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Exciting News for 2023! EYLF 2.0 - sustainability principles and learning on Country

We are very excited to read the recent release of the EYLF (V2.0) which incorporates a

sustainability Principle and recognition of opportunities for children to learn on Country.

These two important additions relate specifically to our NSW Early Years Nature

Connections (NSW EYNC) group. The enhanced focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives throughout the framework is also an important addition.

The new sustainability Principle encompasses environmental, social and economic

dimensions which are intertwined, with the aim to secure healthy future generations for all

species (including the Earth). Embedding this new Principle requires educators to provide

opportunities for children to learn about and embrace these interconnected dimensions,

engaging with the concepts of democracy, social justice, fairness and global citizenship. The

EYLF does not explicitly express common worlds theory, but the following statement may

suggest this approach; ‘Humanity and the planet we share with all living things face some

big challenges. Educators and children have important and active roles to play in creating

and promoting sustainable communities …… Environmental sustainability focuses on caring

for our natural world and protecting, preserving and improving the environment (ACECQA,

2022, p.17).

In Practices, and the Learning environment’s section, recognition of opportunities for

children to learn on Country is proposed. Educators where possible participate and offer

opportunities for children to learn on Country and seek more information about Aboriginal

and Torres Strait Islander connections and relationships with Country. All children benefit

from learning on Country and from Country. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

children, their spirituality is connected to Country, and the connection is strong. It is in their

relationships and how they communicate with their ancestors, families, kinship systems and

communities. It is in their connection to the land – the trees, waterholes and mountains

(ACECQA, 2022, p. 23).

Learning Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world specifically

promotes children’s reciprocal rights and responsibilities as active and informed citizens,

becoming socially responsible and showing respect for the environment. However, all

Learning Outcomes can relate to nature play and sustainability.We anticipate that this new framework will invite further exploration of nature play and

sustainability for all educators.

Finally, Dr Jo Bird, Dr Fran Hughes and Dr Sue Elliott have invited all NSW ACECQA approved early learning services to participate in an online survey to investigate NSW early childhood immersive nature play programs (INPPs) and find out where, why and how such programs are operating across NSW. Please look in your service emails to complete this survey.

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