MY TIME, OUR PLACE - FRAMEWORK FOR SCHOOL AGE CARE IN AUSTRALIA

 
MY TIME, OUR PLACE - FRAMEWORK FOR SCHOOL AGE CARE IN AUSTRALIA
My Time, Our Place

    Framework for School
      Age Care in Australia
MY TIME, OUR PLACE - FRAMEWORK FOR SCHOOL AGE CARE IN AUSTRALIA
Contents

Introduction:                                                                                                        3
A VISION FOR CHILDREN’S LEARNING THROUGH PLAY & LEISURE                                                               5
PRINCIPLES                                                                                                           10
PRACTICE                                                                                                             13
OUTCOMES FOR CHILDREN                                                                                                18

Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of identity                                                                  19
Children feel safe, secure and supported
Children develop their autonomy, inter-dependence, resilience and sense of agency
Children develop knowledgeable and confident self identities
Children learn to interact in relation to others with care, empathy and respect

Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world                                                 24
Children develop a sense of belonging to groups and communities and an understanding of the reciprocal rights
and responsibilities necessary for active community participation
Children respond to diversity with respect
Children become aware of fairness
Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment

Outcome 3: Children have a strong sense of wellbeing                                                                 29
Children become strong in their social and emotional wellbeing
Children take increasing responsibility for their own health and physical wellbeing

Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners                                                              32
Children develop dispositions such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm,
persistence, imagination and reflexivity
Children use a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, inquiry, experimentation, hypothesising,
researching and investigating
Children transfer and adapt what they have learned from one context to another
Children resource their own learning through connecting with people, place, technologies and natural
and processed materials
Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators                                                                      37
Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes
Children engage with a range of texts and gain meaning from these texts
Children collaborate with others, express ideas and make meaning using a range of media
and communication technologies

GLOSSARY OF TERMS                                                                                                    41
BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                                                                         43

                                                               MY TIME, OUR PLACE Framework for School Age Care in Australia   1
MY TIME, OUR PLACE - FRAMEWORK FOR SCHOOL AGE CARE IN AUSTRALIA
Produced by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace
Relations for the Council of Australian Governments.

© Commonwealth of Australia 2011

ISBN	 978-0-642-78069-0 [Print]
ISBN	 978-0-642-78070-6 [PDF]
ISBN	 978-0-642-78071-3 [RTF]

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MY TIME, OUR PLACE - FRAMEWORK FOR SCHOOL AGE CARE IN AUSTRALIA
Introduction

A new vision for Australia                                                 Educators guided by the Framework will reinforce
                                                                           in their daily practice the principles laid out in the
The Council of Australian Governments has
                                                                           United Nations Convention on the Rights of the
developed My Time, Our Place – Framework for School
                                                                           Child (the Convention). The Convention states
Age Care in Australia (The Framework) to assist
                                                                           that all children have the right to relax and play,
educators to provide children with opportunities
                                                                           and to join in a wide range of cultural, artistic and
to maximise their potential and develop a foundation
                                                                           other recreational activities. The Convention also
for future success in life. In this way, the Framework
                                                                           recognises children’s rights to be active participants
will contribute to realising the Council of Australian
                                                                           in all matters affecting their lives and respects their
Governments vision that:
                                                                           family, cultural and other identities and languages.
“All children have the best start in life to create
                                                                           The Framework acknowledges the importance
a better future for themselves and for the nation.” 1
                                                                           of play and leisure in children’s learning and
The Framework has been designed for use by                                 development and that their learning is not limited to
school age care educators working in partnership                           any particular time or place. Developing life skills and
with children, their families and the community,                           a sense of enjoyment are emphasised. The Framework
including schools. It represents Australia’s first                         recognises the importance of social and emotional
national framework for school age care to be used                          development and communication in learning through
by school age care educators, and aims to extend and                       play and leisure, and it forms the foundation for
enrich children’s wellbeing and development in school                      ensuring that children in all school age care settings
age care settings.                                                         engage in quality experiences for rich learning,
                                                                           personal development and citizenship opportunities 4.
This Framework is linked to the Early Years Learning
Framework 2 which focuses on children from birth
to five years. It extends the principles, practices
                                                                               Children in school age care settings
and outcomes to the contexts and age range of the
                                                                               are challenged to be curious about
children and young people who attend school age
                                                                               what is of interest to them while at the
care settings. Further, the National Quality Standard
                                                                               same time developing self-identity and
for Early Childhood Education and Care and School
                                                                               social competencies.
Age Care 3 supports the implementation of this
national framework by ensuring that necessary                                  (adapted from Stig Lund, Danish National Federation of
environments, facilities, staffing arrangements,                               Early Childhood Teachers and Youth Educators and Nordic
                                                                               Teachers Council)
resources and management structures are in place.

1. On 5 December 2008, State, Territory and Commonwealth Ministers of Education meeting as the Ministerial Council on Education,
   Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, released the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians.

2. Australian Government Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations (2009). Belonging, Being & Becoming: Early Years
   Learning Framework for Australia. Canberra. Commonwealth of Australia.

3 Australian Government Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations (2009). National Quality Standard for Early
  Childhood Education and Care and School Age Care. Canberra. Commonwealth of Australia

4 Investing in the Early Years - a National Early Childhood Development Strategy, Council of Australian Governments

                                                                         MY TIME, OUR PLACE Framework for School Age Care in Australia   3
MY TIME, OUR PLACE - FRAMEWORK FOR SCHOOL AGE CARE IN AUSTRALIA
The Framework draws on conclusive international
       evidence that children learn and develop the skills          Educators:
       and behaviours required for active citizenship in a          the term used to refer to practitioners
       wide range of settings. It has been developed with
                                                                    whose primary function in Australian school
       input from children, families, the school age care
       sector, academics and the Australian and State and           age care settings (before and after school
       Territory Governments.                                       and vacation care) is to plan and implement
                                                                    programs that support children’s wellbeing,
       More broadly, the Framework supports Goal 2 of the
                                                                    development and learning.
       Melbourne Declaration on Education Goals for Young
       Australians 5, that:

       All young Australians become:
                                                                    Meaningful play and leisure:
       •    Successful learners
                                                                    a context for learning through which children
       •    Confident and creative individuals
                                                                    organise and make sense of their social
       •    Active and informed citizens.                           worlds, as they engage actively with people,
       The Melbourne Declaration also commits to                    objects, ideas and the environment.
       improved outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait
       Islander young people.

       5 ib.i

4   MY TIME, OUR PLACE Framework for School Age Care in Australia
MY TIME, OUR PLACE - FRAMEWORK FOR SCHOOL AGE CARE IN AUSTRALIA
A VISION FOR CHILDREN’S LEARNING
THROUGH PLAY AND LEISURE

My Time, Our Place                                                     to the My Time, Our Place – Framework for School
                                                                       Age Care in Australia.
In school age care settings educators collaborate
with children to provide play and leisure                              •   Experiencing belonging – knowing where and with
opportunities that are meaningful to children and                          whom you belong – is integral to human existence.
support their wellbeing, learning and development.                         In school age care, and throughout life, relationships
School age care settings pay attention to the needs                        are crucial to a sense of belonging. Children belong
and interests of individual children within a context                      first to a family, a cultural group, a neighbourhood
that promotes collaboration and active citizenship.                        and a wider community. Belonging acknowledges
Children in school age care settings have choice                           children’s interdependence with others and the
and control over their learning as they collaborate                        basis of relationships in defining identities. Belonging
with educators to extend their life skills and develop                     is central to being and becoming in that it shapes
dispositions towards citizenship.                                          who children are and who they can become.
From before birth children are connected to                            •   Childhood is a time to be, to seek and make
family, community, culture and place. Their earliest                       meaning of the world. Being recognises the
development and learning takes place through these                         significance of the here and now in children’s
relationships, particularly within families, who are                       lives. It is about the present and them knowing
children’s first and most influential educators.                           themselves, building and maintaining relationships
As children participate in everyday life, they develop                     with others, engaging with life’s joys and
interests and construct their own identities and                           complexities, and meeting challenges in everyday
understandings of the world. As children transition                        life. During the school age years children develop
to school their social worlds expand to include a                          their interests and explore possibilities. School
wider range of relationships particularly with children                    age care settings give children time and place to
of a similar age. Children’s learning in school age care                   collaborate with educators to organise activities
settings complements their learning at home and                            and opportunities meaningful to them.
at school. In school age care settings there is great                  •   Children’s identities, knowledge, understandings,
importance placed on relationships and developing                          capacities, skills and relationships change during
and strengthening children’s talents and interests.                        childhood. They are shaped by many different
Children learn to know, to do, to be, to live together                     events and circumstances. Becoming acknowledges
and to transform oneself and society 6 (UNESCO).                           children’s ongoing learning and development.
                                                                           It emphasises learning to participate fully and
All children experience meaningful and                                     actively in society.
joyful learning, enriching their childhood.
The view of children’s lives as characterised by
belonging, being and becoming that underpins the
Early Years Learning Framework is fundamental

6. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Five Pillars of Learning, http://www.unesco.org/new/en/
   education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/education-for-sustainable-development/education-for-sustainable-development/five-
   pillars-of-learning/

                                                                     MY TIME, OUR PLACE Framework for School Age Care in Australia       5
MY TIME, OUR PLACE - FRAMEWORK FOR SCHOOL AGE CARE IN AUSTRALIA
The Framework conveys high expectations for all              ELEMENTS OF THE FRAMEWORK
       children’s play and leisure activities in school age care
                                                                    The Framework puts children’s wellbeing
       settings. It communicates these expectations through
                                                                    and learning at the core and comprises three
       the following five Outcomes:
                                                                    inter-related elements: Principles, Practice and
       •   Children have a strong sense of identity                 Outcomes (see Figure 1). All three elements are
       •   Children are connected with and contribute               fundamental to pedagogy and program decision-
           to their world                                           making in school age care. A school age care program
       •   Children have a strong sense of wellbeing                encompass all the interactions, experiences, routines
                                                                    and events, planned and unplanned, which occur in
       •   Children are confident and involved learners
                                                                    an environment designed to support wellbeing and
       •   Children are effective communicators.                    foster children’s learning and development.
       The Framework provides broad direction for school            The emphasis in the Framework is on the planned
       age care educators in settings to facilitate children’s      or intentional aspects of the program which includes
       play, leisure and learning.                                  supporting spontaneous play and leisure experiences
       It guides educators in their program decision-making         initiated by children.
       and assists in planning, implementing and evaluating         Children are receptive to a wide range of
       quality in school age care settings. It also underpins the   experiences. What is included or excluded from
       implementation of more specific experiences relevant         the program affects how children learn, develop
       to each local community and school age care setting.         and understand the world.
       The Framework is designed to inspire conversations,          Working in collaboration with children and in
       improve communication and provide a common                   partnership with families, educators use the
       language about children’s play, leisure and learning         Outcomes to guide their planning for children’s
       among children themselves, their families, the broader       wellbeing and learning. In order to engage children
       community, school age care educators and                     actively in learning, educators identify children’s
       other professionals.                                         strengths and interests, choose appropriate strategies
                                                                    and design the environments. The Framework
                                                                    supports a model of program decision-making as an
            Outcome:                                                ongoing cycle. This involves educators drawing on
            a skill, knowledge or disposition that                  their professional knowledge, including their in-depth
            educators can actively promote in school age            knowledge of children. In collaboration with children
            care settings, in collaboration with children           and families, educators carefully evaluate to inform
            and families.                                           further planning.

                                                                        Program:
            School age care settings:                                   in the school age care setting ‘all the
            outside school hours care services, family day              interactions, experiences, activities, routines
            care, long day care, Multi-purpose Aboriginal               and events, planned and unplanned, that occur
            Children’s Services and similar services.                   in an environment designed to foster children’s
                                                                        wellbeing, development and learning’.

                                                                        Pedagogy:
                                                                        educators’ professional practice, especially
                                                                        those aspects that involve building and
                                                                        nurturing relationships, program decision-
                                                                        making, teaching and learning.

6   MY TIME, OUR PLACE Framework for School Age Care in Australia
MY TIME, OUR PLACE - FRAMEWORK FOR SCHOOL AGE CARE IN AUSTRALIA
CHILDREN’S LEARNING                                            Educators’ practices and the relationships they form
                                                               with children and families have a significant effect
School age children experience learning in a
                                                               on children’s sense of identity and wellbeing which
wide range of settings. Family, school and the
                                                               impacts on children’s involvement and success in
community (including school age care settings)
                                                               learning. Children thrive when families, educators
provide diverse opportunities for children to explore
                                                               and the wider community (especially schools)
relationships and ideas, and build competence and
                                                               work together in partnership to support children’s
skills. The diversity in family and community life
                                                               wellbeing and learning.
means that school age children experience belonging,
being and becoming in many different ways. They bring          The Outcomes section of the Framework provides
their diverse experiences, perspectives, expectations,         examples of evidence of children’s learning and the
knowledge and skills to their learning.                        educator’s role in school age care settings.
Children’s learning is dynamic, complex and holistic.
Physical, social, emotional, personal, spiritual, creative,    PEDAGOGY
cognitive and linguistic aspects of learning are all
                                                               The term pedagogy refers to the holistic nature
intricately interwoven and interrelated.
                                                               of educators’ professional practice (especially
Play is a context for learning that:                           those aspects that involve building and nurturing
                                                               relationships), program decision-making, teaching
•   allows for the expression of personality
                                                               and learning. When educators establish respectful
    and uniqueness
                                                               relationships with children and families, they are
•   enhances dispositions such as curiosity
                                                               able to work together to develop programs and
    and creativity
                                                               experiences which are relevant to children and build
•   enables children to make connections between               on individual and groups interests. These experiences
    prior experiences and new learning                         create possibilities for children’s own ideas and
•   assists children to develop relationships                  activities, allowing them to celebrate their own
    and concepts                                               interests and friendships and express themselves
•   stimulates a sense of wellbeing.                           in different ways.

Children actively construct their own understandings           Educators’ professional judgements are central
and contribute to others’ learning. They recognise             to their active role in facilitating children’s learning.
their agency, capacity to initiate and lead learning,          In making professional judgements, they weave
and their rights to participate in decisions that affect       together their:
them, including their learning.                                •   professional knowledge and skills
                                                               •   knowledge of children, families and communities
Leisure time experiences constructed by children
and supported by informed educators promote                    •   awareness of how their beliefs and values impact
children’s dynamic, complex and holistic learning.                 on children’s wellbeing and learning
Children’s happiness, optimism and sense of fun are            •   personal styles and past experiences.
dispositions that are significant to their emotional
                                                               They also draw on their creativity, imagination and
wellbeing and resilience. In school age care settings,
                                                               insight to help them improvise and adjust their
children’s sense of responsibility for their learning
                                                               practice to suit the time, place and context of learning.
is co-determined and skills and attitudes towards
life-long learning are consolidated. Children actively         Different theories about childhood inform
involved in community building develop common                  approaches to children’s learning and development.
interests and learn about citizenship.                         School age care educators draw upon a range of
                                                               perspectives in their work which may include:
Viewing children as active participants and decision-
makers opens up possibilities for educators to move            •   developmental theories that focus on describing
beyond pre-conceived expectations about what                       and understanding the processes of change in
children can do and learn. This requires educators                 children’s learning, development and wellbeing
to respect and work with children’s unique qualities,              over time
abilities and interests. When children are given
choices and control they experience connections
between actions and consequences.

                                                              MY TIME, OUR PLACE Framework for School Age Care in Australia   7
•   socio-cultural theories that emphasise the
           central role that families and cultural groups           Agency:
           play in children’s wellbeing and learning, and the       being able to make choices and decisions, to
           importance of respectful relationships, provide
                                                                    influence events and to have an impact on
           insight into social and cultural contexts of learning
           and development                                          one’s world.

       •   socio-behaviourist theories that focus on the role
           of experiences in shaping children’s behaviour
       •   critical theories that invite educators to challenge     Involvement:
           assumptions about programs, and consider how             is a state of intense, whole hearted
           their decisions may affect children differently
                                                                    mental activity, characterised by sustained
       •   post-structuralist theories that offer insights
                                                                    concentration and intrinsic motivation.
           into issues of power, equity and social justice
                                                                    Highly involved children (and adults)
           in childhood settings.
                                                                    operate at the limit of their capacities,
       Drawing on a range of perspectives and theories              leading to changed ways of responding and
       can challenge traditional ways of seeing children,
                                                                    understanding leading to deep level learning.
       facilitating learning, and encourage educators, as
                                                                    (adapted from Laevers 1994)
       individuals and with colleagues, to:
       •   investigate why they act in the ways that they do
       •   discuss and debate theories to identify strengths
           and limitations                                          Dispositions:
       •   recognise how the theories and beliefs that they         enduring habits of mind and actions, and
           use to make sense of their work enable but also          tendencies to respond in characteristic ways
           limit their actions and thoughts
                                                                    to situations, for example, maintaining an
       •   consider the consequences of their actions for
                                                                    optimistic outlook, being willing to persevere,
           children’s experiences
                                                                    approaching new experiences with confidence.
       •   find new ways of working fairly and justly.
                                                                    (Carr, 2001)

8   MY TIME, OUR PLACE Framework for School Age Care in Australia
Figure 1: Elements of the Framework for School Age Care
This figure is a diagram showing the relationship between outcomes, principles and practice which
centres on children’s learning. The three themes of Belonging, Being and Becoming are included,
thereby overlapping all of these elements.

                                                                       ELONGING
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                                                                    PRACTICE
                                                               PEDAGOGICAL PRACTICE

                                                                                                                                                                                 BE
                                   Holistic approaches                          Learning
                                             Play-based curriculum and intentional        environments
                                                                                      teaching
     M

                                Responsiveness to  children
                                                Physical                         Cultural competence
                                                         and social learning environments
                                  Learning through  play
                                                                                                                                                                                   I
                                                  Continuity  of learningContinuity of learning and transitions
                                                                          and transitions
    O

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                                   Intentional teaching Assessment for learningAssessment for learning
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             BE

                                                                                          MY TIME, OUR PLACE Framework for School Age Care in Australia                                  9
PRINCIPLES

      Refer to Figure 1 on page 9                                               2. Partnerships
      The following are five Principles that reflect                            School age children are involved in a range of
      contemporary theories and research evidence                               activities throughout their day. Children have the
      concerning children’s play, leisure and learning and                      potential to be affected by people, places and events.
      pedagogy. In school age care settings the Principles                      Families, schools and local communities contribute
      underpin practice that is focused on collaborating                        to the opportunities provided for this age group.
      with all children to make progress in relation to                         Children feel positive when there are strong links
      the Outcomes.                                                             between these settings and outcomes are most likely
                                                                                to be achieved when educators work in partnership
                                                                                with these contributors. Educators recognise that
      1. Secure, respectful and                                                 families are children’s first and most influential
         reciprocal relationships                                               teachers. They create a welcoming environment where
                                                                                all children and families are respected and actively
      Mutually supportive relationships are very
                                                                                encouraged to collaborate with educators about
      important in school age care settings. Secure,
                                                                                program decisions in order to ensure that experiences
      respectful and reciprocal relationships between
                                                                                are meaningful. Further, educators recognise the
      children; between children and adults; and amongst
                                                                                school setting and the significance of the learning and
      adults provide the foundation upon which the
                                                                                teaching opportunities provided for children. They are
      community in school age care settings is established.
                                                                                sensitive to the conduit role they provide between
      When children feel safe, secure, respected and given
                                                                                families and schools. Educators also recognise and
      appropriate responsibility 7 they feel like valued
                                                                                explore community activities. These partnerships shape
      members of the school age care community.
                                                                                children’s dispositions towards citizenship.
      Children who are supported to understand
      themselves in this positive way, experience a sense                       Partnerships are based on effective communication
      of belonging that nurtures the development of                             which builds the foundations of understanding about
      their self esteem. Self esteem is critical to children’s                  each other’s expectations and attitudes, and build on
      capacity to develop positive images about their                           the strength of each others’ knowledge.
      abilities, interests and personal future.
                                                                                In genuine partnerships, children, families, schools,
      Educators who are attuned to children’s thoughts and                      communities and educators:
      feelings support the development of a strong sense of                     •   value each other’s knowledge
      wellbeing and social competencies. Exhibiting qualities
                                                                                •   value each other’s contributions to
      of fairness, humour, sympathy and understanding
                                                                                    and roles in children’s life
      builds respectful and trusting relationships with
      children, families, colleagues and other professionals.                   •   trust each other
      Educators foster independence and initiative thereby                      •   communicate freely and respectfully
      nurturing children’s agency and leadership skills.                            with each other
                                                                                •   share insights and perspectives with
                                                                                    and about children
                                                                                •   engage in shared decision-making.

       7 Kennedy, A., & Stonehouse, A. (2004). Shared visions for school age care (2nd ed.). Melbourne,Victoria: Department of Human Services.

10   MY TIME, OUR PLACE Framework for School Age Care in Australia
PrINCIPLES
Partnerships also involve children with additional           histories, cultures, languages, traditions, child rearing
needs, educators, families and support professionals         practices and lifestyle choices of families so they
working together to explore the potential in every           can better support children in their care. They value
day events, routines and play so that children are           children’s different capacities and abilities.
provided with opportunities to learn from active
participation and engagement in these experiences.           Educators recognise that diversity contributes to
                                                             the richness of our society and provides a valid
                                                             evidence base about ways of knowing. For Australia
  “Our focus should be on
                                                             it also includes promoting greater understanding of
  recreation and fun, as families                            Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing
  and the community are entrusting                           and being. When school age care educators respect
                                                             the diversity of families and communities, and the
  their children to us and they have                         aspirations they hold for children, they are able to
  the right to expect that their                             nurture children’s wellbeing and foster children’s
  children will be cared for in an                           development. They make program decisions that
                                                             uphold all children’s rights to have their cultures,
  appropriate manner. “ – Judy                               identities, abilities and strengths acknowledged and
                                                             valued, and respond to the complexity of children’s
                                                             and families’ lives.
3. High expectations
   and equity                                                Educators think critically about opportunities and
School age care educators who are committed to               dilemmas that can arise from diversity and take action
equity believe in all children’s capacities to access        to redress unfairness. They provide opportunities
opportunities and succeed, regardless of diverse             to explore similarities and difference and consider
circumstances and abilities. They nurture children’s         interdependence and how we can learn to live together.
optimism, happiness and sense of fun. Children
progress well when they, their parents, educators            5. Ongoing learning and
and the community hold high expectations for
achievements and contribution to the society.                   reflective practice
                                                             Educators continually seek ways to build their
Educators recognise and respond to barriers to               professional knowledge and develop learning
children achieving a positive self identity, sense of        communities. They collaborate with children, families
purpose and positive view of personal future. In             and community, and value the continuity and richness
response they challenge practices that contribute to         of local knowledge shared by community members,
inequities and make decisions that promote inclusion         including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders.
and participation of all children. By developing their
professional knowledge and skills, and working in            Reflective practice is a form of ongoing learning that
partnership with children, families, communities,            involves engaging with questions of philosophy, ethics
other services and agencies, they continually strive         and practice. Its intention is to gather information and
to find equitable and effective ways to ensure that all      gain insights that support, inform and enrich decision-
children have opportunities to experience a sense of         making about children’s wellbeing and development.
personal worth and achieve outcomes.                         As professionals, educators examine what happens in
                                                             their settings and reflect on what they might change.

4. Respect for diversity                                     Critical reflection involves closely examining all
There are many ways of living, being and of knowing.         aspects of events and experiences from different
Children are born belonging to a culture, which              perspectives. Educators often frame their reflective
is not only influenced by traditional practices,             practice within a set of overarching questions,
heritage and ancestral knowledge, but also by the            developing more specific questions for particular
experiences, values and beliefs of individual families       areas of enquiry.
and communities. Being aware of and understanding            Overarching questions to guide reflection include:
diversity in school age care means taking into account
                                                             •   What are my understandings of each child?
the context of different family practices, values and
beliefs. Educators endeavour to understand the               •   What theories, philosophies and understandings
                                                                 shape and assist my work?

                                                          MY TIME, OUR PLACE Framework for School Age Care in Australia   11
PrINCIPLES

                   •   Who is advantaged when I work in this way?
                       Who is disadvantaged?
                                                                                  Collaboration:
                   •   What questions do I have about my work?
                                                                                  involves working together cooperatively
                       What am I challenged by? What am I curious
                       about? What am I confronted by?                            towards common goals. Collaboration is
                   •   What aspects of my work are not helped by the              achieved through information sharing, joint
                       theories and guidance that I usually draw on to            planning and the development of common
                       make sense of what I do?                                   understandings and objectives.
                   •   Are there other theories or knowledge that
                       could help me to understand better what I have
                       observed or experienced? What are they? How
                       might those theories and that knowledge affect
                       my practice?

                   A lively culture of professional inquiry is established
                   when educators and those with whom they work
                   are all involved in an ongoing cycle of review through
                   which current practices are examined, outcomes
                   reviewed and new ideas generated. In such a climate,
                   issues relating to program quality, environment
                   design, equity and children’s wellbeing can be raised
                   and debated.

             12   MY TIME, OUR PLACE Framework for School Age Care in Australia
PRACTICE

Refer to Figure 1 on page 9                                              respect the broader social environment and to be
                                                                         world-wise; and as well understand and appreciate
The principles of school age care pedagogy underpin                      the natural environment and the interdependence
practice. Educators draw on a rich repertoire of                         between people, plants, animals and the land.
pedagogical practices to promote children’s learning by:
•   adopting holistic approaches                                         Educators recognise the connections between
                                                                         children, families and communities and the importance
•   collaborating with children
                                                                         of reciprocal relationships and partnerships. They see
•   planning and implementing play and                                   learning as a social activity and value collaborative
    leisure activities                                                   activities and community participation.
•   acting with intentionality
                                                                         Each school age care setting can be considered as
•   creating physical and social school age care
                                                                         a community itself, just as it is also part of the local
    environments that have a positive impact on
                                                                         and global community. As such the school age care
    children’s development, wellbeing and
                                                                         community has the power to affect and be affected
    community-building
                                                                         by issues within and outside the setting. School age
•   valuing the cultural and social contexts of children                 care educators consider children’s needs including
    and their families                                                   nutrition and safety. They see children as capable and
•   providing for continuity in experiences and                          responsible, and provide places for them to socialise
    enabling children to have successful transition                      and play with friends and to relax and have fun.
•   using reflection and documentation about                             School age care settings are places to learn about self,
    children’s wellbeing and learning to inform and                      others and the world – in other words learning about
    evaluate programs and to support children in                         living and learning through living8.
    achieving outcomes.

                                                                         Collaboration with
Holistic approaches                                                      children
School age care educators take a holistic approach                       School age care educators are responsive to all
to their roles and responsibilities recognising the                      children’s strengths, abilities and interests. They value
connectedness of mind, body and spirit. They focus                       and build on children’s strengths, skills and knowledge
attention on children’s physical, personal, social,                      to ensure their wellbeing and motivation and
emotional and spiritual wellbeing as well as cognitive                   engagement in experiences. They respond to children’s
aspects of learning as it pertains to lifelong learning.                 expertise, cultural traditions and ways of knowing,
They are particularly concerned with how children’s                      the multiple languages spoken by some children,
social and physical development and wellbeing                            particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
impacts on capacity and potential to become effective                    children, and the strategies used by children with
citizens. Each outcome is viewed as being integrated                     additional needs to negotiate their everyday lives.
and interconnected.
                                                                         Responding to children’s ideas and play forms
An integrated, holistic approach focuses on                              an important basis for program decision-making.
connections to the social and to the natural world.                      In response to children’s evolving ideas and interests,
Educators foster children’s capacity to value and

8 Kennedy, A., & Stonehouse, A. (2004). Shared visions for school age care (2nd ed.). Melbourne,Victoria: Department of Human Services.

                                                                     MY TIME, OUR PLACE Framework for School Age Care in Australia        13
PRACTICE

                 educators assess, anticipate and extend children’s             School age care educators take on many roles in play
                 ideas via open ended questioning, providing feedback,          and leisure activities with children and use a range
                 challenging their thinking and guiding their actions.          of strategies to enrich development. They allow time
                                                                                and create spaces that encourage children to explore,
                 Responsive relationships are significant features of           build relationships, solve problems, create and
                 school age care settings. This form of collaborative           construct. They also recognise spontaneous ‘teachable
                 engagement is evidenced between educators and                  moments’ as they occur, and use them to build on
                 children, among children, between educators and                children’s experiences.
                 parents and various stakeholders including
                 schools, working to support children, families                 Educators actively support the inclusion of all children
                 and the community.                                             in play and leisure activities. They also help children to
                                                                                recognise when play is unfair and offer constructive
                 Responsive relationships are strengthened as                   ways to build a caring, fair and inclusive community.
                 educators and children share decisions, respect and
                 trust each other and learn together. Responsiveness
                                                                                   “My philosophy is that children
                 enables educators to respectfully enter children’s play
                 and ongoing projects, stimulate their thinking and                have a structured busy day
                 enrich their growth and development. Responsive                   and that we need to be as
                 relationships with families and the local community
                 including schools, enables educators to establish safe
                                                                                   unstructured as we possibly
                 and secure environments for children.                             can within the bounds of reason.
                                                                                   We give the children choice and
                    “Our program is child orientated.
                                                                                   freedom to play. We do things
                    We have group discussions with
                                                                                   based on children’s interests.
                    the children to find out what it
                                                                                   We have a lot of fun.” – Jackie
                    is that they want to do. How can
                    you plan for that? I don’t spend
                                                                                Intentionality
                    hours writing things up but we                              Intentionality refers to actions that are deliberate,
                    do what the children suggest.                               purposeful and thoughtful. Educators who engage
                    We use a simple evaluation form                             in intentional actions recognise that learning
                                                                                occurs in social contexts, and that interactions and
                    to record the children’s ideas.                             conversations are vitally important for learning.
                    The children’s comments are                                 They actively promote children’s learning through
                                                                                worthwhile and challenging experiences and
                    insightful.” – Whitney                                      interactions that foster high-level thinking skills and
                                                                                they seize opportunities in activities and conversations
                 Learning through play                                          to extend or affirm children’s learning. They listen
                                                                                with intent to the conversations of children and use
                 Play and leisure activities provide opportunities for
                                                                                strategies such as modelling and demonstrating, open
                 children to learn as they discover, create, improvise
                                                                                questioning, speculating, explaining, engaging in shared
                 and imagine. When children play with other children
                                                                                thinking and problem solving to extend children’s
                 they create social groups, test out ideas, challenge
                                                                                thinking and learning. Educators move flexibly in and
                 each other’s thinking and build new understandings.
                                                                                out of different roles and draw on different strategies
                 Play provides a supportive environment where
                                                                                as the context changes. The documentation and
                 children can ask questions, solve problems and
                                                                                monitoring of children’s wellbeing and engagement
                 engage in critical thinking. Play can expand children’s
                                                                                with learning life skills and citizenship supports
                 thinking and enhance their desire to know and
                                                                                effective program planning. Intentionality utilises
                 to learn. In these ways play can promote positive
                                                                                professional knowledge and strategies that reflect
                 dispositions towards learning. Children’s immersion
                                                                                contemporary theories and research concerning
                 in their play illustrates how play enables them to
                                                                                children’s play, leisure and learning.
                 simply enjoy being.

           14   MY TIME, OUR PLACE Framework for School Age Care in Australia
PRACTICE
School age care educators are conscious of making             School age care settings are commonly located in a
the most of opportunities to follow up children’s             variety of venues and many are in shared facilities.
needs and interests. They make use of spontaneous             The space should be flexible enough to allow for
‘teachable moments’ to scaffold children’s                    the range of activities necessary for children to
development. These incidental opportunities are               participate in opportunities to achieve the Outcomes.
significant and meaningful to children’s being and            Educators demonstrate high level communication
becoming and achievement of the Outcomes.                     skills with all stakeholders to ensure the environment
                                                              supports children’s wellbeing, development and
                                                              enriched experiences.
Environments
School age care environments are welcoming spaces                 “In this room with vinyl floor
when they reflect and enrich the lives and identities
of children and families participating in the setting in
                                                                  and sinks we do all our craft.
response to their interests and needs. Environments               Out there is our adventure
that support wellbeing and development are vibrant                playground. We use the verandah
and flexible spaces that are responsive to the welfare
and abilities of each child. They cater for different             as well for activities. We keep two
needs and interests and invite children and families              rooms clear for group projects
to contribute ideas and questions. Educators can
                                                                  or games and dancing. It works
support engagement by allowing time for meaningful
interactions, by providing a range of opportunities               really well. “ – Wendy
for individual and shared experiences, and by finding
opportunities for children to go into and contribute
to their local community.
                                                              Cultural competence
                                                              Educators who are culturally competent respect
School age care is characterised by opportunities to          multiple cultural ways of knowing, seeing and living,
develop relationships. Some children develop social           celebrate the benefits of diversity and have an ability
skills through quiet play such as talking to friends.         to understand and honour differences. This is evident
Accordingly, space needs to be available for small            in everyday practice when educators demonstrate
and large groups of children to gather. Other children        an ongoing commitment to developing their own
socialise through physical play requiring open spaces         cultural competence in a two way process with
to develop physical skills and social skills such as          children, families and communities.
team building and leadership. Indoor and outdoor
environments support all aspects of children’s                Educators view culture and the context of family as
learning and invite conversations between children,           central to children’s sense of being and belonging, and
school age care educators, families and the broader           to success in lifelong learning. Educators also seek to
community. They promote opportunities for sustained           promote children’s cultural competence.
shared thinking and collaborative activities.
                                                              Cultural competence is much more than awareness
Resources need to reflect the breadth of age groups           of cultural differences. It is the ability to understand,
and interests and capabilities that are sharing the           communicate with, and effectively interact with people
environment and be accessible to children so they             across cultures. Cultural competence encompasses:
can choose and be responsible for their actions.              •   being aware of one’s own world view
Access to digital technologies can enable children            •   developing positive attitudes towards
to locate global connections and resources, and                   cultural differences
encourage new ways of thinking and communicating.
                                                              •   gaining knowledge of different cultural practices
School age care environments and resources can                    and world views
also emphasise accountability for a sustainable future        •   developing skills for communication and
and promote children’s understanding about their                  interaction across cultures.
responsibility to care for the environment, day to day
and for long term sustainability. These spaces promote
the development of life skills such as growing and
preparing food, waste reduction and recycling.

                                                           MY TIME, OUR PLACE Framework for School Age Care in Australia   15
PRACTICE

                    “It is naive to assume that there                               “You don’t just have children
                    is a unified approach that we can                               for one year like a classroom
                    take in order to determine the                                  teacher. At after school care,
                    needs of children and families.                                 children are in your service for
                    Each family and each community                                  at least seven years.You see
                    has unique traditions specific to                               them grow up.” – Jan
                    their cultural backgrounds. Just as
                    non-Indigenous families are not all                         Evaluation for wellbeing
                    alike there is also diversity within                        and learning
                    Indigenous families.” – Miranda.                            Educators gather knowledge about children’s
                                                                                wellbeing and learning as they reflect and engage
                                                                                in processes such as scanning, monitoring, gathering
                 Continuity and transitions                                     and analysing information about how children feel
                 School age care settings are situated in                       and what children know, can do and understand.
                 complementary relationships with homes, schools                It is part of an ongoing cycle that includes planning,
                 and community spaces with different places                     documenting and evaluating children’s wellbeing,
                 and environments having their own purposes,                    development and learning.
                 expectations and ways of doing things. In learning
                                                                                It is important because it enables educators in
                 life skills children draw on the understandings, skills
                                                                                partnership with children, families and other
                 and attitudes from the range of settings in which
                                                                                professionals to:
                 they engage. Educators work with children, families,
                 other professionals and the broader community to               •   plan effectively for children’s wellbeing
                 ensure successful transitions between settings and             •   plan collaboratively with children
                 that children feel secure and confident. They assist           •   communicate about children’s wellbeing
                 children to understand the traditions, routines and                and development
                 practices of the settings to which they are moving
                                                                                •   determine the extent to which all children are
                 and to feel comfortable with the process of change.
                                                                                    progressing toward realising outcomes and if not,
                 Children are likely to engage with other children                  what might be impeding their progress
                 and the educators in school age care settings over a           •   identify children who may need additional support
                 significant period of time. Ensuring children have an              in order to achieve particular outcomes, providing
                 active role in preparing for transitions helps them to             that support or assisting families to access
                 feel motivated to contribute and become engaged                    specialist help
                 with the activities within settings. As children make          •   evaluate the effectiveness of environments and
                 transitions between settings (including school)                    experiences offered and the approaches taken
                 educators from school age care settings, schools and               to nurture children’s wellbeing and to enrich
                 other children’s services, support the transitions by              children’s development
                 sharing appropriate information about each child’s
                                                                                •   reflect on pedagogy that will suit the context
                 capabilities and interests.                                        and children.

                    ”The garden is tended by children                           Educators use a variety of strategies to collect,
                                                                                document, organise, synthesise and interpret the
                    in the afternoons and during
                                                                                information that they gather about children’s wellbeing
                    vacation care. It is a great source                         and enrichment to evaluate the effectiveness of their
                    of fresh herbs and vegetables                               programs. They search for appropriate ways to collect
                                                                                rich and meaningful information that depicts children’s
                    for the school tuckshop and our                             wellbeing and development in context, describes
                    cooking activities, especially for                          their progress and identifies their strengths, skills
                                                                                and understandings. When school age care educators
                    afternoon teas”. – Sian                                     and children collaborate about their wellbeing and
                                                                                experiences they use approaches that have become
                                                                                powerful ways to make the process visible to children
                                                                                and their families, educators and other professionals.

           16   MY TIME, OUR PLACE Framework for School Age Care in Australia
PRACTICE
The five Outcomes in this Framework, as outlined                •   the opportunities which build on what children
later, provide school age care educators with                       already know and what they bring to the school
key reference points against which children’s                       age care setting
experiences can be identified, documented and                   •   evidence that the experiences offered are
communicated to children, families and other                        inclusive of all children and culturally appropriate
professionals. Educators can reflect on children’s
                                                                •   not making assumptions about children’s
wellbeing and how children have developed, how
                                                                    development or setting lower expectations for
they have engaged with increasingly complex
                                                                    some children because of unacknowledged biases
ideas and participated in increasingly sophisticated
experiences. All children demonstrate their learning            •   incorporating pedagogical practices that reflect
in different ways. Approaches to evaluation that are                knowledge of diverse perspectives and contribute
culturally and linguistically relevant and responsive               to children’s wellbeing and successful learning
to the social, physical and intellectual capabilities will      •   whether there are sufficiently challenging
acknowledge children’s abilities and strengths, and                 experiences for all children
allow them to demonstrate competence. Evaluation,               •   the evidence that demonstrates children feel
when undertaken in collaboration with children can                  safe and secure, and are engaged
support and empower them to see themselves as                   •   how they can expand the range of ways they
capable and foster independence and initiative.                     debrief and reflect to make evaluation richer
When educators reflect on their role in children’s                  and more useful.
lives they reflect on their own views and
understandings of theory, research and practice                     “Sometimes I am so absorbed in
to focus on:                                                        what is happening that to take
•   the experiences and environments they provide                   a step back and reflect is very
    and how that links to the intended outcomes
•   the extent to which they know and value the
                                                                    difficult. I want to know things
    culturally specific knowledge about children that               like … Do staff have time to talk
    is embedded within the community in which they                  to children? Are staff implementing
    are working
•   each child’s opportunities in the context of
                                                                    routines effectively? Do children
    their families, drawing family perspectives,                    feel relaxed when they come to
    understandings, experiences and expectations                    after school care?” – Jene

                                                             MY TIME, OUR PLACE Framework for School Age Care in Australia   17
OUTCOMES

      Refer to Figure 1 on page 9                                    The following Outcomes demonstrate how the three
                                                                     elements of the Framework: Principles, Practice and
      The five Outcomes are designed to capture the                  Outcomes combine to guide program decision-
      integrated and complex wellbeing, development and              making and assessment to promote children’s
      learning of all children. The outcomes are:                    opportunities for belonging, being and becoming.
      •   Children have a strong sense of identity
                                                                     Key components in each outcome are expanded
      •   Children are connected with and contribute to
                                                                     to provide examples of evidence that educators
          their world
                                                                     may observe in children as they engage in play and
      •   Children have a strong sense of wellbeing                  leisure activities. Examples of practice to promote
      •   Children are confident and involved learners               children’s wellbeing and enrichment are also included.
      •   Children are effective communicators.                      There will be many other ways that children
                                                                     demonstrate wellbeing and capabilities within
      The outcomes are broad and observable.                         and across the outcomes. Educators understand,
      They acknowledge that children in school age                   engage with and promote children’s wellbeing and
      care settings have choices and opportunities to                development. They talk with families and communities
      collaborate with each other and educators. Children            to make locally based decisions, relevant to children
      learn in a variety of ways and vary in their capabilities      and their community.
      and pace of learning. Considerations need to be given
      to time and place. Children engage with increasingly           There is provision for educators to list specific
      complex ideas and learning experiences, which are              examples of evidence and practice that are culturally
      transferable to other situations.                              and contextually appropriate to each child and
                                                                     their settings.
      Learning in relation to the outcomes is influenced by:
      •   each child’s wellbeing, current capabilities,              The points described within each outcome are
          dispositions and preferences                               relevant to children of all ages. Knowledge of
                                                                     individual children, their interests, strengths and
      •   educators’ practices and the environment
                                                                     capabilities will guide educators’ professional
      •   engagement with each child’s family and                    judgement to ensure all children are engaging in
          community including school                                 a range of experiences across all the Outcomes in
      •   the integration of wellbeing and development               ways that optimise their wellbeing and capabilities.
          across the outcomes.

      Children’s wellbeing, development and enrichment
      is achieved in different and equally meaningful ways.
      Development is not always predictable and linear.
      Educators plan and collaborate with children and the
      Outcomes in mind.

18   MY TIME, OUR PLACE Framework for School Age Care in Australia
Outcome 1:
Children have a strong sense of identity
Belonging, being and becoming are integral parts              their relationships. When children feel safe, secure
of identity.                                                  and supported they grow in confidence to explore
                                                              and learn.
Children learn about themselves and construct their
own identity within the context of their families             The concept of being reminds educators to focus on
and communities. This includes their relationships            children in the here and now, and of the importance
with people, places and things and the actions                of children’s right to be a child and experience the
and responses of others. Identity is not fixed. It is         joy of childhood. Being involves children developing
shaped by experiences. When children have positive            an awareness of their social and cultural heritage,
experiences they develop an understanding of                  of gender and their significance in their world.
themselves as significant and respected, and feel a
sense of belonging. Relationships are the foundations         Becoming includes children building and shaping their
for the construction of identity – ‘who I am’, ‘how           identity through their evolving experiences and
I belong’ and ‘what is my influence?’                         relationships which include change and transitions.
                                                              Children are always learning about the impact of
In school age care settings children develop a                their personal beliefs and values. Children’s agency,
sense of belonging when they feel accepted, develop           as well as guidance, care and teaching by families and
attachments and trust those that care for them.               educators shape children’s experiences of becoming.
As children are developing their sense of identity,
they explore different aspects of it (physical, social,
emotional, spiritual, cognitive), through their play and

                                                           MY TIME, OUR PLACE Framework for School Age Care in Australia   19
Outcomes

                 Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of identity
                 •       Children feel safe, secure, and supported
                 •       Children develop their autonomy, inter-dependence, resilience and sense of agency
                 •       Children develop knowledgeable and confident self identities
                 •       Children learn to interact in relation to others with care, empathy and respect

                     Children feel safe, secure, and supported

                     This is evident, for example,                                 Educators facilitate this, for example,
                     when children:                                                when they:

                     •     establish and maintain respectful, trusting             •   spend time interacting and conversing with
                           relationships with other children and                       children, listening and responding sensitively
                           educators                                                   as they express their ideas and needs
                     •     use effective routines to make                          •   support children’s attachment through
                           predicted transitions                                       consistent and warm nurturing relationships
                     •     sense and respond to a feeling of belonging             •   support children in times of change and bridge
                     •     openly express their feelings and ideas in their            the gap between the familiar and the unfamiliar
                           interactions with others                                •   recognise that feelings of distress, fear or
                     •     respond to ideas and suggestions from others                discomfort may take some time to resolve
                     •     initiate interactions and conversations with            •   acknowledge each child’s uniqueness
                           trusted educators                                           in positive ways
                     •     confidently explore and engage with social and          •   support the development of
                           physical environments through relationships                 children’s friendships
                           and play                                                •   acknowledge the importance of opportunities
                     •     initiate and join in play and leisure activities            for children to relax through play and leisure

                                                           Add your own examples from your context:

           20   MY TIME, OUR PLACE Framework for School Age Care in Australia
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