Young children have a natural curiosity about their physical, social and technological world. They have a strong desire to make sense of their world and to represent and communicate their experiences and understandings through language and various arts forms. They construct and review their understandings through interaction with others, direct and vicarious experiences and the use of their senses. Young children display increasing sophistication and control over their own learning. This is evident in their rapidly developing capacity to relate to others and to interact with their world.
It is important that learning experiences build upon each child’s understandings, skills, values and experiences. Schools should foster strong relationships with families and communities, and draw upon these relationships to provide culturally appropriate programs. Teachers take account of the young child’s continuing development, both inside and outside formal schooling.
Learning and teaching programs are built around knowledge about children’s development; their linguistic, social, emotional, aesthetic, spiritual, creative, physical and cognitive ways of knowing. They are purposeful and appropriate to the child’s current thinking, interests and ways of learning. Activities should encourage children’s autonomy, intellectual risk taking, responsibility and control of learning. Effective teachers use a variety of strategies, including explicit approaches with whole-class, small-group and individual encounters.
Children achieve the outcomes when their learning experiences enable them, through play and experimentation, to observe, manipulate and explore objects, materials, technologies, physical movement and other phenomena. They need frequent opportunities to make, build, design and draw for both utilitarian and creative purposes in both indoor and outdoor settings.
Children’s exploration of their world includes reflection on behaviours, values, language and social practices as well as physical phenomena. They are encouraged to pose personally-meaningful questions and to seek ways of answering such questions.
Young children need to discuss, describe, label, classify, communicate and represent their observations and experiences in ways which are meaningful to them. They should have appropriate opportunities to develop their control and understanding of the symbolic representations associated with written language and mathematics. These skills help children to understand their world and to achieve competence and personal satisfaction.
Experiences will typically integrate knowledge, understandings, skills, and values and attitudes across learning areas.
As the child moves through this phase of development, the teacher continues to rely on close observation and responds to the child’s emerging intellectual and social understandings.