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Since 2007, Queensland has offered a full-time, non-compulsory Preparatory Year of schooling before Year 1.

Students in Prep classes follow the Early Years Curriculum Guidelines (EYCG) published by the QSA.

The EYCG is designed around a framework of 6 factors that have been shown to influence students' school readiness and future success at school:

  • social and emotional competence
  • health and physical wellbeing
  • language development and communication
  • early mathematical understandings
  • active learning processes, with a focus on thinking, investigating, and imagining and responding
  • positive dispositions to learning.

While the EYCG has been developed specifically for the Preparatory Year, it provides a framework for learning from Prep to Year 3.

On this page:

How is children's learning monitored and assessed?

Monitoring and assessing is an integral part of the learning–teaching process and is not a separate activity. The information gathered is used to:

  • plan for future learning
  • build a picture of a child's learning and development
  • give direction to conversations with the child, parents or carers, specialist teachers, the child's next teacher and other professional colleagues
  • record point-in-time judgments using the early learning record and report on these.

Monitoring, assessing and reporting on children's learning has 4 stages.

1. Gathering evidence of children's learning

Teachers monitor and assess by gathering information and evidence throughout the year, generally from children's everyday learning activities. They:

  • observe children as they learn
  • talk with children about their learning
  • help children identify what they have learnt
  • gather the things children produce during their learning
  • comment on children's learning in relation to the curriculum
  • have formal and informal discussions with parents, carers, and professional colleagues.

2. Using folios to organise evidence about children's learning

Teachers and children organise evidence of learning in individual folios. The folio becomes a dynamic record of examples of a child's learning and development in the Preparatory Year.

3. Interpreting evidence of children's learning in folios

Teachers interpret the evidence of children's learning to inform daily planning and to make overall judgments about how far children’s learning has progressed.

4. Using the early learning record to report on children's learning

The early learning record (ELR) documents judgments made about a child's learning in each early learning area. The ELR uses 4 phases to describe learning progress:

  • Becoming aware
  • Exploring
  • Making connections
  • Applying

Feedback from teachers has shown that children are generally in the "Making connections" phase by the end of the Preparatory Year. Children do, however, vary in their learning and will be at different phases in different learning areas, depending on their experience prior to starting Prep and their interest in the learning area.

Teachers consider the range of evidence gathered throughout the year in the individual folio, to build an overall picture of a child's learning and development, and make judgments about the phases in which a child may be operating. The ELR is usually completed twice a year to monitor the child's overall progress.

The ELR gives:

  • Prep teachers a picture of a child's learning and helps them plan for the child's strengths and weaknesses
  • a focus for communication with parents or carers about a child's learning and development
  • Year 1 teachers an overall picture of a child's learning and development so that they can plan for a smooth transition from the Preparatory Year to Year 1.

What do children learn in the early phase of schooling?

The EYCG uses 5 early learning areas to describe what children will learn.

These early learning areas are derived from the factors associated with school readiness and success at school. The table below lists each early learning area, describes its focus, and shows the links to the Years 1-10 key learning areas.

Early learning area Specific focus within the early learning areas Key learning areas
Social & personal learning
  • Social learning
  • Personal learning
  • Studies of Society and the Environment (SOSE)
  • Health and Physical Education (HPE)
Health & physical learning
  • Making healthy choices
  • Gross-motor
  • Fine-motor
Language learning & communication
  • Oral language
  • Early literacy
  • English
  • Languages other than English (LOTE)
Early mathematical understandings Early numeracy Mathematics
Active learning processes
  • Thinking
  • Investigating
  • Imagining and responding
  • Science
  • SOSE
  • Technology
  • The Arts

Foundations for later learning

The curriculum builds on children's learning in their families and communities, and provides a foundation for their learning from Years 1 to 10 through:

  • valuing and expanding children's diverse social and cultural understandings
  • curriculum and teaching practices, including:
    • principles to guide teaching in the early years of learning
    • involving children in learning physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually
    • assessment that monitors and helps extend student learning
  • establishing positive relationships, including strategies for school-family partnerships
  • managing transition processes, including a report to Year 1 teachers on each student's achievements in Prep
  • encouraging good learning habits, such as perseverance and independence.

How children learn in the early phase of schooling

The curriculum is based on active learning, which includes real-life situations, investigation and play. It recognises the importance of children's brain development through learning using all 5 senses, and the role of adults in facilitating, scaffolding and monitoring learning.

Evaluations have shown that using the curriculum in early childhood education provides a solid base for developing children's social skills, motor skills, and literacy and numeracy skills.

Last updated: 29 April 2009

A Prep Year class

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