What Outcomes Parents Should Expect From Early Childhood Education And Care

What Outcomes Parents Should Expect From Early Childhood Education And Care
By the time children are five, they should show preference for a particular hand and be able to work with others.
www.shutterstock.com

Parents often have different expectations for their three- to five-year-old children when they attend an early learning centre. Some parents expect their child to engage in academic learning activities or “real learning”. Academic activities are associated with formal school-based learning such as writing, reading and knowing their numbers.

Parents are reported to feel concerned if they visit their friend’s home and see their friend’s child brings home worksheets (for example dot-to-dot of their name, colouring in of Easter eggs, or other adult-directed products) from their early childhood centre. They may worry their child is being left behind because their child is “only playing” and not engaging in real learning.

Other parents focus on their child being safe and secure in a stimulating environment where children make choices about what they will play. Such learning environments are supported by educators who are responsive to the child, and socially construct the child’s play.

The tension lies between teacher-directed activities where children are perceived to be doing “real learning”, as opposed to children making choices to play according to their interests.

So, what should three- to five-year-olds be learning?

Developmental milestones provided by the Australian Children’s Early Childhood Quality Authority (ACECQA) state:

Children’s learning is ongoing and each child will progress towards the outcomes in different and equally meaningful ways.

This milestones checklist covers five domains of learning, which is linked to the curriculum and the National Quality Standards:


 Get The Latest From InnerSelf


  1. physical

  2. social

  3. emotional

  4. cognitive

  5. language development.

The checklist indicates what a child should be able to do by a certain age, and this is linked to the early childhood education curriculum.

Developmental milestones and the Early Years Learning Framework and the National Quality Standards
Developmental milestones and the Early Years Learning Framework and the National Quality Standards, CC BY-ND

Research demonstrates children’s learning achievements are greater from play-based programs, which include activities such as block building, compared to early childhood programs that have an academic focus.

The early childhood education curriculum emphasises the importance of play-based learning and research demonstrates children’s learning achievements are greater from play-based programs compared to early childhood programs that have an academic focus.

When to worry

According to the developmental milestones, parents should seek advice from a professional if their three- to five-year-old child:

  • is not understood by others

  • has speech fluency problems or stammering

  • is not playing with other children

  • is not able to have a conversation

  • is not able to go to the toilet or wash him/herself.

Parent-teacher relationships are important

Educators need to be able to explain their approach to children’s learning to parents at the outset of the child/family’s admission to the centre and reinforce this as children learn and develop.

The curriculum and the National Quality Standards both focus on educators having “partnerships with families”. But if there is disagreement about what and how children should be learning, a partnership between the parents and teachers won’t develop and endure.

Parents need to be continuously informed about the learning program in the centre. There needs to be alignment between parents’ expectation of what their child will learn in an early childhood centre, with the learning program provided, and the play-based approach a good one for the children.

 About The Author

Wendy Boyd, Senior Lecturer, School of Education, Southern Cross University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Related Books

{amazonWS:searchindex=Books;keywords=childhood development;maxresults=3}

enafarzh-CNzh-TWnltlfifrdehiiditjakomsnofaptruessvtrvi

follow InnerSelf on

facebook-icontwitter-iconrss-icon

 Get The Latest By Email

{emailcloak=off}

FROM THE EDITORS

The Day Of Reckoning Has Come For The GOP
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
The Republican party is no longer a pro-America political party. It is an illegitimate pseudo-political party full of radicals and reactionaries whose stated goal is to disrupt, destabilize, and…
Why Donald Trump Could Be History's Biggest Loser
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
Updated July 2, 20020 - This whole coronavirus pandemic is costing a fortune, maybe 2 or 3 or 4 fortunes, all of unknown size. Oh yeah, and, hundreds of thousands, maybe a million, of people will die…
Blue-Eyes vs Brown Eyes: How Racism is Taught
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
In this 1992 Oprah Show episode, award-winning anti-racism activist and educator Jane Elliott taught the audience a tough lesson about racism by demonstrating just how easy it is to learn prejudice.
A Change Is Gonna Come...
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
(May 30, 2020) As I watch the news on the events in Philadephia and other cities in the country, my heart aches for what is transpiring. I know that this is part of the greater change that is taking…
A Song Can Uplift the Heart and Soul
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
I have several ways that I use to clear the darkness from my mind when I find it has crept in. One is gardening, or spending time in nature. The other is silence. Another way is reading. And one that…