Educator Decision Making about Outdoor Learning Spaces in Early Childhood Education and Care Services

Annie O’Sullivan
page. 93~103 / 2018 Vol.12 No.2


In Australia, the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) invites educators in Early ChildhoodEducation and Care (ECEC) services to view children as learners who are confident and involved(Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, 2009)while the National Quality Standard (NQS) contends that the “educational program and practice ofeducators are child-centred, stimulating and maximise opportunities for enhancing and extending eachchild’s learning and development” (Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority[ACECQA], 2017, p. 95). Additionally, article 12 of the United Nations Convention of the Rights ofthe Child (UNCRC) advises that it is a child’s right to contribute and their opinions need to beconsidered in decisions that affect them (United Nations Children’s Fund [UNICEF], 1996).Nonetheless, limitations appear to exist in supporting educators’ decisions and provisions in theenvironment and use of the outdoor learning spaces that contrast with the documents that underpineducator practice. This literature review examines the tensions between the ideal and the reality ofchildren’s and educators’ decision making in outdoor learning spaces. It shows that strong policyalone is not sufficient unless underpinned by an environment in which educators are able to makedecisions without fear of litigation and children’s perspectives are heard, respected, and enacted.

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