In order to be effective early childhood educators, we need to have a solid understanding of child development. However, this is not as straightforward as it may seem. There are so many theories of child development, and each theory may take a different theoretical approach: maturation, psychodynamic, psychosocial, cognitive, behaviourist, ecological and information processing. And within each of these approaches, there are a number of prominent theorists to choose from.
The good news is that many early childhood education professionals and service providers believe in taking an eclectic approach when it comes to theories and theorists. According to the NSW Department of Community Services, there are valid views contained in each theory of child development, and educators can use parts of a theory “if the context – the child and the situation – seem appropriate.” They go on to state that this is a helpful way of developing our understanding.
So how can this be done, and documented in an already busy setting? At EarlyWorks we understand that no two settings are exactly the same, so different services are likely to be guided by different philosophies, and drawing on different theories of child development. EarlyWorks allows educators to add theorists, philosophies and outcomes to those already included in the EarlyWorks system (EYLF and My Place, Our Time). So using EarlyWorks, educators can be guided by the philosophy of their service, as they make meaning of their observations of children’s learning and development.