Learning contexts matter



Children are always learning. They learn from watching and interacting with those closest to them in family and community contexts. Participation in early childhood education adds an extra dimension to children’s learning.

Children can access a range of spaces and materials, routines, rituals, and interactions with other children and adults in a planned and intentional learning environment.​

Focusing on establishing routines, rituals and reconnecting with the service environment will help restore children's sense of security and stability after disrupted kindergarten participation.

Responsive routines and rituals

Providing lots of unhurried time to navigate routines and transitions throughout the day will support children's sense of familiarity. Routines that support long, uninterrupted periods of play will allow children to explore and reconnect with their environment and enable rich interactions with educators and other children. Flexible routines may help children who need time to reconnect with the program, the environment and those around them. Giving ample notice of changes throughout the day will further support children's sense of security.

For reflection:

  • How might you use a visual routine to help children to recognise and respond to key aspects of the program, and feel a sense of security and predictability to their day?
  • Are there rituals you did before the disruption that you can again do with the children to promote a sense of connection and wellbeing?​

Supportive environments

The environment has a significant impact on children's learning and wellbeing. Responsive and calm learning environments support children to feel a sense of belonging and connection.

Thinking about intentionally reacquainting children with the environment will provide a smoother transition and reduce feelings of apprehension.

Many children are navigating lots of different change in their lives.​​

Supporting children with consistency and stability in educators, routines and environments as much as possible is important for increasing a child's sense of security.

For reflection:

  • What restorative areas can children go to if they need some quiet time?
  • In what ways does the environment support individual, small group and large group interactions and connections?

Children's voice, agency and decision making

Re-introducing children into the environment extends beyond structural transitions (spaces, resources, routines and rituals).

It prompts us to consider each child as a unique learner with ideas, preferences and strengths of mind.

Providing opportunities for children to have input into aspects of decision making as they transition will support their sense of belonging and self-efficacy.

Your image of the child as a competent, confident and engaged learner contributes to building their sense of agency over their learning.

For reflection:

  • What opportunities do children have to give input on the decisions that will shape the program during the transition phase?
  • How do I scaffold children's input and decision making, and retain a focus on overall health, safety and wellbeing?

Play-based experiences and transitions

Play-based experiences foster children's language, communication, movement, imagination, creativity and wellbeing.

Through play, children explore their feelings and build a sense of security and confidence in themselves, and the world around them.

As children make sense of local and world events during this disrupted time, play experiences will help them to make sense of big ideas and to express their feelings.

A focus on creating opportunities for social and emotional learning will contribute to building children's identity and self-regulation skills, and promote emotional connection.

Promote self-regulation skills through music experiences, stories, routines and games.

If teachers are intentional, thoughtful, purposeful and deliberate in decisions and actions, they will support children's learning through social interactions and play.

Positive and flexible routines throughout the day will build a sense of predictability and security.

This helps children to learn about dealing with emotions, and improving wellbeing through active movement and buildi​ng social connections.


Last updated 28 August 2023