Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit focuses on extending pre-service teachers’ knowledge of high quality early childhood programs that support young children’s learning and development. The unit critically examines the principles and perspectives underpinning contemporary early childhood play based learning and early childhood pedagogical practices that are responsive to diverse language, cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds. Pedagogical practices that actively engage children in play and other worthwhile contexts for learning and teaching are critically considered from multiple perspectives. These perspectives include the broader ecological, social and cultural contexts of teaching; the safety, health and well-being of young children; the diversity of experiences; continuities and transitions; the relationships that shape young children’s lives; and the nature and needs of young learners.  Concepts and skills introduced in this unit will be implemented during guided field experiences and the block practicum in a setting for children birth-2 years.

The aim of this is to assist pre-service teachers to explore a range of theoretical and curriculum frameworks and examine how these frameworks inform content and processes that support learning in early childhood settings.

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 - Engage with and critically reflect on assumptions about quality early childhood curriculum, taking into account issues associated with safety, health, well-being, and identify the professional and ethical dimensions of curriculum decision-making in the early years of education (GA3, GA4; APST 1.5, 3.6, 7.1; ACECQA A1, A4, A5, B1, B8, B9, C1, C2, C4, E3)

LO2 - Critically examine ways to set inclusive and responsive learning goals and build continuities across educational contexts, through curriculum, pedagogy and transition processes. (GA3, GA4; APST 3.1, 3.2, 3.3; ACECQA A8, B1, B9, C1, C2, C4)

LO3 - Plan and evaluate indoor and outdoor experiences that enable intentional teaching and critically reflect on the role of environments in promoting active engagement and inclusive participation in learning and that support the health and well-being of young children (GA5, GA7, GA9; APST 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 5.1; ACECQA A1, A4, A5, B8, C1, C2, C4, C5, C6)

LO4 - Create and critically evaluate a range of experiences (including play-based experiences) that support young children’s learning and development, in ways that are responsive to diverse abilities, and diverse language, cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds (GA4, GA5, GA7; APST 1.5, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.4; ACECQA A1, A2, C1, C2, C4, C5, C6)

LO5 - Demonstrate effective communication and professional skills that include capacity for reflection, collaboration and appropriate academic skills, and responsible and appropriate use of ICT (GA7, GA9; APST 3.5; ACECQA B3)

Graduate attributes

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 

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:

1.5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. 

2.3 Use curriculum, assessment and reporting knowledge to design learning sequences and lesson plans.

2.4 Demonstrate broad knowledge of, understanding of, and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages.

3.1 Set learning goals that provide achievable challenges for students of varying abilities and characteristics.

3.2 Plan lesson sequences using knowledge of student learning, content and effective teaching strategies.

3.3 Include a range of teaching strategies.

3.4 Demonstrate knowledge of a range of resources, including ICT, that engage students in their learning.

3.5 Demonstrate a range of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to support student engagement.

3.6 Demonstrate broad knowledge of strategies that can be used to evaluate teaching programs to improve student learning.

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

5.1 Demonstrate understanding of assessment strategies, including informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative approaches to assess student learning.

7.1 Understand and apply the key principles described in codes of ethics and conduct for the teaching profession.


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

A. Psychology and child development           

A1. Leaning, development and care

A2. Language development

A4. Child health

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

B3. Numeracy, science and technology

B8. Physical and health education

B9. Curriculum planning, programming and evaluation

C. Early childhood pedagogies          

C1. Alternative pedagogies and curriculum approaches

C2. Play-based pedagogies

C4. Teaching methods and strategies

C5. Catering to children with diverse needs and backgrounds

C6. Working with children who speak languages other than English

E. History and philosophy of early childhood

E3. Ethics and professional practice


Topics will include:

  • Ethics and professional responsibilities; professional reflection
  • Inclusive practice that is responsive to diverse abilities, and diverse language, cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds
  • The evolving and dynamic nature of early childhood curriculum
  • Contemporary early childhood curriculum theories; trends; issues,
  • Principles, practices and theoretical perspectives of a range of curriculum and policy documents.
  • Continuities and transitions between a range of settings – home, early learning settings, non-compulsory and compulsory years of school,
  • Health and well-being of young children

Understanding children as competent and capable learners (birth – 5 years) taking into account a range of historical, traditional and contemporary theories of learning in early childhood education, curriculum and pedagogy

  • Local, national and international curriculum frameworks, documents and policies
  • Curriculum planning and decision-making, observation/ assessment, planning, implementation and reflective evaluation, and reporting
  • A range of pedagogical practices – including play-based learning which is supported by intentional teaching.
  • The use of ICTs across the curriculum
  • Establishment and maintenance of flexible learning and teaching environments (Indoor, outdoor, emotional and temporal)

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 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

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. Such procedures may include, but are not limited to, essays, reports, examinations, student presentations or case studies.

Minimum Achievement Standards

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1:

Group task: Design and plan a daily routine for a birth to 5 year setting. Demonstrate the following aspects within this planned routine:

1.  Issues related to safety, health, wellbeing, and diversity

2.  Professional and ethical decisions made by educators

3.  Issues of observation, assessment and reporting in the planning process

4.  Appropriate incorporation of both indoor and outdoor environments to promote active and inclusive learning, and show opportunities for intentional teaching

Equivalent to 1,000 words


LO1, LO3, LO4

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA9

Assessment Task 2:

Practical Task and critical analysis: Play-based resource or learning experience

Identify a broad understanding of children’s developmental trajectory and learning through planning, designing and demonstrating a play-based learning and teaching resource. The resource will be presented in two versions which are appropriate for two different age ranges (e.g. 12-18 months and 3-4). The resource must be reflective of and responsive to diversity of children’s contexts and experiences. The demonstration and critical analysis must show how it will be used to support learning and teaching, articulate links to key principles and practices of relevant curriculum frameworks, and show how it will support play-based learning.

Equivalent to 1,200 words and artefact to be presented.


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA9

Assessment Task 3

Reflective Essay

1800 words

Students are required to draw on literature and all key elements of this unit to demonstrate a broad and critical understanding of early childhood curriculum and pedagogy, along with the principles and perspectives underpinning contemporary approaches. This will include culminating statement of professional philosophy (300 words).


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA9

Representative texts and references

Catron, C. E., & Allen, J. (2008). Early childhood curriculum. A creative-play model (4th ed.). New York: Pearson.

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

Fleer, M., Edwards, S., Hammer, M., Kennedy, A., Ridgway, A., Robbins, J., & Surman, L. (2006). Early childhood learning communities: Socio-cultural research in practice. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson.

Fraser, S. (2006). Authentic childhood: Exploring Reggio Emilia in the classroom. Albany, NY: Delmar Thomas Learning.

Gordon, A.M., & Williams-Browne, K. (2013). Beginnings and beyond: Foundations in early childhood education (9th ed.) Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

MacNaughton, G., & Williams, G. (2009). Techniques for teaching young children: Choices in theory and practice (3rd ed.). Melbourne: Longman.

McLachlan, C., Fleer, M., & Edwards, S. (2013). Early childhood curriculum: Planning, assessment and implementation (2nd ed.). Port Melbourne, Vic: Cambridge University Press

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