As a large for-purpose Early Childhood education provider, ECMS facilitates the sharing of ideas and discussion about what matters most in early childhood education so that children can experience strong early learning outcomes and a successful transition to school.

What is pedagogy?

As we begin exploring the language of Early Childhood Education used in this blog, the term pedagogy features throughout. Pedagogy simply means the theories, research and ways of teaching that result in the best learning for children from birth to 5 years of age. It describes the professional knowledge, practices, and creativity that educators use to make judgements in setting individual child learning goals and to foster and nurture children’s learning, development, well-being, and love of learning. You can find a Glossary of Terms here. 

Our pedagogy in practice

At ECMS, the place in which a child learns and grows and who else is with them in their learning is important to us. 

Place-Based and Relational Pedagogy

We know that every person comes from someplace and that someplace matters in the context of who they are and the relationships they are in (NSCDC, 2023). It’s here within Place-Based and Relational Pedagogy that we begin with and anchor ourselves in to underpin all practice and pedagogy at ECMS.

The importance of relationships

Relationships sit at the heart of Early Childhood Education (ECE), and it is our work in the nest of these relationships that has us committed to making sure our practice and pedagogy reflect how vital relationships are (AGDE, 2022).  
Research tells us that when we afford children opportunities within meaningful interactions to feel seen and heard truly, magic happens (ACECQA, 2016). The magic of learning in safe places and spaces where they can be themselves, knowing that the exploratory nature of learning through play in the early years will be fostered in a way that honours the whole child. (Cooper et al. 2017). At ECMS, knowing a child’s interests, abilities, skills, and existing knowledge is vital to a quality relationship.

Learning through play

Learning at ECMS happens through play. Play is it! Throughout the world, play shapes child development in a way no other method can. Shared and sustained playful experiences (Siraj-Blatchford, 2009) for young children have the potential to meet children ‘where they are’ and provide the conditions for a love of learning. Our teachers are experts in child development theories and prior to school curriculum delivery. They guide children’s learning based on what they already know and can do while introducing opportunities through play to stretch and grow children’s skills and knowledge. Skills and knowledge growth are planned, and teachers assess learning to ensure children have the foundation skills to transition to school well and be lifelong learners.  

Relational Pedagogy in Action

The joy and delight of meeting children, and therefore their families, ‘where they are’ and creating environments where ‘being with’ people in our Early Childhood settings are prioritised ensures we create endless opportunities for lifelong learning.  

What does meeting children and families ‘where they are’ look like? 

  • Working in relationship, together 
  • Being respectful and responsive to the needs that are showing up 
  • Curiosity and staying curious that little bit longer 
  • A program that each child and family can see and feel themselves in
  • Where place and local context shine 
  • Warmth, delight and joy in the magic of childhood 
  • Celebrations of moments in time that matter 

These practices are relational pedagogy in action! The Early Years Learning Framework v2 (EYLF) (which all ECE services must deliver in their programs) describes this as “the ways in which educators build trusting, respectful relationships between children, families, other educators and professionals, as well as members of the community” (AGDE, 2022). 

The importance of place

Recognising that relationships matter includes more than just the relationships between people. It is also the relationship of place. The importance of place at ECMS means that we honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives and their connection to this land, this place. The latest version of the EYLF leaves us to think about ways in which we privilege “relationships and continual connections to Country and community” (p16 AGDE, 2022).

As an organisation providing Early Childhood Education, we have a responsibility to “seek out ways in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Western knowledge systems work side by side” (p17 AGDE, 2022). 
To achieve this, our teachers, educators and leaders at ECMS are pedagogical thinkers who weave professional knowledge, practices and creativity to intentionally foster and nurture children’s learning, development and well-being (AGDE, 2022). 

In conclusion

Relationships and ensuring children know ‘who they are’ and ‘where they are’ provide the golden thread of place, and at ECMS, that is important to us.  
We know that every person comes from some place, and that some place matters (NSCDC, 2023).