Early years philosophy charter
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Early Years Philosophy/Charter. Prayer. Heavenly Father Fill us with your spirit and courage So that we might bring our talents and gifts to this important work. Open our minds to the task at hand. Open our ears to each other. Open our hearts to your will.

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Early years philosophy charter

Early YearsPhilosophy/Charter


Heavenly Father

Fill us with your spirit and courage

So that we might bring our talents and gifts to this important work.

Open our minds to the task at hand.

Open our ears to each other.

Open our hearts to your will.

We make this prayer in your name.


Outline of the session
outline of the session

  • What is a charter/philosophy?

  • Why do we need one?

    • How is it beneficial to our school?

    • How long will it take?

    • Who is involved in writing it?

  • Finding common ground

  • The research

  • Where do we start?

    • Who are we writing it for?

    • What is involved?

    • What do we include?

    • Four key focus areas

    • Some examples


  • A charter is

    • A document developed in a group setting that clarifies team direction while establishing boundaries

  • A philosophy

    • Informs educators practice and guides the work educators do with families. It underpins everything we do as educators. It shows how we think about children and how we think about ourselves as educators (QA 7: Standard 7.2)

Why do we need a philosophy charter
Why do we need a philosophy/charter?

  • So all stakeholders (e.g. principals, teachers, TA’s) are aware of each other’s beliefs and can come to some understanding of other’s views (EYLF p.11)

  • To enable education within the ECEC team as well as educating others e.g. parents, administration staff

  • It will serve as a common philosophy across the early years (Pre-K to yr2) for all current and future team members enabling them to identify the direction for the whole team based on research

  • To enable all staff to recognise and understand the impact the theories they follow have on their every day teaching style e.g. Bronfenbrenner; Vygotsky

  • Practices, priorities, policies and procedures link back to this common philosophy within the charter

  • It fulfils a number of NQS requirements and becomes part of your QIP (e.g. Element 7.2.1: to guide all aspects of the teaching and learning)

Benefits to the school
Benefits to the school

  • Continuity between year levels and classes becomes clearer for all stakeholders (teachers, children & parents) and is made more transparent

  • It can be used to inform parents of the importance of early years pedagogy and practice

  • It promotes a more collaborative approach to teaching rather than working in isolation (QA1)

  • Consistency across the early years contributes to children’s sense security (QA5)

  • Enables teachers to work towards quality in the NQS (e.g. element 1.1.3; 5.1.3) and writing a QIP

What documents do we need to use
What documents do we need to use?

  • Mandate

    • Section 9: Harmony with God, themselves, each other and creation;

    • Section 19: A good school: growth of the whole person; students are capable of free choice;

    • Section 36: A spirit of family;

    • Section 66: Curriculum is centred on the student: individual needs, integrated personal development that relates to real life situations;

    • Section 70: using an integrated approach – faith, life and culture;

    • DIOCESAN FUNCTIONS: 1.22 – Ensure curricula are consistent with requirements of state education authorities

  • Catholic Education Commission of WA Early Years Position Statement (2009)


  • ECE theorists

  • How long will it take
    How long will it take?

    • This is a long term plan that will take time to develop as it needs time for discussion, thought and agreement

    • Change takes time

    • See this as a working document that needs to be read and updated regularly

    • It could take 1-2 years depending on what point you are already at

      • Do you already have a charter/philosophy? Who wrote it? Do other people need to be consulted and their views added? Does it need reviewing?

      • We don’t have one at all so where do we start?

    Who is involved
    Who is involved

    • All staff from Pre-K to Year 2 : including TA’s

    • Including OHSC or a childcare service if you have them attached to your school (how would they be included)

    • Principal/admin team

      • Qualifications Audit…This will help you find some common ground

    Finding common ground
    Finding common ground

    To achieve quality in the NQS staff from Pre-K to yr.2 need to be working with a common philosophy.

    Staff need to identify and discuss:

    • What is quality?

    • What is ‘play’ and how does it differ in each year level?

    • What is likely to happen if the team is not in sync with one another concerning quality, pedagogy and/or play?

    • What if some people’s idea of quality was spending time cleaning and tidying as opposed to staff spending time interacting with children? How do we go about discussing this?

    • How do we achieve shared ownership?

    • How do we value and respect the different points of view of families e.g. child rearing practices?

    Early years philosophy charter

    Your philosophy statement

    Principles of the EYLF


    Theoretical perspectives

    New research

    Our own beliefs

    Early years philosophy charter

    Which document will help this process
    Which document will help this process? early childhood research and theory…”

    The EYLF

    However most practitioners jump straight into the outcomes without looking at the pedagogy, principles and practice

    • All practitioners need a good understanding of the EYLF.

    • PLEASE NOTE: The EYLF is aligned with the NQS

    A question of pedagogy
    A question of pedagogy? early childhood research and theory…”

    • So what is Pedagogy? What is yours? Which theorist influences you most?

    A question of pedagogy eylf
    A question of pedagogy? EYLF early childhood research and theory…”


    • involves professional judgements; creativity, intuition and imagination.

    • incorporates different learning theories.

    • is an early childhood educator’s professional practice, especially those aspects that involve building and nurturing relationships, curriculum decision making, teaching and learning.

    A question of pedagogy ac
    A question of pedagogy? and Practice of the EYLF AC

    The Australian Curriculum stresses:

    • Foundation to year 2 Scope is clear that “children construct and review their learning through interactions with others, experimentation, scaffolding, explicit teaching, practice and play”

      (The Shape of the Australian Curriculum (p.11)


    • Teachers can choose how to introduce concepts and processes

    • A discipline based curriculum should allow for cross-disciplinary learning

    • “The Australian Curriculum is aligned with the EYLF and builds on its key outcomes”

    Research suggests
    Research suggests and Practice of the EYLF

    • Involvement and wellbeing have been cited as two of the most important and reliable indicators of quality for educational settings and processes essential for child’s learning (Laevers, 1999; Raspa, McWilliam, Ridley & Ridley, 2001) Pascal, 1999; Rogers, 1983; Vygotsky, 1978)

    • Wellbeing is a prerequisite for involvement (Laevers, 2000) and for successful social functioning (Mayr & Ulich, 1999)

    • This focus on children’s wellbeing and involvement places the onus for the outcomes for children on the adults, making a judgement about the context, rather than the child.

      Reflect, Respect, Relate (observation scales, 2008, Dept. of SA)

    Where do we start
    Where do we start? and Practice of the EYLF


    • Look at your current statement of philosophy

      • Does it reflect what is actually happening?

      • Is it used to guide everyday practice?

      • Are their links to the EYLF/NQS/AC?

      • Is it clear?

  • Discuss which theorists influence practice

    • Review developmental theories: strengths, cautions and beliefs

    • Read and discuss questions on handout 4

  • Review the pedagogy, principles and practices of the EYLF (RIPL pack) and understand its relationship to the AC

  • Self assess:

    • Where do I sit in my practice?

    • Do I practice what I preach?

    • Linking theoretical perspectives

  • Use reflective practice for improvement

    • Use your NQS self assessments

  • Key things to think about
    Key things to think about and Practice of the EYLF

    • When you enter an ECE classroom – what do you expect the children to be doing? Teachers’? TA’s?

      • Is there a difference in your expectation in Pre-K to PP to Year 1 & 2?

      • How would the children be learning?

      • What does the EYLF/NQS/AC say?

      • What strengths do you see?

      • What weaknesses do you see?

      • What do you NOT want to see?

  • Who are you writing this document for? Audience …Teachers? Parents?

  • Four key areas to focus on
    Four key areas to focus on and Practice of the EYLF

    • Curriculum

      • What is mandated for each year level? NQS, EYLF, AC, AC – general capabilities, and new WA curriculum

    • Pedagogy

      • What does it look like?

      • What would you see?

      • What would the environment look like?

      • Should it be different in Year 1&2? How different?

      • Parent education?

    • Assessment –Formative/Summative:

      • What can you do?

      • How do you do it?

      • How do you know what each child has achieved?

    • School organisation –

      • What is your school focus?

      • How can principals’ support their staff? e.g. Timetabling; Time to write the philosophy /charter; TA/EA support

    Assess the four key areas as a team
    Assess the four key areas as a team and Practice of the EYLF

    • What are we doing well? How do we do this?

    • What issues arose? What are the major areas that need work? e.g. parents, playground

    • Categorise these under the four key areas

    • Diagnose which is the weakest area

    • Identify the biggest need from a whole school perspective

    • Clearly identify what play looks like in each ECE classroom: Pre-k/K/PP/Yr1/Yr2

    • Decide which area to focus on first – start with the positive

    Examples: and Practice of the EYLF


    • What you will and wont see

    • Some make links to the school vision

    • Most list the EYLF principals/some list the practices

    • Discuss general programming practices K-2

    • Some list the curriculum requirements Play based learning definitions – problem solving, based on research

    • Expectations of ECEC staff

    • ECEC pedagogy

    • Defining roles: what is an educator?

    • What can families do to help in each EYLF outcome area

    Food for thought
    Food for thought and Practice of the EYLF

    • Currently most charters/philosophies are written only by the Kindy staff.

    • Does this document need administration or policy item e.g. medication; homework policy

    • Why Diana Rigg checklists? How are they used?

    • Does it need some collaboration with parents? As just ‘being on roster’ may not be collaborative

      See NQS QA6

    • Many state outcomes that are limiting e.g. 1:1 to 10, rote counting to 20, writing numbers to 9

    Suggestions: and Practice of the EYLF

    • Don’t reinvent the wheel!

    • Types of assessment – formative/summative

    • Literacy and oral language development – what will it look like? Make explicit links.

    • List References and further readings

    • EYLF/NQS/AC/AC-GC – could be an appendices

    • Make outcomes open-ended: rather than limiting – 1:1 counting, patterning, writing numbers

    Early years philosophy charter