Early Years Learning Framework

5.0 Children are effective communicators
Communication is crucial to belonging, being and becoming.

From birth children communicate with others using gestures, sounds, language and assisted communication. They are social beings who are intrinsically motivated to exchange ideas, thoughts, questions and feelings, and to use a range of tools and media, including music, dance and drama, to express themselves, connect with others and extend their learning.

Children’s use of their home languages underpins their sense of identity and their conceptual development. Children feel a sense of belonging when their language, interaction styles and ways of communicating are valued. They have the right to be continuing users of their home language as well as to develop competency in Standard Australian English.

Literacy and numeracy capabilities are important aspects of communication and are vital for successful learning across the curriculum.

Literacy is the capacity, confidence and disposition to use language in all its forms. Literacy incorporates a range of modes of communication including music, movement, dance, story telling, visual arts, media and drama, as well as talking, listening, viewing, reading and writing. Contemporary texts include electronic and print based media. In an increasingly technological world, the ability to critically analyse texts is a key component of literacy. Children benefit from opportunities to explore their world using technologies and to develop confi dence in using digital media.

Numeracy is the capacity, confi dence and disposition to use mathematics in daily life. Children bring new mathematical understandings through engaging with problem solving. It is essential that the mathematical ideas with which young children interact are relevant and meaningful in the context of their current lives. Educators require a rich mathematical vocabulary to accurately describe and explain children’s mathematical ideas and to support numeracy development. Spatial sense, structure and pattern, number, measurement, data argumentation, connections and exploring the world mathematically are the powerful mathematical ideas children need to become numerate.

Experiences in early childhood settings build on the range of experiences with language, literacy and numeracy that children have within their families and communities.

Positive attitudes and competencies in literacy and numeracy are essential for children’s successful learning. The foundations for these competencies are built in early childhood.

5.1 Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes

This is evident, for example, when children:

  • engage in enjoyable interactions using verbal and non-verbal language convey and construct messages with purpose and confidence, building on home/family and community literacies respond verbally and non-verbally to what they see, hear, touch, feel and taste use language and representations from play, music and art to share and project meaning contribute their ideas and experiences in play, small and large group discussions attend and give cultural cues that they are listening to and understanding what is said to them are independent communicators who initiate Standard Australian English and home language conversations and demonstrate the ability to meet the listeners’ needs interact with others to explore ideas and concepts, clarify and challenge thinking, negotiate and share new understandings convey and construct messages with purpose and confidence, building on literacies of home/family and the broader community exchange ideas, feelings and understandings using language and representations in play demonstrate an increasing understanding of measurement and number using vocabulary to describe size, length, volume, capacity and names of numbers express ideas and feelings and understand and respect the perspectives of others use language to communicate thinking about quantities to describe attributes of objects and collections, and to explain mathematical ideas show increasing knowledge, understanding and skill in conveying meaning in at least one language

Educators promote this learning, for example, when they:

  • engage in enjoyable interactions with babies as they make and play with sounds are attuned and respond sensitively and appropriately to children’s efforts to communicate listen to and respond to children’s approximations of words value children’s linguistic heritage and with family and community members encourage the use of and acquisition of home languages and Standard Australian English recognise that children enter early childhood programs having begun to communicate and make sense of their experiences at home and in their communities model language and encourage children to express themselves through language in a range of contexts and for a range of purposes engage in sustained communication with children about ideas and experiences, and extend their vocabulary include real-life resources to promote children’s use of mathematical language

5.2 Children engage with a range of texts and gain meaning from these texts

This is evident, for example, when children:

  • listen and respond to sounds and patterns in speech, stories and rhymes in context view and listen to printed, visual and multimedia texts and respond with relevant gestures, actions, comments and/or questions sing and chant rhymes, jingles and songs take on roles of literacy and numeracy users in their play begin to understand key literacy and numeracy concepts and processes, such as the sounds of language, letter-sound relationships, concepts of print and the ways that texts are structured explore texts from a range of different perspectives and begin to analyse the meanings actively use, engage with and share the enjoyment of language and texts in a range of ways recognise and engage with written and oral culturally constructed texts

Educators promote this learning, for example, when they:

  • read and share a range of books and other texts with children provide a literacy-enriched environment including display print in home languages and Standard Australian English sing and chant rhymes, jingles and songs engage children in play with words and sounds talk explicitly about concepts such as rhyme and letters and sounds when sharing texts with children incorporate familiar family and community texts and tell stories join in children’s play and engage children in conversations about the meanings of images and print engage children in discussions about books and other texts that promote consideration of diverse perspectives support children to analyse ways in which texts are constructed to present particular views and to sell products teach art as language and how artists can use the elements and principles to construct visual/musical/dance/media texts provide opportunities for children to engage with familiar and unfamiliar culturally constructed text.

5.3 Children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media

This is evident, for example, when children:

  • use language and engage in play to imagine and create roles, scripts and ideas share the stories and symbols of their own culture and re-enact well-known stories use the creative arts such as drawing, painting, sculpture, drama, dance, movement, music and storytelling to express ideas and make meaning experiment with ways of expressing ideas and meaning using a range of media begin to use images and approximations of letters and words to convey meaning

Educators promote this learning, for example, when they:

  • build on children’s family and community experiences with creative and expressive arts provide a range of resources that enable children to express meaning using visual arts, dance, drama and music ask and answer questions during the reading or discussion of books and other texts provide resources that encourage children to experiment with images and print teach children skills and techniques that will enhance their capacity for self-expression and communication join in children’s play and co-construct materials such as signs that extend the play and enhance literacy learning respond to children’s images and symbols, talking about the elements, principles, skills and techniques they have used in order to convey meaning

5.4 Children begin to understand how symbols and pattern systems work

This is evident, for example, when children:

  • use symbols in play to represent and make meaning begin to make connections between and see patterns in their feelings, ideas, words and actions and those of others notice and predict the patterns of regular routines and the passing of time develop an understanding that symbols are a powerful means of communication and that ideas, thoughts and concepts can be represented through them begin to be aware of the relationships between oral, written and visual representations begin to recognise patterns and relationships and the connections between them begin to sort, categorise, order and compare collections and events and attributes of objects and materials, in their social and natural worlds listen and respond to sounds and patterns in speech, stories and rhyme draw on memory of a sequence to complete a task draw on their experiences in constructing meaning using symbols

Educators promote this learning, for example, when they:

  • draw children’s attention to symbols and patterns in their environment and talk about patterns and relationships, including the relationship between letters and sounds provide children with access to a wide range of everyday materials that they can use to create patterns and to sort, categorise, order and compare engage children in discussions about symbol systems, for example, letters, numbers, time, money and musical notation encourage children to develop their own symbol systems and provide them with opportunities to explore culturally constructed symbol systems

5.5 Children use information and communication technologies to access information, investigate ideas and represent their thinking

This is evident, for example, when children:

  • identify the uses of technologies in everyday life and use real or imaginary technologies as props in their play use information and communication technologies to access images and information, explore diverse perspectives and make sense of their world use information and communication technologies as tools for designing, drawing, editing, reflecting and composing engage with technology for fun and to make meaning

Educators promote this learning, for example, when they:

  • provide children with access to a range of technologies integrate technologies into children’s play experiences and projects teach skills and techniques and encourage children to use technologies to explore new information and represent their ideas encourage collaborative learning about and through technologies between children, and children and educators