In the early years sector practice exists largely across the disciplines of health, education and community services. This presents exciting opportunities for professionals to share and exchange knowledge so that new ideas and approaches in particular sectors can be better shared and understood by others, ensuring successful integration of services and inclusive practices when working with young children and their families. This involves using multiple perspectives and strategies, which are informed by evidence bases in all and not just some of the disciplines involved.
Early years’ professionals have an opportunity to lead practice in relation to the sharing and implementation of programs that are underpinned by the knowledge base relating to practice with young children and their families. This is a particularly important role as the relationship between health, wellbeing, children’s development and learning is currently under scrutiny. Early years professionals are in a unique position because they have the tacit knowledge to think and act in an informed inclusive way. Moreover, their capacity to lead is enhanced by engaging with professionals from other disciplines in a transdisciplinary way, that is, by moving outside the disciplines and focusing on outcomes for young children and their families. Such a process makes advocating for the early years’ knowledge base much more possible.
The seven topics located on this website aim to build leadership capacity for the early years’ sector and are offered at the professional learning level. The content of these topics uphold and strengthen the principles and practices that underpin known early childhood frameworks such as: Belonging, Being & becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (DEEWR, 2009); Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework: For All Children From Birth To Eight Years (DEECD, 2009); Kindergarten Learning Guidelines (DET, Office for Early Childhood Education and Care, 2011); The Salvation Army’s Communities for Children Kingston, Loganlea and Waterford West (Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) 2009-2012); Sense of Justice Framework (Macfarlane & Cartmel, 2008).
Macfarlane, K. and Cartmel, J. (2008) Playgrounds of learning: Valuing competence and agency in birth to three year olds, Australian Journal of Early Childhood, vol. 33, no. 2, June.
The topics provided are intended to enhance your thinking in relation to working across the early years with a focus on working in a transdisciplinary way. You will be involved in reflecting on practice and thinking critically about your role in the care and education of young children whilst at the same time considering perspectives of the other associated disciplines.
The seven topics are:
- Image of the child
- Pedagogy of listening
- Integrated practice with infants and toddlers
- Pedagogy of difference
- Social determinants of health
As the following diagram illustrates all topics are underpinned by the notion of working in a transdisciplinary way and will appeal to those wanting to think more about their own practice and leadership capacity or those working in inter-professional settings i.e. Child and Family Centres, Early Learning and Care Centres.
Each topic focuses on a specific aspect considered important to the notion that leadership exists in all facets of an organisation. It is suggested that you begin with the Leadership topic and then work your way through the remaining six topics - in any order. Each topic will build your understandings of pedagogical leadership for early years professionals and for working in inter-professional settings.