Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Recent understandings of childhood increasingly recognize the competencies of the young child and the importance of the first three years of life for subsequent learning and well-being. This unit 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 aims to enable pre-service teachers to examine contemporary approaches to the play, wellbeing, responsive care, development and learning of infants and toddlers and their application in early childhood education and care.

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

LO2 - utilise current curriculum frameworks, theories and research of early development and learning, and neuroscience in the analysis of and response to socio-cultural diversity, individual and family differences (GA1, GA5; APST 1.3, 1.4, 1.5; ACECQA A1, A4, C5)

LO3 - design an 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 and communities (GA1, GA4; APST 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.7; ACECQ A1, A4, C5)

LO4 - implement a range of resources and strategies that promote positive relationships to support inclusion and transitions with/between infants and toddlers and their families (GA5; APST 7.1, 7.3; ACECQA D1, D4)

Graduate attributes

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

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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


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. 

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.

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

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


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

A. Psychology and child development

A1.  Learning, development and care

A4.  Child health

C. Early childhood pedagogies

C2. Play-based pedagogies

C5. Catering to children with diverse needs and backgrounds

D. Families and community partnerships

D1.  Developing family and community partnerships

D4.  Socially inclusive practice


  • 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.

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: Workshops, seminars, lectures, site visits and online support and investigation are approaches that will be used.


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 4,000 words

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment task 1:

Students will undertake a literature review of relevant research and scholarship


LO1, LO2


Assessment Task 2

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

Representative texts and references

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (2009). Belonging, being & becoming: The early years learning framework for Australia. Canberra, ACT: Commonwealth of Australia.

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (2010). Educators Belonging, Being & Becoming. Educators’ Guide to the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. ACT: Commonwealth of Australia.

Gonzalez-Mena, J., & Eyer, D. W. (2012). Infants, toddlers, and caregivers: A curriculum of respectful, responsive, relationship-based care and education (9th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Greenman, J., Stonehouse, A., & Schweikert, G. (2008). Prime times: A handbook for excellence in infant and toddler programs (2nd ed.). St Paul, MN: Redleaf Press.

Johnson, J., A. (2010). Babies in the rain. Promoting play, exploration, and discovery with infants and toddlers. St Paul, MN: Redleaf Press.

Makin, L., & Spedding, S. (2012). Learning literacies birth to three: Positive approaches for early childhood educators. Baulkham Hills, NSW: Pademelon Press.

Page, J., Clare A., & Nutbrown, C. (2013). Working with babies and children from birth to three (2nd ed.). London: Sage.

Oates, J., Karmiloff-Smith, A., & Johnson, M.H. (Eds.). (2012). Developing brains. Early Childhood in Focus (7). UK: Open University Press.

Sims, M., & Hutchins, T. (2013). Program planning for infants and toddlers: In search of relationships (2nd revised ed.). Mt Victoria, NSW: Pademelon Press.

Stonehouse, A. (2011). The more you know, the more you see. Babies' and toddlers' learning and the EYLF. Research in Practice Series (18) 3. Watson ACT: Early Childhood Australia.

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