The Australian Early Years Learning Framework: learning what?
Early childhood education and care have assumed importance in many government policy agendas. This attention is often accompanied by calls for greater accountability regarding the anticipated learning outcomes for young children. In Australia, the expected learning outcomes for children aged birth to five years are outlined in the recently published Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF). In this article, the author examines the relationship between the EYLF’s outcomes and subject area or content knowledge. The article draws from post-structural and social constructionist understandings of knowledge as unfinished, contestable and contextual. The author concludes that it is not content knowledge itself that is problematic, but it is the way the child and teacher are often positioned in relation to that knowledge that constrains the potential for effective teaching and learning in the early years. The author suggests that revisiting traditional assumptions about content knowledge extends and develops many of the ideas about teaching and learning that are identified in the EYLF, and opens up new identity positions for both children and early childhood educators.