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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: June 2012




At the end of this chapter, you will be able to:

describe and document children's learning in science with reference to the EYLF

describe ways children's explorations can demonstrate and enhance their understanding

describe different strategies for observing, monitoring and documenting science understanding.


Early childhood educators are required to determine what children know and understand. Evidence may be based on how children explore and interact within their environment, or specific competency tests. Data relating to science is usually obtained through a process of observation, anecdotal note taking, journal entries, checklists and folios of each child's work. At times the determination of science knowledge, understanding and children's development may be easier said than done. Consequently, this chapter outlines steps associated with the development of learning in science. These steps are outlined in the EYLF (DEEWR, 2009a), with an indication of some associated strategies that are appropriate for each developmental level. These guidelines provide a comprehensive framework to determine children's learning as well as enhancing the teacher's planning for future learning.

Children's learning

The EYLF (DEEWR, 2009a) advocates that children learn through play and that play based learning is ‘a context for learning through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they engage actively with people, objects and representations’ (p. 3). Within play based learning, the role of the educator is crucial for developing a child's understanding of the world around them and the science within it.