Early Years Learning Framework

3.0 Children have a strong sense of wellbeing
Wellbeing incorporates both physical and psychological aspects and is central to belonging, being and becoming.

Without a strong sense of wellbeing it is difficult to have a sense of belonging, to trust others and feel confident in being, and to optimistically engage in experiences that contribute to becoming.

Wellbeing includes good physical health, feelings of happiness, satisfaction and successful social functioning. It influences the way children interact in their environments. A strong sense of wellbeing provides children with confidence and optimism which maximise their learning potential. It encourages the development of children’s innate exploratory drive, a sense of agency and a desire to interact with responsive others.

Wellbeing is correlated with resilience, providing children with the capacity to cope with day-to day stress and challenges. The readiness to persevere when faced with unfamiliar and challenging learning situations creates the opportunity for success and achievement.

Children’s learning and physical development is evident through their movement patterns from physical dependence and reflex actions at birth, to the integration of sensory, motor and cognitive systems for organised, controlled physical activity for both purpose and enjoyment.

Children’s wellbeing can be affected by all their experiences within and outside of their early childhood settings. To support children’s learning, it is essential that educators attend to children’s wellbeing by providing warm, trusting relationships, predictable and safe environments, affirmation and respect for all aspects of their physical, emotional, social, cognitive, linguistic, creative and spiritual being. By acknowledging each child’s cultural and social identity, and responding sensitively to their emotional states, educators build children’s confidence, sense of wellbeing and willingness to engage in learning.

Children’s developing resilience and their ability to take increasing responsibility for self-help and basic health routines promote a sense of independence and confidence. As they experience being cared for by educators and others, they become aware of the importance of living and learning interdependently with others.

Learning about healthy lifestyles, including nutrition, personal hygiene, physical fitness, emotions and social relationships is integral to wellbeing and self-confidence. Physical wellbeing contributes to children’s ability to concentrate, cooperate and learn.

As children become more independent they can take greater responsibility for their health, hygiene and personal care and become mindful of their own and others’ safety. Routines provide opportunities for children to learn about health and safety. Good nutrition is essential to healthy living and enables children to be active participants in play.

Early childhood settings provide many opportunities for children to experience a range of healthy foods and to learn about food choices from educators and other children. Physical activity and attention to fine and gross motor skills provide children with the foundations for their growing independence and satisfaction in being able to do things for themselves.

3.1 Children become strong in their social and emotional wellbeing

This is evident, for example, when children:

  • demonstrate trust and confidence
  • remain accessible to others at times of distress, confusion and frustration
  • share humour, happiness and satisfaction
  • seek out and accept new challenges, make new discoveries, and celebrate their own efforts and achievements and those of others
  • increasingly co-operate and work collaboratively with others
  • enjoy moments of solitude
  • recognise their individual achievement
  • make choices, accept challenges, take considered risks, manage change and cope with frustrations and the unexpected
  • show an increasing capacity to understand, self-regulate and manage their emotions in ways that reflect the feelings and needs of others
  • experience and share personal successes in learning and initiate opportunities for new learning in their home languages or Standard Australian English
  • acknowledge and accept affirmation
  • assert their capabilities and independence while demonstrating increasing awareness of the needs and rights of others
  • recognise the contributions they make to shared projects and experiences

Educators promote this learning, for example, when they:

  • show genuine affection, understanding and respect for all children
  • collaborate with children to document their achievements and share their successes with their families
  • ensure that all children experience pride in their attempts and achievements
  • promote children’s sense of belonging, connectedness and wellbeing
  • challenge and support children to engage in and persevere at tasks and play
  • build upon and extend children’s ideas
  • maintain high expectations of each child’s capabilities
  • value children’s personal decision-making
  • welcome children and families sharing aspects of their culture and spiritual lives
  • talk with children about their emotions and responses to events with a view to supporting their understandings of emotional regulation and self-control
  • acknowledge and affirm children’s effort and growth
  • mediate and assist children to negotiate their rights in relation to the rights of others

3.2 Children take increasing responsibility for their own health and physical wellbeing

This is evident, for example, when children:

  • recognise and communicate their bodily needs (for example, thirst, hunger, rest, comfort, physical activity)
  • are happy, healthy, safe and connected to others
  • engage in increasingly complex sensory motor skills and movement patterns
  • combine gross and fine motor movement and balance to achieve increasingly complex patterns of activity including dance, creative movement and drama
  • use their sensory capabilities and dispositions with increasing integration, skill and purpose to explore and respond to their world
  • demonstrate spatial awareness and orient themselves, moving around and through their environments confidently and safely
  • manipulate equipment and manage tools with increasing competence and skill
  • respond through movement to traditional and contemporary music, dance and storytelling
  • show an increasing awareness of healthy lifestyles and good nutrition
  • show increasing independence and competence in personal hygiene, care and safety for themselves and others
  • show enthusiasm for participating in physical play and negotiate play spaces to ensure the safety and wellbeing of

Educators promote this learning, for example, when they:

  • plan for and participate in energetic physical activity with children, including dance, drama, movement and games
  • draw on family and community experiences and expertise to include familiar games and physical activities in play
  • provide a wide range of tools and materials to resource children’s fine and gross motor skills
  • actively support children to learn hygiene practices
  • promote continuity of children’s personal health and hygiene by sharing ownership of routines and schedules with children, families and the community
  • discuss health and safety issues with children and involve them in developing guidelines to keep the environment safe for all
  • engage children in experiences, conversations and routines that promote healthy lifestyles and good nutrition
  • consider the pace of the day within the context of the community
  • model and reinforce health, nutrition and personal hygiene practices with children
  • provide a range of active and restful experiences throughout the day and support children to make appropriate decisions regarding participation