Evidence in early childhood education and care | Video
What does evidence look like in an early childhood education and care setting? We’ve spoken to some educators and teachers working in early childhood education and care to explore the many different types of evidence they use in their practice.
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The reason why early childhood is so important is because we're in the job of helping children build their brain, helping them making that rich web of connections so that when they get older, they have this amazing depth of knowledge, both social, emotional, beyond just academic, and so the work that we do with them is so important in helping them be the best that they can be that all the decisions that we make for them should be considered and informed.
Evidence provides a really important opportunity for early childhood educators to be intentional about their practice and really continue to promote the professionalism of the work that early childhood teachers and educators undertake and I guess the role that early education plays for children in that birth to five aspect.
When you do get something with a strong evidence base, you can come together around it and have those pedagogical discussions and create a new way of thinking and then you can be effective as a team to support a learning for children.
Practitioner-generated evidence is the types of things that the people and educators in the classroom are gathering in response to the children's interactions and interests. Things like video snippets, anecdotes, recording what they're saying, photographs, pieces of work, artwork, and their understandings in general, I think. Research evidence is different. It is the work that others do on our behalf that we can use to inform our practice.
We had a child that was trying to hold his pen with both hands. Not normally you would think was a problem, but obviously when he's trying to move on to mark making at the age of four, he can't work out which is his dominant hand. We then look at observations such as how he eats, how he strikes a ball, and then we work on okay, his natural preference is his left hand, then his writing has progressed wonderfully.
Carrie Johnson, Director, Seaton Community Children's Centre
Sometimes I guess the barrier around change can be a fear of change or the unknown, so, by having some research evidence or some practitioner evidence, it can support educators in being more comfortable in change.
It can be difficult to get continuous access into things like university databases, periodicals and things like that.
It would be great if there was somewhere that we could go to find that research and to know that somebody else has done the hard yards and ensured that it's peer reviewed, that it's appropriate for our age, that it's current. That would be really helpful. It's not the desire to use it that's the problem, it's the actual accessibility to it.
Evidence is important because it allows us to work for a shared goal. Often teaching is an isolated profession. If we don't work collegially and don't have evidence that backs up what we believe to be true, we can't move forward for the benefit of the children.
What I would hope is that in the future we would be able to support educators to capture and inspire their wonder and their curiosity about their roles with children and the importance of their roles with children.