Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Children between the ages of birth to 8 years attend early childhood services and centres for a range of education and care reasons. Expectations about children’s interactions and participation within the environments provided in these centres and through these services vary, depending on the context and purpose of the program. In this unit pre-service teachers will critically investigate ways in which these environments enable and constrain children’s learning and development. The diversity of young children and the range of settings they can experience will be investigated as part of a broad range of strategies needed by teachers for developing and maintaining positive environments. A variety of perspectives will be used to support pre-service teachers to understand children’s behaviour. Ways of supporting children to learn about their own and other’s behaviours will be considered. Pre-service teachers will develop and analyse approaches which build engaging and positive environments for learning and which support positive behaviours. This analysis will support them to recognise the role that intentional teaching and engaging learning environments play in promoting positive behaviours. The following aspects will be considered in this analysis: children’s social and emotional competence; resilience; positive sense of self; and sense of wellbeing.

This unit aims to assist pre-service teachers to develop strategies and practical approaches that lead to positive outcomes for the diverse range of children who participate in early childhood education. The multiple requirements of policies, curriculum documents and relevant legislation across both the prior to school and school sectors will be addressed.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Review theoretical perspectives about children and their learning, and critically analyse how these influence approaches to children’s behaviour in early childhood (GA4, GA5, GA9; APST 4.1, 4.3; ACECQA A3, A5, B1, B2, B6, B8, C3, C4, C5, E1, E2)

LO2 - Understand the value of collaboration to enact effective early childhood practice, and to plan, develop and reflect on examples of positive environments for learning and development (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA9; APST 4.1, 4.3; ACECQA A1, A3, B1, B2, B9, C3, C4, C5, E3)

LO3 - Connect features of effective early childhood education environments to underlying curriculum and pedagogical principles and concepts, and discuss how these may promote positive engagement of children in different early childhood settings (GA4, GA5; APST 1.1, 4.1, 4.3, 4.4; ACECQA A3, A5, B1, B2, B9, C1, C3, C4, C5)

LO4 - Critically analyse understandings of different centres, school, system, curriculum, regulatory and legislative requirements teachers work with as they plan for, negotiate and sustain positive environments for learning and development (GA4, GA5; APST 4.4, 7.2; ACECQA B1, B2, B9, C4, C5, F2)

LO5 - Develop knowledge about intentional teaching strategies that promote children’s social and emotional competence, resilience, positive sense of self, and sense of wellbeing, and recognise the ways in which these need to be adapted to engage children with diverse needs and backgrounds (GA4, GA5; APST 3.3, 4.1, 4.3; ACECQA A3, A5, A6, B1, B2, C1, C3, C4, C5, E3)

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

1.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students and how these may affect learning.

3.3 Include a range of teaching strategies.

4.1 Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities.

4.3 Demonstrate knowledge of practical approaches to manage challenging behaviour.

4.4 Describe strategies that support students’ well-being and safety working within school and/or system, curriculum and legislative requirements.

7.2 Understand the relevant legislative, administrative and organisational policies and processes required for teachers according to school stage.


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should have developed the following specific knowledge:

A. Psychology and child development           

A1. Learning, development and care

A3. Social and emotional development

A5. Wellbeing and safety early intervention

A6. Diversity, difference and inclusivity

B. Education and curriculum studies 

B1. Early Years Learning Framework

B2. The Australian curriculum

B6. Social and environmental education

B8. Physical and health education

B9. Curriculum planning, programming and evaluation

C. Early childhood pedagogies          

C1. Alternative pedagogies and curriculum approaches

C3. Guiding behaviour/engaging young learners

C4. Teaching methods and strategies

C5. Catering to children with diverse needs and backgrounds

E. History and philosophy of early childhood

E1. Historical and comparative perspectives

E2. Contemporary theories and practice

E3. Ethics and professional practice

F. Early childhood professional practice       

F2. Management and administration


Topics will include:

  • Theoretical perspectives about children which have influenced, and continue to influence, approaches to supporting children’s behaviour in early childhood settings
  • Environments for learning and development may have positive and negative impacts on children's behaviour and need to be planned, monitored and sustained in order to be effective
  • Policy, curriculum, regulations and legislation influence teacher decisions about supporting children's behaviour
  • Consideration of the ethical, philosophical and cultural beliefs that underpin teachers’ own understandings and expectations about children's behaviour 
  • Young children are capable of building a growing awareness of their own social and emotional competence, resilience and sense of self and wellbeing
  • Young children’s contribution to the creation of positive environments for learning and development.
  • The need for intentional teaching strategies to be differentiated in order to create positive environments for learning and development.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Pre-service teachers will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to progress and demonstrate their understandings in this unit. Participants will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to support learning, including online engagement, lectures, tutorials, seminar presentations and group discussions, both online and face-to-face, self-directed study activities and assessment tasks. Some participation in appropriate early childhood settings may be required.

This may involve a combination of face-to-face, online and blended delivery, on a weekly basis across a 12-week semester or in intensive mode.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total with a normal expectation of 36 hours of directed study and the total contact hours should not exceed 36 hours. Directed study might include lectures, tutorials, webinars, podcasts etc. The balance of the hours then becomes private study.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings are designed to allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement against the unit learning outcomes and demonstrate attainment of professional standards.

Minimum Achievement Standards

This unit includes two assessment tasks that are designed to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements.

Assessment tasks will amount to the equivalent of 4,000 words.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1:

Develop a group presentation, to be presented in tutorials.

Students work together to present elements of a positive environment to support learning and development for specified groups including 0-2 years; 3 - 5 years; first year of school (Foundation), second year of school (Year 1), third year of school (Year 2). They will demonstrate the following key elements:

  • Practical components of the environment
  • How to plan for and implement these components
  • Aspects of positive behaviour these components will support
  • Ways these components will support/allow for intentional teaching

Connections to key curriculum and policy documents

Equivalent to 1,200 words


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA9

Assessment Task 2:

Part A: Case study and critical analysis of an early childhood learning and teaching environment.

Develop a case study of an early childhood learning and teaching environment, discussing the implementation of theory into practice. Students may undertake this case study at their practicum site. To support this case study gather data such as diagrams, floor and playground plans, descriptions, interviews, observations, policy documents, artefacts and images. Analyse these to discuss and critically reflect on ways teachers may connect theory and practice to construct positive environments for learning and development.

Equivalent to 1,800 words

Part B: Portfolio of photos

Students develop five photo resources from their case study that capture some features of effective learning environments that support positive behaviours. Each photo has a brief reflective description with links to the theory drawn from relevant literature.

Equivalent to 1,000 words


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA9

Arthur, L., Beecher, B., Death, E., Dockett, S., & Farmer, S. (2012). Programming and planning in early childhood settings (5th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia.

Blaise, M., & Nuttall, J. (2011). Learning to teach in the early years classroom. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Bullard. J. (2014). Creating environments for learning: Birth to age eight (2nd ed.). Sydney: Pearson.

Churchill, R. et al. (2013). Teaching: Making a difference. Milton, Qld: John Wiley and Sons.

Hopkins, D. (2008). Teachers, students and the law: A quick reference guide for Australian teachers (3rd national ed.). Melbourne: Victorian Law Foundation.

Isbell, R., & Evanshen, P. (2012). Real classroom makeovers: Practical ideas for early childhood classrooms. Lewisville, NC: Gryphon House.

MacNaughton, G. & Williams, G. (2004). Techniques for teaching young children: Choices in theory and practice (3rd ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson.

Papatheodorou, T. (2005). Behaviour problems in the early years: A guide for understanding and support. London: RoutledgeFalmer.

Porter, L. (2008). Young children’s behaviour: Practical approaches for caregivers and teachers (3rd ed.). Elsevier: Sydney.

Raban, B., & Margetts, K. (2012). The early years learning framework in practice: A handbook for educators and families (2nd ed.). Albert Park, Vic: Teaching Solutions.

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