Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit provides opportunities for pre-service teachers to analyse and respond to assumptions about childhoods, families and communities and the nature of early childhood experiences for young children. This unit enables pre-service teachers to use their knowledge of early childhood education to critically analysis philosophical, historical and contemporary perspectives and theories as they apply to the Australian and international early childhood context. Multiple perspectives informing teaching, including cross-cultural factors, will be considered in relation to children’s play and learning. The roles, responsibilities and, professional and ethical attributes of early childhood teachers will be critiqued. Concepts, theories and skills in this unit will be developed at an advanced level and opportunities for integration of theoretical and practical knowledge will be provided.

This unit aims to assist pre-service teachers to use their knowledge to investigate identities of young children and develop the capacity to critically reflect on practices of advocacy and curriculum decision making in early childhood education and care 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 - critically reflect on assumptions about childhoods, families and communities from a range of historical and contemporary perspectives (GA1, GA4; APST 1.1; ACECQA C7, D1, E1)

LO2 - analyse how significant theories, models, and themes have influenced diverse images of children, childhoods and early childhood education and care (ECEC) (GA4, GA8; APST 1.1, 1.2, 1.4; ACECQA C1, C5, D5, E1, E2)

LO3 - evaluate the continuing effect of a range of social, cultural and political contexts (including advances in ICT) on children, families and ECEC programs and services; (GA4, GA5; APST 1.3; ACECQA B9, C7, D1, D4, E1, E2)

LO4 - identify and analyse the social and cultural influences that might shape the identities of young children and the implications for pedagogical practices in ECEC (GA1, GA8; ACECQA C1, C2, C7, D4)

LO5 - examine how ECEC settings operate and examine the place of children’s voice, agency and power, and the professional and ethical roles and responsibilities of early childhood teachers in these contexts. (GA1, GA4, GA5; APST 7.1; ACECQA B9, C7, E2, E3, F3, F4).

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 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


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.

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:

B. Education and curriculum studies 

B9. Curriculum planning, programming and evaluation

C. Early childhood pedagogies          

C1. Alternative pedagogies and curriculum approaches

C2. Play based pedagogies

C5. Catering to children with diverse needs and backgrounds

C7. Contemporary society and pedagogy

D. Families and community partnerships      

D1. Developing family and community partnerships

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

F. Early childhood professional practice       

F3.  Identity

F4.  Development advocacy


Topics will include:

  • Philosophy of contemporary ECEC
  • Ethical and professional codes of conduct.
  • Advocacy on behalf of the child, the family and the field of ECEC
  • Professional attributes, roles and responsibilities of the early childhood teacher
  • Political, economic, cultural and social factors in relation to children, families and ECEC
  • Philosophical, historical and contemporary perspectives and theories (e.g. Comenius, Locke, Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Froebel, Montessori, Steiner, Isaacs, Dewey, High Scope, Reggio Emilia)
  • Multiple perspectives on young children’s learning and development in a diverse world
  • Teaching/pedagogical practices and play as a teaching and learning tool
  • Ecologies of childhood: past, present and future perspectives
  • The changing nature of Australian families
  • Images of childhood and views of children
  • Social and cultural influences on children’s play and learning (toys, games, stories, songs)
  • Education for the Information Age: ICT and pedagogy
  • Multimedia and children and childhood

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 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 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

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.

The total of assessment tasks will amount to the equivalent of4,000 words.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1:

Students will design an interview schedule of questions that explores childhood experiences and influences upon these experiences. The students will respond to the interview questions themselves, and then interview one other person using the same interview questions. The interviews will be transcribed. Students will compare, contrast and analyse the two transcripts in light of historical and contemporary perspectives of and societal influences upon children and childhoods.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA8

Assessment Task 2:

Situational analysis - situating professional experience placements. Students will investigate and collect information on the community surrounding their professional experience placement. This information will be used to complete a situational analysis of the surrounding community which will then be used to reflect upon how this impacts upon/is reflected in their professional experience placement. Particular emphasis will be placed upon the images of childhood and families available in the surrounding community and how this does or does not reflect the children and families at the professional experience placement. Students will be required to consider their role as an educator in ensuring positive images of children and families are portrayed in their professional experience placement and in the surrounding community.


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Arthur, L., Beecher, B., Death, E., Dockett, S., & Farmer, S. (2012). Programming and planning in early childhood settings (5th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage.

Bowes, J., Grace, R., & Hodge, K. (Eds.). (2013). Children, families and communities. Contexts and consequences (4th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Dahlberg, G., Moss, A., & Pence, A. (2007). Beyond quality in early childhood education and care. Languages of evaluation (2nd ed.). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Fleer, M. (2013). Play in the early years. Port Melbourne, Vic: Cambridge University Press.

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

Grieshaber, S., & McArdle, F. (2010). The trouble with play. Maidenhead, England: Open University Press

Jones, P. (2009). Rethinking childhood. Attitudes in contemporary society. London: Continuum.

Krogh, S.L., & Slentz, K.L. (2011). Early childhood education: Yesterday, today and tomorrow (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.

Robinson, K.H., & Jones Diaz, C. (2006). Diversity and difference in early childhood education: Issues for theory and practice. New York: Open University Press

Wood, E. (Ed.). (2008). The Routledge reader in early childhood education. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge

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