Raise the voices of those who shape generations of Australia’s youngest learners

As the new year unfurls, children eagerly embrace fresh beginnings, returning to their early learning centres with anticipation, while teachers gear up for the challenges and opportunities that the year holds. Amidst all this activity, we thought we would share some of the conversations with educators and teachers in early learning.

The Transforming Early Learning (TEL) project, a collaborative initiative between the Front Project and the Apiary, seeks to redefine who gets a say in early learning education, gathering insights from children, families, and early learning professionals to establish a high-quality system for the nation's young learners.

We came together with early learning professionals at the Bridge Road Early Learning Centre, to film a discussion on the continuously landscape of early childhood education. The conversation with Sarah Ahn, Nicoletta Tsevelekidis, Karen Turner, Grishma Manandhar, and Teresa Beehre was wide-reaching, from the impact of COVID-19, the dynamics of indoor and outdoor play in preschool programs, to the future of early learning.

The pandemic's influence on early childhood education was undeniable. These early learning professionals shared their experiences in adapting to the challenges brought about by COVID-19. Much like the rest of the sector, they saw shifts in their roles as they made adjustment so they could to continue providing high quality education in a rapidly changing, demanding environment.

“It's really interesting to have children back into the space. Families have come back with being a little bit more anxious, which is understandable post COVID. Our focus as well as being more well -being for the children because they have been out of the space,” Nicolleta said.

Anyone working in the early learning sector is keenly aware of how important it is to balance indoor and outdoor play in early learning programs. These early learning professionals underlined the pivotal role these activities play in preparing children for their educational journey, emphasising the seamless transition from play-based experiences to school readiness, and highlighting its significance in fostering holistic development.

It is worth celebrating this group of early learning professionals unwavering commitment to preserving intentional play-based education as the foundation of early learning. They firmly believe that promoting play-based approaches during the formative years not only establishes a strong foundation for academic achievement but also nurtures crucial life skills. They also emphasised the importance of involving parents in this journey, encouraging them to appreciate the significance of play-based learning and integrate it into their child's home life.

“I think play-based teaching is such a wonderful opportunity for children and adults to really come together and have this really nice nurturing environment and really capture their childhood,” Nicolleta said.

By uniting the efforts of educators, teachers, families, and communities, early learning professionals envision a more robust and enriched educational journey for young learners. To hear more watch our Transforming Early Learning – Conversations with Early Learning Professionals video.