Hello, Welcome to my presentation on The New Australian Curriculum in the Preparatory Year.My name is Leanne Trace. I am an Early Childhood Teacher who is passionate about maintaining my current pedagogy, that is a child centred approach, whilst embracing the new Australian Curriculum.
The new Australian Curriculum will begin implementation in Queensland State Schools in the Learning areas of English, Maths and Science in 2012. The aim of the new Australian curriculum is to raise education standards and achieve nationally consistent curriculum, assessment and reporting. The new curriculum sets out the content that is to be taught within each year level from Foundation to Year 12. Foundation in the Australian Curriculum refers to the year before Year 1. In Queensland this year of schooling is known as the Preparatory Year or Prep. This paper will focus on the new English curriculum in the Prep Year and why it is important to follow best practice and maintain a child centred approach which recognises the value of play in the early years of formal education.
The EYCG are based on active learning through real life situations, investigations and play and is informed by the findings of Theorists, Jean Piaget (1896-1980), Lee Vygotsky (1896-1934); UrieBronfenbrenner (1917-2005), brain researchers (late 1980s-) and Reconceptualists (early 1970s-)(QSA, 2006a). Basically young children are viewed as capable learners, able to purposefully take part and contribute to their learning. They construct knowledge through social and cultural experiences with teachers, family, friends and others in their world. The role of the teacher is to provide opportunities for children to participate in decision making about learning experiences and to make links between their prior knowledge and new learning. The EYCG perspective on teachers and teaching is that in the early phase of learning educators intentions are to engage children in learning how to learn about the desired goals of the curriculum. The principles for practice provide a framework to guide teachers as they make curriculum decisions and scaffold children’s learning (QSA, 2006A).
Many early childhood educators are concerned for the future of early childhood philosophy and pedagogy as the new AC raises student learning expectations requiring greater focus on teaching letter and sound relationships, sight words, reading and handwriting.
Bronwyn McGregor, an Early Childhood Teacher, in her recent article published in Educating Young Children provides anecdotal evidence of what she believes is early childhood educators abandoning what they know is best for young children as downward pressure is placed on the early years to meet the expectations of others with a more content driven approach to learning.McGregor urges Early childhood teachers to reflect on and maintain a philosophy and pedagogy that closely aligns with the EYCG.Many similarities in pedagogy can be found between Queensland’s EYCG and Finland’s Core Curriculum for Pre-School Education (National Board of Education 2000).
The Core Curriculum for Pre School Education in Finland sets out general principles that emphasise the child’s individuality and the significance of active of learning and the importance of acting as a group member (Finnish National Board of Education, 2011). Pre-primary education in Finland is based on the child’s own knowledge, skills and experiences. Its focus is on play and developing a positive outlook on life (Finish National Board of Education, 2011). These principles are very similar to Queensland’s EYCG. Please refer to table 1 of my paper for a comparison. Learning outcomes are also fairly broad with children who are making their own attempts at reading and writing receiving support when they are ready to acquire these skills.
Finland’s approach to curriculum and pedagogy is highly effective which is evident in the outstanding results Finland consistently receives on the international student standards scoreboard.
The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), co-ordinated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) compares member countries results in reading, maths and science with a view to improving educational policies and outcomes.For more than a decade Finland’s 15 year olds were ranked in first place worldwide for their reading skills. In the latest 2009 survey results they were outperformed by China’s Shanghai region and Korea. Other top performing nations ranked in descending order are Hong Kong-China, singapore, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and in ninth placing Australia (OECD, 2010).
Finland’s high performance in the OECD assessment is generally attributed to a high degree of school and teacher autonomy in decision making (Lombardi, 2005). Since 1990 the national curriculum has become flexible, decentralised and less detailed with schools having a high degree of autonomy with regard to pedagogical practices (Lombardi, 2005).
I hope you will read my full paper in which I have demonstrated why it is imperative that Early Childhood Teachers follow best practice and maintain a philosophy and pedagogy that is child centred and aligns with the EYCG. Thank you.
The New Australian Curriculum in the Preparatory Year: The Importance of Maintaining Current Pedagogy Leanne Trace
Finland's approach to curriculum and pedagogy is highly effective
Finland consistently receives outstanding results on the international student standards scoreboard
PISA 2009 Results
A philosophy that works Schools have a high degree of autonomy with regard to pedagogical practices Flexible school based and teacher planned curriculum Student centred instruction The Successful Performance of Finnish Students in Reading
As global educators of our future citizens it is imperative we follow best practice and maintain a child centred approach which recognises the value of play in the early years of formal education. Conclusion
Referencing: ACARA. (2010a). Australian Curriculum Frequently Asked Questions Retrieved March 8, 2011, from http://www.acara.edu.au/verve/_resources/AC_FAQs_Senior_Sec_v1_20100513_Background_FINAL.pdf
ACARA. (2010b). The Shape of the Australian Curriculum Version 2.0 Retrieved May 6, 2011, from http://acara.edu.au/verve/_resources
ACARA. (2010c). Why have an Australian curriculum? Retrieved March, 8 2011, from http://acara.edu.au/verve/_resources/Why_have_an_Australian_Curriculum.pdf
Education Queensland Department of Teaching and Learning (2011). Guidelines for Prep Version 2. Brisbane. The State of Queensland. James, M. (Interviewer), & Gillard, J. (Interviewee). (2010, March 5). Julia Gillard [Interview transcript]. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2010/03/05/2838233.htm
Lombardi, M. (2005, March). Finland’s Education system is tops: Here’s why. Online Teacher Newsmagazine, 17(5). Retrieved May 8, 2011 from http://bctf.ca/publications/NewsmagArticle.aspx?id=7988
McGregor, B. (2010). Where is the PLAY in worksheets, colouring in, art templates, phonics programs, sight words and early readers? Educating Young Children, 16(1), 6-10.
National Board of Education (2000). Core Curriculum for Preschool Education in Finland. Retrieved May 6 from www.oph.fi/.../123162_core_curriculum_for_pre_school_education_2000. pdf
OECD (2010). PISA 2009 Results: Executive Summary. Retrieved May 10, 2011, from http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/34/60/46619703.pdf
Queensland Studies Authority (2006). Early Years Curriculum Guidelines. Brisbane: The State of Queensland.
Queensland Studies Authority (2010). Allignment between the draft Australian English Curriculum and the Queensland Curriculum Retrieved May 6, 2011 from http://www.qsa.qld.edu.au/downloads/approach/aus_curriculum_english_mapping.pdf
Snider, J. ((Interviewer), & Virkkunen, H. (Interviewee). (2011, March 16). TheHechinger Report [Interview transcript]. Retrieved from http://matosas.typepad.com/escuelas_que_piensan_naci/2011/03/an-interview-with-henna-virkkunen-finlands-minister-of-education.html
Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (2008). Analysis of Curriculum/Learning Frameworks for the Early Years (Birth to Age 8). Retrieved May 10, 2011 from http://www.deewr.gov.au/Earlychildhood/Policy_Agenda/EarlyChildhoodWorkforce/Documents/AnalysisofCurriculum_LearningFrameworksfortheEarly.pdf