learner across all facets of their life.
Secondly, The Three Bs are implemented through play-based experiences, a fact that should empower parents to know that fun, games and exploration have more importance in a child’s early years than a house full of ‘toys’.
And lastly, the EYLF represents a swing away from rote learning and formal ‘teaching’ in a child’s early years. Rather the framework has a strong emphasis on developing communication and language as well as social and emotional well-being. https://www.mychild.gov.au/agenda/early-years-framework
Now this all sounds good but most parents just want to know, if they want to implement The Three Bs in their own home, HOW does this look and WHAT is involved?
Below are a few simple examples of ways you can implement The Three Bs in your home, with ease.
Building a sense of belonging within your children’s lives is all about helping them understand ‘where and with whom they belong’ (The Early Years Learning Framework For Australia. Commonwealth of Australia 2009. P.g. 7). A fun way to encourage this is by printing family photos and placing them on your fridge at home. Try and have a picture of each member of your immediate and extended family, as well as pictures of your child/children with different family members.
Babies and toddlers love looking at photos of different faces and although they may not be able to name the people in the early days, an adult naming the faces is a fun game to play with them when they are sitting having some food. It also encourages them to recognise familiar faces when they see them at family functions and therefore, supports a sense of belonging.
‘Childhood is a time to be, to seek and make meaning of the world.’ (The Early Years Learning Framework For Australia. Commonwealth of Australia 2009. P.g. 7) Developing a strong sense of Being is all about enjoying the here and now and making the most of everyday experiences.
We only get to be children once and so it is important as parents, we help our children enjoy the time.
A great way to develop this within your home is by taking some time each day to add a bit of ‘silly’ into your life. Kids love funny noises, make-believe play and crazy games. So… laugh with them, surprise them by putting on a funny voice and stomping around the house. Or pretend you are a tickle monster and let them roll around on a bed while you tickle them.
Or even try having a conversation made up of funny noises rather than words. Find your inner child and delight in some giggles with your little one.
Incorporating Becoming into your life is all about encouraging learning (The Early Years Learning Framework For Australia. Commonwealth of Australia 2009. P.g. 7).
Now this doesn’t mean sitting down and spending a day ‘learning’ how to count to ten, for example.
Learning should be through play. If we keep counting as our example there are a multitude of ways to encourage your child to know the forward and backward number sequence to ten, through fun and play, without any formal ‘learning’. Some examples would be playing rocket ships. Babies can be held on a couch, toddlers and preschoolers can crouch, then count down from five or ten and then BLAST OFF! Jumping up in the air or into your arms if on a couch.
Nursery rhymes are another lovely way to encourage incidental ‘learning’. For example rhymes such as Baa, Baa Black Sheep or Five little ducks help teach a child the counting sequence to three and down from five, through fun song and rhyme.
‘The Framework’s vision is for all children to experience play-based learning that is engaging and builds success for life’ (The Early Years Learning Framework For Australia. Commonwealth of Australia 2009. P.g. 7)
Remember The Three Bs and you’ll be working towards this vision within your own home.
Your hands-on helper,