‘In the early years, your child’s main way of learning and developing is through play.’
Raising Children Network
Welcome to pre-school and primary school teachers, childcare workers, foster carers, family counsellors, parents and anyone who cares for young children.
You know more than most that the early years are a critical time. This is when bonding takes place between children and their primary caregivers. In the early years the basis for healthy self-esteem is created through such fundamental building blocks as being valued, cared for, included, listened to, and held close.
It is truly extraordinary when you think of the growth and learning that takes place in the first few years of a person’s life. A baby explores the joys of movement by becoming curious about the world around them. A young child begins to develop language and experience the complexities of relationships, culture and identity. They experience the tumultuous world of emotions and body signals and begin learning patterns of response to them.
The early years is when the foundations for respectful play, friendships and relationships are established. This is also a time when children’s notions of gender roles and their own identity are shaped. All going well, they begin to awaken to empathy. With gentle guidance they learn to put themselves in another’s shoes which sets up the basis for healthy, two-way relationships. They build on their seemingly innate sense of fairness.
When nurtured in the early years, children’s sense of self-worth and their capacity to care about others are more likely to blossom naturally, and go on to characterise a caring and productive life in the later years as well.
According to Anglicare Victoria’s Bendigo-based Communities for Children program, early childhood educators in Australia work within the following frameworks:
- National Quality Standards
- Early Years Learning Framework: Belonging, Being and Becoming.
Practice principles include:
- Respectful relationships and responsive engagement
- Equity and diversity
- Partnerships with families and professionals
- High expectations for every child
- Reflective practice.
Innovative Resources—part of Anglicare Victoria—has developed a range of colourful resources for supporting children in the early years. These resources have grown out of the strengths approach and reflect the five practice principles listed above. It is our pleasure to offer you some ideas for using resources.