Category Archives: Outside Angle

By early childhood expert Anne Stonehouse to the ECA Learning Hub, with a new series of thought-provoking opinion pieces – the ‘Outside angle’.

Health benefits of gardening for children

Being outside and involved in activities in the fresh air with gentle sunlight—such as gardening—is an amazing experience for many people. But did you know that gardening can also have a great effect on the development of various skills and the promotion of a healthy body for children of all ages? Here are some of […]

It’s not all about relationships — or is it?

Many discussions about quality in education and care services include at some point—often as a summary statement—the assertion that ‘in the end, it’s all about relationships’. This is likely to occur whether the topic is pedagogy, leadership, community connections, staff relationships, links with other services and professionals or family partnerships. Is this ‘throw-away line’ accurate? […]

Cultural competence: You don’t need to be an expert

I’ve visited several primary schools and early education and care services in Melbourne recently where the families have many different cultural backgrounds. Among them are refugees and asylum seekers, families who have experienced trauma and who continue to lead lives filled with uncertainty and difficulty. The conversations I had reminded me of the life-altering role […]

Documentation – what’s the point?

Over-attention to documentation continues, often seemingly with more emphasis on quantity than on quality. It would be heartening to hear of a service where practices were rated as outstanding in every respect and at every level, but the National Quality Standards rating was diminished because there wasn’t enough documentation! Many documented observations of children appear […]

Fossilised Concepts

I didn’t expect there to be links to our profession when I read an article in The Saturday Paper on ‘homegrown terrorism’! Phil Gregory, who lectures on terrorism and intelligence at Monash University, commented that when concepts become very fashionable they can ‘fossilise thought’. He added, ’When you use clichés, you stop altering paradigms. You […]

What are they thinking?

I often pass a new building on my daily walk. On several occasions I’ve seen workers painting over tags that have appeared overnight on a formerly pristine white wall. Recently, in response to a painter’s nod, I commented ‘That’s almost a fulltime job’. He replied with considerable feeling: ‘I’ve got no time for the mongrels. […]

Power to the [very young] people!

There is a lot of discussion in the media currently about frustrated and disillusioned young people joining destructive movements because they want to belong, to make a difference. Commentators speculate that they are motivated by feelings of powerlessness, wanting to have an impact. Feeling that you have little control over your life can also lead […]

The Learning Outcomes – read the small print!

Many educators record assessments of children’s learning using the headings Identity, Contribution and connection, Wellbeing, Communication and Confidence as a learner. While it definitely makes sense to use the Early Years Learning Framework and Frameworks for School Aged Care Learning Outcomes as a focus, I’m not convinced that simply repeating what’s in the Frameworks is […]

Just be!

Several shops in my neighbourhood have blackboards on the footpath with daily messages, mostly advice. One caught my eye recently and made me wonder if the writer or selector was an early childhood educator who had decided that the hospitality industry was a better career option. The sign read ‘Just be, don’t become!’ Good advice […]

Extending learning – more than activities

Element 1.2.2 Educators respond to children’s ideas and play and use intentional teaching to scaffold and extend each child’s learning. (National Quality Standard) This Element reminds educators to do more than simply notice children’s learning and congratulate them on it. When you think about extending children’s learning, what do you think about? View image | […]

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