JamieThe Early Years Learning Framework  (EYLF) is a national learning framework for children from birth to 5 years. It is part of the Council of Australia Government’s (COAG) reform agenda for Early Childhood Education and Care and a key component of the Australian Government’s National Quality Agenda. The EYLF has been developed collaboratively by the Australian, State and Territory Governments with substantial input from the early childhood sector and early childhood academics. It will underpin universal access to Early Childhood Education and be incorporated in the National Quality Standard to ensure delivery of nationally consistent and quality early childhood programs across the country.

The Early Years Learning Framework describes the principles, practices and outcomes which enhance young children’s learning from birth to five years of age, as well as their transition to school. It has strong emphasis on play based learning, as play is the best  vehicle for young children’s learning, providing the most stimulus for brain development. The Framework also recognises the importance of communication, language ( including early literacy and numeracy), social and emotional development. It will be used in partnership with families, children’s ideas, interests, strengths and abilities, and recognise that children learn through play.

The Early Years Learning Framework describes childhood as a time of belonging, being and becoming:

  • Belonging is the basis for living a fulfilling life. Children feel they belong because of the relationship they have with their family, community, culture and place.
  • Being is about living here and now. Childhhood is a special time in life and children need time to just ‘be’ – time to play, try new things and have fun.
  • Becoming is about the learning and development that young children experience. Children start to form their sense of identity from an early age which shapes the type of adult they will become.

The five learning outcomes of the EYLF are designed to capture the integrated and complex learning and development of all children from birth to five years.


* Children have a strong sense of identity.

This outcome focuses on how children feel about themselves. When children feel safe and secure they gain in self confidence and so are more willing to explore their environment and learn.

* Children are connected with and contribute to their world.

This outcome is about relationships and connectedness. Children learn ways of being with others – a connectedness that reflects the values and traditions of the community they live in.

* Children have a strong sense of wellbeing.

It is difficult to trust others and to engage in learning if one does not feel good about oneself.

Educators have a significant role to play in establishing warm, supportive, responsive and stable environments where children feel both welcomed and safe.

* Children are confident and involved learners.

When children feel confident, they are more likely to try out new things and develop new  understandings – to ask questions, solve problems and investigate. This outcome also looks  at ways children develop their attitude and disposition for learning.

* Children are effective communicators.

This outcome identifies ways children communicate with others – including literacy and numeracy capabilities, engagement with products, processes and systems that are part of our daily living. Communication can be in various forms – through music, dance, movement, storytelling and the arts.

For further information and explanation, The Parents’ Guide to the Early Years Learning Framework has been translated into a number of community languages and is available from the Early Childhood section of the Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations website.



As from January 1st 2012 the National Quality Framework will put in place compulsory National Quality Standards to ensure high quality and consistent early childhood education and care across Australia.

The NQS is divided into 7 quality areas:

  • Educational program and practice
  • Children’s health and safety
  • Physical environment
  • Staffing arrangements
  • Relationships with children
  • Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
  • Leadership and service management

The standards consists of guiding principles, quality areas, standards and elements.  The NQS sets out what constitutes quality outcomes in the provision of an education and care service.  Services need to assess themselves and will be assessed against the Standard.