Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

In this unit pre-service educators will examine crucial aspects of social competence such as competency in emotional literacy, empathy, resilience, friendship and communication skills, and interpersonal problem solving skills. This unit will also support pre-services educators’ understanding of transitions, particularly from home to early childhood settings and early childhood settings  to formal schooling. Links will be made between the development of social competence and a child’s long-term well-being, as well as the well-being of the staff. Students will be expected to examine their own values and methods of responding to young children’s behaviour and develop effective strategies for guiding young children’s behaviour in group settings, and for working alongside families. In addition, specific reference will be made to addressing significant behaviours that require individual attention and support by both the early years setting and the family context.

This unit aims to enable pre-service teachers to examine young children’s developing social competence and effective strategies for supporting and guiding social and emotional learning.

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 - draw on knowledge of a range of theoretical perspectives to support the development of social competence in young children (GA4, GA8; ACECQA A3, C3; APST 4.4)

LO2 - incorporate current research, issues, policy development and external expertise into pedagogy and professional practice (GA5, GA8; ACECQA C1, C2, C3, C4; APST 4.3, 7.4)

LO3 - utilise knowledge of child protection, protective behaviours and ethical practice when supporting young children’s social competence (GA1, GA3; ACECQA A5, E3; APST 4.4)

LO4 - use understanding of the range of factors which impact on the development of young children’s social competence when planning learning opportunities and collaborating with families and external/community expertise, including transitions and continuity (GA3, GA4; ACECQA A3, A8, D1, D2, D3, D4, D5; APST 4.1, 4.4, 7.3, 7.4)

LO5 - reflect on assumptions and practices in response to definitions and understandings of challenging behaviours (GA3, GA4; ACECQA E3; APST 4.3)

LO6 - implement a range of teaching strategies to assist children’s decision making in their behaviour, making links to the relevant National and State curriculum documents (GA5, GA8; ACECQA A3, B1, C1, C3, C4, C5; APST 4.1, 4.2).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


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

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

4.2 Demonstrate the capacity to organise classroom activities and provide clear directions.

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.

7.3 Understand strategies for working effectively, sensitively and confidentially with parents/carers.

7.4 Understand the role of external professionals and community representatives in broadening teachers’ professional knowledge and practice.


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

A. Psychology and child development           

A3. Social and emotional development

A5. Wellbeing and safety early intervention

A8. Transitions and continuity of learning (including transition to school)

B. Education and curriculum studies 

B1. Early Years Learning Framework

C. Early childhood pedagogies          

C1. alternative pedagogies and curriculum approaches

C2. play based pedagogies

C3. guiding behaviour/engaging young learners

C4. teaching methods and strategies

C5. children with diverse needs and backgrounds

D. Families and community partnerships

D1. Developing family and community partnerships

D2   multicultural education

D3. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives

D4. Socially inclusive practice

D5. Culture, diversity and inclusion

E. History and philosophy of early childhood

E3. Ethics and professional practice


Topics will include:

  • Current research informed contemporary perspectives relevant to social competence - attachment, temperament, self-concept, self-regulation, pro-social behaviours, atypical development and behaviours, social and emotional literacy
  • Neuroscience, cultural and family studies research, pertaining to social competence
  • National and international issues, policy directions and developments making links to the relevant national and state curriculum documents
  • Child protection and protective behaviours
  • Ethical and professional issues
  • Including young children as children as participants and/or decisions-makers in matters concerning their social competence
  • Designing, implementing and evaluating learning experiences
  • Transitions across contexts, including home to early childhood settings and early childhood settings to formal school
  • Diversity and equity principles - gender, culture, language, ability, and socio-economic status
  • Implications for pedagogy and professional practice.

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 materials, workshop/tutorial (where applicable), readings, discussion forums and assignment preparation. The unit delivery will consist of a digital core with the expectation of students working with these materials for a minimum of two hours or equivalent each week. In addition, a two-hour workshop/tutorial may be held once every two weeks (i.e., 4 times a semester or equivalent) in online mode, or the equivalent in intensive mode. There will be an opportunity for the content to be applied in the professional experience program and students will draw on the ethical, theoretical and practical considerations of this unit for their professional practice.

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 become 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

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. The total assessment tasks will amount to the equivalent of 5,000 words

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

learning investigations – Select a scenario from those provided –

  • Analysis using relevant theoretical frameworks
  • Identify implications for practice referring to relevant state and national curriculum frameworks (Formative)

(2000 words or equivalent)


LO1, LO2, LO5

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 2

Use group and individual observation to identify issues of concern and develop, implement and evaluate individual (2) and collaborative learning plans (2). Where possible efforts should be made to include a range of individual contexts (e.g. Indigenous children, children with disabilities, children who are gifted and/or children who have English as an additional language).

(3000 words or equivalent)


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO6

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Kostelnik, M, J., Soderman, A.K., Whiren-Phillips, A., & Gregory-Murphy, K. (2011). Guiding children's social development and learning (7th ed.). Albany, NJ: Cengage.

Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (2009). Being, belonging and becoming: Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. Canberra, ACT: Commonwealth of Australia.

Bowes, J., & Grace, R. (Eds). (2009). Children, families and communities- Contexts and consequences. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Educational Transitions and Change (ETC) Research Group. (2011). Transition to school: Position statement Albury-Wodonga: Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education, Charles Sturt University.

Fleer, M. (2010). Early learning and development. Cultural-historical concepts in play. Port Melbourne, Vic: Cambridge University Press

Gonzalez Mena J. (2008). Child, family, and community: Family-centered early care education. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Publishing Company.

Kostelnik, M., Kara,G., Soderman,A., & Whiren, A. (2011). Young children’s behaviour: Practical approaches for caregivers and teachers. (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.

MacNaughton, G., & Williams, G. (2009). Techniques for teaching young children. Choices for theory and practice. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson.

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

Wheeler, E.J. (2004). Conflict resolution in early childhood: Helping children understand and resolve conflicts. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs