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EDFD315 Infant and Toddler Studies

Unit rationale, description and aim

Includes: 5 days placement Birth to 35 months 

Recent understandings of childhood increasingly recognise the competencies of the young child and the importance of the first three years of life for subsequent learning and well-being. This unit examines contemporary approaches to the play, wellbeing, responsive care, development and learning of infants and toddlers and their application in early childhood education and care. It is informed by current curriculum frameworks, theories, philosophies, neuroscience, and research which describe and explain early development and learning through the lens of socio-cultural diversity, inclusivity, individual and family differences. The unit takes a particular focus on relationships within the context of homes, communities and centre-based care in the current Australian context. 

This unit builds the pre-service teacher’s professional knowledge of and skills related to the role educators play in provision of high-quality early learning experiences, particularly in relation to children aged birth to two. Emphasis will be given to experiences that promote and support young children’s well-being, development and educational outcomes. These skills will include understanding and guiding behaviours, implementing responsive care strategies, planning for, implementing and evaluating play and learning experiences that are responsive to children in a range of socio-cultural contexts. The unit will focus on the complexities of pedagogical practices, building collaborative relationships, documentation, curriculum decision-making, and teaching strategies that inform high quality learning environments. These practices will be informed by relevant national and state curriculum frameworks and professional, legal and ethics obligations. The unit enables engagement with early childhood centre operations, management and service delivery, and provides opportunities for professional interactions with a range of professionals working with children under two and their families. 

This unit includes an early childhood workplace immersion experience where pre-service teachers will examine the nexus between theory and practice by knowing, doing and being in the context. The supervised and assessed placement will consist of 5 days in an early childhood setting for children aged from Birth to 35 months. 

The aim of this unit is to build pre-service teachers’ professional knowledge as well as allow them to practice their knowledge and skills in early childhood contexts for children aged birth to 35 months.

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 - analyse contemporary approaches to the play, wellbeing, development and learning of infants and toddlers (GA4; APST 1.1, 1.2, 5.1, 5.3; ACECQA A1, B2, C2)

LO2 - utilise current curriculum frameworks, theories and research of early development, learning, and neuroscience to promote positive relationships for inclusion and transitions with/between infants and toddlers and their families (GA1, GA5; APST 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 7.1, 7.3; ACECQA A1, A4, B5, E1, E2)

LO3 - through critical observation, design a responsive and inclusive program of play, responsive care and learning experiences that support the competencies and learning dispositions of infants and toddlers and reflect diversity and difference of individuals, families, colleagues and communities (GA1, GA4; APST 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.7, 5.1, 5.3; ACECQA A1, A4, B5, B7, B8, B9) 

LO4 - demonstrate an understanding of the complex roles of early years educators and the related ethical, legal and professional responsibilities, to evaluate occupational health and safety and how it impacts upon the health and wellbeing of young children and educators (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 1.3, 4.2, 4.4, 7.1, 7.2; ACECQA A4, A5, B8, D1, E3, F2, F3)

LO5 - Complete a successful professional experience in early childhood setting supported by appropriate evidence developed across the professional experience component (details provided in Professional Experience Handbook) (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA9; APST 1.5, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 4.2, 4.4, 5.1, 5.2, 6.3, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3. 7.4; ACECQA C2, C3, C4, F3).

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 

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.

1.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching.

1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.

1.4 Demonstrate broad knowledge and understanding of the impact of culture, cultural identity and linguistic background on the education of students from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds.

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. 

2.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts, substance and structure of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area.

2.2 Organise content into an effective learning and teaching sequence.

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

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

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.

3.7 Describe a broad range of strategies for involving parents/carers in the educative process.

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

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

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

5.2 Demonstrate an understanding of the purpose of providing timely and appropriate feedback to students about their learning.

5.3  Demonstrate understanding of assessment moderation and its application to support consistent and comparable judgements of student learning

6.3  Seek and apply constructive feedback from supervisors and teachers to improve teaching practices.

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

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

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 their ability to:

A. Child development and care: 

A1 Learning, development and care 

A4 Child health, wellbeing and safety 

A5  Early intervention

B. Education and curriculum studies 

B2 The Australian curriculum 

B5 English as an additional language 

B7 Creative arts and music 

B8 Physical and health education 

B9 Curriculum planning, programming and evaluation 

C. Teaching pedagogies 

C2 Play based pedagogies 

C3 Guiding behaviour / engaging young learners 

C4 Teaching methods and strategies 

D. Family and community contexts 

D1 Developing family and community partnerships 

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 

F3 Professional identity and development 


Topics will include: 

  • Contemporary approaches to the play, wellbeing, development and learning of infants and toddlers and their application in care and education programs. 
  • Current curriculum, theories, philosophies and research of early development and learning and their application to socio-cultural diversity, individual and family differences. 
  • Theories and research in relation to positive relationships with and between infants, toddlers and their diverse families. 
  • Play, responsive care and learning experiences for infants and toddlers. 
  • Brain development research and neuroscience in the first years. 
  • Inclusion and transitions with/between infants, toddlers and their families. 
  • The ethical, legal and professional responsibilities of early childhood educators 
  • Collaborative relationships and roles in early childhood learning communities 
  • Observation, planning, curriculum decision-making and teaching strategies that are responsive to and inclusive of a range of socio-cultural contexts and children’s stages of development. 
  • Pedagogical practices to support the learning and development of children aged birth to two years 
  • Strategies and principles for establishing and maintaining effective professional relationships 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Students should anticipate undertaking 150 hours of study for this unit. 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. Students should expect to participate in a range of the following: 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 educational settings maybe 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 across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video etc. 

This unit includes an early childhood workplace immersion experience where pre-service teachers will examine the nexus between theory and practice by knowing, doing and being in the context. The supervised and assessed placement will consist of a maximum of 5 individual days in an early childhood setting for children aged from Birth to 35 months. 

Professional Experience

The professional experience placement includes 5 days placement Birth to 35 months experience, as individual days. There is also a 3-week block placement of continuous engagement. (The lecturer-in-charge may exempt students who have already completed EDCX202 from some or all of the placement days).

Recommended progression of professional experience engagement 

Single Days: Undertaken in EDEC unit: Proposed Teaching Expectations

Days 1-3

  • Observation and active participation in small group teaching; assisting the supervising teacher in the teaching and learning process, plus managing context routines
  • Observation of teachers in the learning context, their teaching and practices, management of contexts and individuals
  • Observe communication skills that the teacher and room leader use with babies, toddlers, children, parents and other staff
  • Critical reflection on pre-service teacher’s role in the education setting as participant, leader, team member, co-teacher/collaborator 

Days 4-5

  • Structured observations and small group/team teaching
  • Plan / implement and assess two sequential learning experiences per day individually or with the other pre-service teacher (if in a paired placement)
  • Managing context routines or transitions connected to sequenced learning experiences
  • Ongoing observation of teachers, room leader, and other education stakeholders (e.g. specialists, leadership teams, other teachers etc.) in the education setting, their teaching and practices, management of the learning environment, as well as the infants and toddlers
  • Continual self-reflection and evaluation
  • Negotiate with Supervising Teacher and the other pre-service teacher (if in a paired placement) your responsibilities in the first week of block.

BLOCK: Undertaken in EDET200 unit: Proposed Teaching Expectations

Weeks 1-3:

a)    Plan, prepare and implement learning experiences informed by observations that support young children’s interests

b)    Plan, prepare, implement and reflect on two learning experiences per day

c)    Take responsibility for managing some individual and whole group routines

d)    Engage in half day continuous teaching including management of transitions and whole group routines.

e)    Conduct observations of the practices of the Supervising Teacher and room leader.

f)     Reflection, self-reflection and evaluation. 

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. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1 

Critical Analysis of Literature 

Students will undertake a literature review of relevant research and scholarship. 


LO1, LO2 


Assessment Task 2 

Planning for Infants and Toddlers 

Students design and analyse an education and care program for infants and/or toddlers and relate the discussion to the relevant theories and philosophies of infant and toddler development. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8 

Hurdle Task 

Professional Experience Summative Assessment: 


In this assessment candidates are expected to demonstrate satisfactory teaching performance during their Professional Experience Program as evidenced by both practical and written work. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1,GA3, GA4, GA5, GA9 

Representative texts and references

Required text(s) 

Australian Curriculum 

Early Years Learning Framework 

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) 

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. 

Recommended references 

Ailwood, J., Boyd, W., & Theobald, M. (2016). Understanding early childhood education and care in Australia. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin. 

Clark, A. (2010). Transforming children’s spaces. Oxon, UK: Routledge. 

Ebbeck, M., & Waniganayake, M. (2010). Play in early childhood education: Learning in Diverse contexts. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press. 

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: 

Foreman, P. (2014). Inclusion in action (4th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia 

McArdle, F., Gibson, M., & Zollo, L. (2015). Being an early childhood educator: Bringing theory and practice together. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin. 

McCrea, N. L. (2015). Leading and managing early childhood settings. Inspiring people, places and practices. Port Melbourne,Vic: Cambridge University Press. 

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

Roopnarine, J. (2012). Approaches to early childhood education (6th ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Education 

Szarkowicz, D. (2006). Observations and reflections in childhood. South Melbourne, Vic: Thomson 

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