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EDAC316 Positive Environments for Learning and Development

Unit rationale, description and aim

To authentically support inclusion of diverse children and promote positive behaviours it is crucial for early childhood teachers to create positive learning environments for c hildren between the ages of birth to 5 years in early childhood centres . Expectations about children’s interactions and participation within the environments provided in these centres vary, and creating an environment to suit individuals and groups of children results in holistic learning and development.

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 early childhood 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.

The aim of this unit is 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 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     Model 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     Reflect on the process of collaboration to effectively to plan, 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 systems, 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     Justify 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, A4, 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.

ACECQA Curriculum Specifications

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

A.     Child development and care

A1.  Leaning, development and care

A3.  Social and emotional development

A4   Child health, wellbeing and safety

A5.  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.     Teaching pedagogies

C1.  Alternative pedagogies and curriculum approaches

C3.  Guiding behaviour / engaging young learners

C4.  Teaching methods and strategies

C5.  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

This is a 10 credit point unit and has been designed to ensure the time needed to complete the required volume of learning is requisite to the standard and students should anticipate undertaking 150 hours of study for this unit. These hours will include engaging with the online materials, workshop/tutorial attendance (where applicable), readings, discussion forums and assignment preparation. The unit delivery will consist of core content 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 in online mode, or the equivalent in intensive mode. Students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit. 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.

The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support the students’ learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, and video. These approaches to teaching and learning will scaffold learning outcomes from theoretical perspectives through readings and discussion, and then to practical opportunities through workshops and webinars to create their own learning environments, record them, and demonstrate highly effective positive environments to their peers. 

Technology Enhanced Learning

The unit will include a Learning Environment Online (LEO) site with resources and online links, announcements, and a discussion board to post questions and reflections that promote critical engagement. It may include:

  • Recorded lectures and lecture notes; tutorial notes / guides
  • Webinars, podcasts, videos
  • Reviews, guided explorations, quizzes
  • Discussion board to exchange ideas and refine learning.
  • Focussed readings addressing a wide spectrum of Arts education and practices. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

This unit includes three assessment tasks which are designed to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. Students are required to complete all three assessment tasks. The first assessment task asks students to work collaboratively (LO2) to demonstrate understanding of the unit literature, theory and curriculum documents. This is the only assessment item to assess LO2 so assessment item 1 must achieve a mark of 50% or more to pass the unit. The remaining two items scaffold from the theory and curriculum into a critical analysis of the issues relating to creating positive environments to foster learning and development.

On completion of their studies students should have developed their understanding of theories to create environments which support positive behaviours. Whilst reviewing the positive behaviour support framework, students will gain an appreciation that there are multiple considerations when supporting behaviour in children.

Minimum Achievement Standards

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

In order to pass this unit, students are required to submit all assessment tasks, meet the learning outcomes of the unit and achieve a minimum overall passing grade of 50%.

Electronic Submission, Marking and Return

Assessment tasks are to be submitted to Turnitin. Assessments will be marked and returned via Turnitin in accordance with University assessment policy. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1:


Students work together to present elements of a positive environment to support learning and development for specified groups including 0-2 years or 3 - 5 years. 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

Make connections with theoretical perspectives and curriculum documents. Individually reflect on the collaborative process and its role in the development of  professional practice.


LO1, LO2, LO3

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 and justify these to discuss and critically reflect on ways teachers may connect theory and practice to construct positive environments for learning and development.

Part A - 40%

LO3, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA9

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.

Part B - 25%

LO1, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA9

Representative texts and references

Arthur, L., Beecher, B., Death, E., Dockett, S., & Farmer, S. (2017). Programming and planning in early childhood settings (7th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia.

Brunsek, A., Perlman, M., Falenchuk, O., McMullen, E., Fletcher, B., & Shah, P. (2017). The relationship between the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale and its revised form and child outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysisPLoS One, 12(6), 178-512.

Bullard. J. (2017). Creating environments for learning: Birth to age eight (3rd ed.). Sydney: Pearson.

Churchill, R. et al. (2018). Teaching: Making a difference (4th ed.). Milton, Qld: John Wiley and Sons.

Ewing, R., Kervin, L., Glass, C., Gobby, B., Le Cornu, R., & Groundwater-Smith, S. (2019). Teaching : Dilemmas, challenges and opportunities (6th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia.

Johnson, L. (2019). Going to scale: Exploring implementation of positive behaviour intervention and supports within and across different types of early childhood programmes. Early Child Development and Care, 189(4), 523-540.

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

Knauf, H. (2019). Visual environmental scale: Analysing the early childhood education environment. Early Childhood Education Journal, 47(1), 43-51.

Little, H., Elliott, S., & Wyver, S. (2017). Outdoor learning environments : Spaces for exploration, discovery and risk-taking in the early years. Sydney: Allen and UnwinPorter, L. (2016). Young children’s behaviour: Guidance approaches for early childhood educators (4th ed.). Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

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