The West Australian Kindergarten Guidelines have recently been published. The guidelines support teachers to plan lessons that are relevant to their students in the Kindy Years. The purpose of these guidelines is to help educator’s develop programs that provide the optimum level of development for the Kindergarten students. These guidelines use the EYLF as their base and provide more direction for teachers.
Th WA Kindergarten guidelines aim to ensure quality teaching and learning is at the heart of the Kindergarten years as teachers focus on their curriculum development for their early learning setting.
As teachers design curriculum we acknowledge the diverse contexts and backgrounds of the families we are serving. Children draw on their experiences when participating in Kindergarten programs. These factors all influence the way children learn. Educators will also need to account for school policies, priorities and interagency collaboration that will influence curriculum development.
With this in mind there are seven components that will need to be considered when looking at the WA Kindergarten Guidelines.
1. Differentiation & Inclusion
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.
2. 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.
3. Relationships & 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.
4. Balanced Content
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.
5. Context & 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.
6. Child Participation
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.
7. 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.
Kindergarten Guidelines Learning Development Areas are based on the 5 EYLF Outcomes
The five areas of learning and development in the Kindergarten Curriculum Guidelines are based on the five outcomes of the EYLF (Commonwealth of Australia, 2009). These areas are designed specifically for Kindergarten aged students in WA. The use the EYLF as the primary basis for learning. The guidelines acknowledge that all children are different and may not achieve all the standards outlined but this direction considers the high expectations and equity as outlined in the EYLF.
The Kindergarten guidelines offer indicators as examples and not as prescriptive standards. This is important as each group of children and context are different. Educators can use the indicators as a guide but know that there is freedom to build upon the guidelines while considering all development areas.
- IDENTITY – Children have a strong sense of identity.
- CONNECTING and CONTRIBUTING – Children are connected with and contribute to their world.
- WELLBEING – Children have a strong sense of wellbeing.
- LEARNING and THINKING – Children are confident and involved learners.
- COMMUNICATING – Children are effective communicators.
Kindergarten Guidelines Learning Development Areas
Identity – Children have a strong sense of identity
Feel safe, secure, accepted and supported
- Build a sense of stability and trust
- Build a sense of belonging
Act with increasing autonomy, interdependence, resilience and sense of agency
- Show resilience
- Make choices and decisions (by themselves and with others)
- Manage routines, organise self and belongings
Build Knowledge and confident self identities
- Show confidence in own learning and capabilities
- Display a positive image of self, their family and culture
Interact with others with care, empathy and respect
- Participate positively as part of a group
- Respond to others appropriately
Connecting & Contributing – Children are connected and contribute to their world
Work with others to develop skills for communication and inquiry about themselves and their world
- Develop skills for working with others
- Develop inquiry and communication skills
Explore diversity and respond with respect
- Explore the diversity of culture, heritage, background and tradition
- Respond respectfully to diversity
Show respect for the environment
- Explore natural and constructed environments
- Respect, care for and sustain the environment
Wellbeing – Children have a strong sense of well being
Become strong in their social and emotional wellbeing
- Interact positively to form relationships and friendships
- Recognise simple emotions and build self-regulation
Take responsibility for their own health and physical wellbeing
- Build knowledge, skills and positive attitudes to physical movement
- Explore ways to promote own and others health and safety
Learning & Thinking – Children are confident and involved learners
Develop positive dispositions for learning
- Build enthusiasm, confidence, cooperation, commitment, persistence
- Develop curiosity, resourcefulness and reflexivity
Develop a range of skills and processes for learning and thinking
- Develop problem solving, investigation and inquiry strategies
- Reflect on thinking and learning and transfer and adapt what they have learned
- Make choices and organise self for learning
Engage in creative ways of thinking and doing
- Use imagination and innovation
- Represent ideas, feelings and experiences in creative ways
Engage in and extend numeracy in personally meaningful ways
- Develop knowledge of number and algebra
- Develop knowledge of measurement and geometry
- Develop knowledge of statistics and probability
Communicating – Children are effective communicators
Interact verbally and non verbally for a range of purposes
- Build aural and oral language
- Develop phonological awareness skills
- Convey and construct messages for a range of purposes in a variety of contexts
Engage in and extend literacy practices in personally meaningful ways
- Develop understanding of purpose and meanings of a range of texts
- Engage in reading, writing and viewing behaviours
Understand how symbol and pattern systems work
- Develop concepts of print
- Investigate symbols and pattern systems
Express ideas and make meaning using a range of media
- View and create with media
- Investigate the properties of a range of media
Explore resources, tools and information communication technologies to represent ideas and their thinking
- Use tools, resources and technologies in play, thinking and learning
- Develop simple ICT skills
Kindergarten Guidelines Templates
I have designed editable templates you can use in your planning and programming. These templates are designed to be edited whereby you can add your own indicators or copy and paste the ones included. Even if you are not from WA this document is excellent for expounding on the EYLF for the Kindergarten years. Have a look here at the Kindergarten Guidelines…