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EDFD474 Supporting Young Childrens Social Competence

Unit rationale, description and aim

A curriculum focus on the development of the whole child including social and emotional competence is central to ensuring citizens of the future who are capable of contributing to their communities.

In this unit, pre–service re–service teachers develop the capacity to promote positive social and emotional competence in young children. This provides protective factors for children and families who may experience complex social and emotional issues throughout their lifetimes and improves life outcomes for children, families, and the broader community. Knowledge and skills for engaging diverse families and communities in the learning process will be identified, with particular attention given to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. Consideration is given to sociocultural understandings enabling effective transitions for children across learning contexts, from home to early childhood settings, and to formal schooling.

This unit examines young children’s developing social and emotional competence and strategies for supporting and guiding learning. Pre–service educators will examine crucial aspects of competency in emotional literacy, empathy, resilience, friendship, communication, and interpersonal problem–solving skills. Links are made between the development of social and emotional competence and a child’s long–term well–being. Students examine methods of responding to young children’s behaviour to develop effective strategies for guiding young children’s behaviour in group settings, and alongside families. Specific reference will be made to addressing significant behaviours that require individual attention and support by both the early years setting and the family.

The aim of this unit is to build pre–service teacher’s professional knowledge, value and skills in assisting in developing young learner’s’ social and emotional competence and their long–term wellbeing in early childhood contexts.

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

LO2 - Demonstrate an informed understanding of the meaning and significance of sociocultural contexts, and the impact diverse context may have on education experiences in early childhood education and care and primary school contexts, and the implications for teaching strategies and reflect on assumptions and practices in response to definitions and understandings of challenging behaviours (GA3, GA4, GA10; APST 1.3, 4.3; ACECQA A6, A7, C3, C5, D1, D2, D5, E1, E2)

LO3 - Apply a critical awareness of educational contexts, policies and forces shaping education in Australia into utilising knowledge of child protection, protective behaviours and ethical practice when supporting young children’s social and emotional competence (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA5; APST 4.4, 7.2; ACECQA A1, A5, A6, A7, E3)

LO4 - Formulate knowledge and skills to engage diverse families and communities in partnerships that support learning and teaching processes, with particular attention given to supporting effective and authentic transitions for children as they move across and within learning contexts, and an 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 (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4; APST 3.7, 4.1, 4.4, 5.5, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4; ACECQA A3, A7, A8, C5, D1, D2, D3, D4, D5)

LO5 - 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; APST 4.1, 4.2; ACECQA A3, B1, B2, B6, C1, E1, E3, E4, E5)

Graduate attributes

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

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

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 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


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

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.

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

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.

5.5 Demonstrate understanding of a range of strategies for reporting to students and parents/carers and the purpose of keeping accurate and reliable records of student achievement.

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 

A3  Social and emotional development

A5  Early intervention

A6  Diversity, difference and inclusivity

A7  Learners with special needs / additional needs

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

B. Education and curriculum studies:

B1  Early Years Learning Framework

B2  The Australian curriculum

B6  Social and environmental education

C. Teaching pedagogies

C1  Alternative pedagogies and curriculum approaches

C3  Guiding behaviour / engaging young learners

C5  Children with diverse needs and backgrounds

D. Family and community contexts:

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:

E1  Historical and comparative perspectives

E2  Contemporary theories and practice

E3  Ethics and professional practice.


Topics will include:

  • Frameworks for analysing educational contexts using philosophical and sociological discourse
  • ECEC Philosophical, historical and contemporary perspectives and theories (e.g. Bronfenbrenner, Comenius, Locke, Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Froebel, Montessori, Steiner, Isaacs, Dewey, High Scope, Reggio Emilia)
  • Professional attributes, roles and responsibilities of the early childhood teacher
  • Political, economic, cultural and social factors in relation to children, families and ECEC
  • Multiple perspectives on young children’s learning and development in a diverse world
  • Ecologies of childhood: past, present and future perspectives
  • The changing nature of Australian families
  • Philosophical and socio-cultural impacts on curriculum (including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives)
  • Social class, gender, race and ethnicity (including perspectives which influence Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners)
  • 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 and emotional 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.
  • Including young children as participants and/or decisions-makers in matters concerning their social and emotional competence
  • Implications for pedagogy and professional practice.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Students should anticipate undertaking 150 hours of study for this unit, including engaging with the online materials, workshop/tutorial attendance (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 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. 

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

Learning investigations

  • Select a scenario from those provided
  • Use the tenets of modern and postmodern education and theories of education to analyse and critically reflect upon issues/policies in education and the significance and impact on changing the dynamics for young children and their education, considering their families and communities.
  • Identify implications for practice referring to relevant state and national curriculum frameworks (Formative)


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10

Assessment Task 2

Observe, Plan, Implement and Evaluate

 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).


LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Required text(s)

Australian Curriculum

Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority. Early Years Learning Framework

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) 

Recommended references

Fleer, M. (2018). Child development in educational settings. Cambridge University Press.

Fleer, M. (2018). Intentional teaching of cultural competence in play-based settings: a cultural-historical view. A Research in Practice Series Title. Early Childhood Australia.

Grace, R., Hodge, K., & McMahon, C. (Eds) (2017). Children, families and communities (5th ed.). Oxford University Press.

Gonzalez Mena J. (2017). Child, family, and community: Family-centered early care education (7th ed.). Merrill Publishing Company.

Kaiser, B., & Rasminsky, J. (2017). Challenging behaviour in young children: Understanding, preventing, and responding effectively (4th ed). Pearson.

Kostelnik, M. J. (2018). Guiding children's social development and learning (9th ed.). Cengage.

Linke, P. (2018). Helping children with difficult things. A research in practice. Early Childhood Australia.

LoBue, V., Pérez-Edgar, K., & Buss, K. (Eds). (2019). Handbook of emotional development. Springer International

Morris, A., & Williamson, A. (2018). Building early social and emotional relationships with infants and toddlers integrating research and practice. Springer International

Porter, L. (2016). Young children’s behaviour: Practical approaches for caregivers and teachers. Elsevier.

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