Unit description

Focuses on students acquiring an understanding of the range of pedagogies and approaches to curriculum utilised in early childhood education and care. Analyses key issues pertaining to the role of play in learning; the relationships between philosophy, theory and pedagogy to learning environments for young children, and develops an understanding of what it is to be an early childhood educator.

Unit content

1. Setting the contexts: Play and pedagogies in early childhood
•    history of early childhood education and childcare in Australia
•    ECEC philosophy; guiding principles and key components of early childhood education and childcare
      pedagogy and programs
•    perspectives, program models, and curriculum models on children's learning, play and development
      (e.g. developmentally appropriate practice; socio-cultural/constructivist theories; behaviouralist theory;
      postmodern-post-structural theories in ECEC)
2. Understanding the contexts: Relationships and interactions
•    theories of play and play in contexts: relationships to learning and development of young children in
      their many environments (planned and unplanned, social, physical, cognitive, commercial,
      environmental, cultural, economic, educational contexts)
•    justifications for a play-based pedagogy in early childhood education and care
3. Consolidating and applying knowledge of ECEC philosophy, pedagogy and play:
•    The types of interactions and relationships in ECEC contexts and within ECEC pedagogy
•    Australian and international curriculum frameworks (e.g. DEEWR Early Years Learning Framework 2009;
      NSW DOCS 'Practice of Relationships' Curriculum Framework for Children's Services; C&K Building
      Waterfalls, 2009; Qld DETA Foundations for Success, 2010, NZ Education 'Te Whariki')
4. Reflection:
•    issues in early childhood education and childcare curriculum: regulations, relationships and realities

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

Learning outcomes and graduate attributes

Prescribed texts

Session 1

  • Fleer, M, 2013, Play in the early years, 1st edn, Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, Victoria.
Prescribed texts may change in future study periods.

Teaching and assessment

Coffs Harbour

Teaching method
Workshop on-site 3 (10 weeks)
Reflective writing40%
Short written response30%

Gold Coast

Teaching method
Workshop on-site 3 (10 weeks)
Reflective writing40%
Short written response30%


Teaching method
Workshop on-site 3 (10 weeks)
Reflective writing40%
Short written response30%

Intensive offerings may or may not be scheduled in every session. Please refer to the timetable for further details.

Southern Cross University employs different teaching methods within units to provide students with the flexibility to choose the mode of learning that best suits them. SCU academics strive to use the latest approaches and, as a result, the learning modes and materials may change. The most current information regarding a unit will be provided to enrolled students at the beginning of the study session.

Fee information


Commonwealth Supported courses
For information regarding Student Contribution Amounts please visit the Student Contribution Amounts.
Commencing 2014 Commonwealth Supported only. Student contribution band: 1

Fee paying courses
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