This chapter provides an overview of the Australian Curriculum: Science. The chapter starts with a brief outline of the history of the Australian Curriculum. It then describes the three science strands of Science Understanding, Science as Human Endeavour and Science Inquiry Skills, and considers how these should be woven together to provide a framework for developing experiential, connected and sequential science learning experiences for children in the early years. The seven general capabilities (literacy, numeracy, information and communication technology [ICT] competence, critical and creative thinking, ethical behaviour, personal and social competence, and intercultural understanding) and three cross-curriculum priorities (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia, and sustainability) are presented, along with examples that relate to science in the early years. Various case studies provide an insight into how the Australian Curriculum: Science can be implemented through connection to nature, citizen science and place-based education.
At the end of this chapter you will be able to:■ outline the development of the Australian Curriculum: Science■ describe the three strands of the Australian Curriculum: Science (Science Understanding, Science as Human Endeavour and Science Inquiry Skills) and their associated sub-strands■ relate the general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities to science in the early years.
A short history of the Australian Curriculum
In December 2008 the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians was agreed to by all state, territory and Commonwealth Ministers of Education at a meeting of the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). This set the direction for schooling for the next 10 years in Australia. The key goals were, first, that Australian schooling promote equity and excellence and, second, that all young Australians become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, who are active and informed citizens (MCEETYA, 2008). In May 2009 the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) board was established. Its responsibility was to write Australia's first national curriculum for Foundation (the first year of school) to Year 12 (F–12) in specified learning areas along with a national assessment program to measure students’ progress. The ‘purpose and framework’ was outlined in a paper titled The Shape of the Australian Curriculum, which provided background to the development and for the implementation of the Australian Curriculum.