ECHE6000 – Early Childhood Philosophy and Pedagogy

2023 – Session 1, In person-scheduled-infrequent, North Ryde

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Co-convenor
Nicole Jamison
Contact via iLearn Dialogue
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By appointment
Unit Co-convenor
Sheila Degotardi
Contact via iLearn Dialogue
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By appointment
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to MTeach(0-5) or GradCertEChild
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

This unit introduces students to the philosophical and pedagogical approaches to the field of early childhood education. The unit provides students with the opportunity to develop a critical understanding of i) current philosophical and theoretical approaches to early childhood education; ii) the centrality of play, social interaction and relationships as a basis for early childhood curriculum; and iii) their own identity as early childhood educators. Overall, it aims to provide students with a crucial framework for developing professional teaching practice and for their future studies in early childhood.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: demonstrate an awareness of current approaches to, and debates about early childhood curriculum and pedagogy.
  • ULO2: observe and interpret children's play/inquiry experiences in terms of what they reveal about, and their potential for facilitating children's learning and development.
  • ULO3: analyse environments and materials that foster children’s learning through play and inquiry
  • ULO4: identify intentional teaching strategies using relevant theory and reflection
  • ULO5: actively and theoretically contribute towards your own and others’ development and learning.

General Assessment Information

  • Students should be aware of and apply the University policy on academic honesty (see:
  • Unless a Special Consideration (see: request has been submitted and approved, a 5% penalty (of the total possible mark) will be applied each day a written assessment is not submitted, up until the 7th day (including weekends). After the 7th day, a mark of‚ 0 (zero) will be awarded even if the assessment is submitted. Submission time for all written assessments is set at 11.55pm. A 1-hour grace period is provided to students who experience a technical issue.
  • This late penalty will apply to non-timed sensitive assessment (incl essays, reports, posters, portfolios, journals, recordings etc). Late submission of time sensitive tasks (such as tests/exams, performance assessments/presentations, scheduled practical assessments/labs etc) will only be addressed by the unit convenor in a Special consideration application. Special Consideration outcome may result in a new question or topic.
  • Please format assessments using 12-point font and 1.5 spacing.
  • All assessments are submitted electronically. Turnitin plagiarism detection software is used to check all written assessments.
  • Students can use Turnitin’s Originality Report as a learning tool to improve their academic writing if this option is made available in the unit.
  • Students should carefully check that they submit the correct file for an assessment as no re-submissions will be accepted after the due date and time, including instances where students upload an incorrect file in error.
  • Word limits are strictly applied. Work above the word limit will not be marked.
  • All assessments are marked using a rubric.
  • Marking of all assessments is moderated by the Unit Convenor.
  • Applications for extensions must be made via AskMQ (
  • It is not the responsibility of unit staff to contact students who have failed to submit assessments. If you have any missing items of assessment, it is your responsibility to make contact with the unit convenor.

University policy on grading

Criteria for awarding grades for assessment tasks

Assignments will be awarded grades ranging from HD to F according to guidelines set out in the University's Grading Policy. For Professional Experience units the PE Report is marked as satisfactory or unsatisfactory and the Teaching Performance Assessment (in final PE units) is marked as not meets, meets or exceeds. The following descriptive criteria are included for your information.

Descriptive Criteria for awarding grades in the unit

In order to meet the unit outcomes and successfully pass this unit, students must make a genuine attempt at all assessment tasks. Where any submitted assessment task is considered to be unsatisfactory in this regard, the highest possible final grade that can be awarded for the unit will be 45.

Grade Descriptor


(High Distinction)

Provides consistent evidence of deep and critical understanding in relation to the learning outcomes. There is substantial originality and insight in identifying, generating and communicating competing arguments, perspectives or problem-solving approaches; critical evaluation of problems, their solutions and their implications; creativity in application as appropriate to the discipline.



Provides evidence of integration and evaluation of critical ideas, principles and theories, distinctive insight and ability in applying relevant skills and concepts in relation to learning outcomes. There is demonstration of frequent originality in defining and analysing issues or problems and providing solutions; and the use of means of communication appropriate to the discipline and the audience.



Provides evidence of learning that goes beyond replication of content knowledge or skills relevant to the learning outcomes. There is demonstration of substantial understanding of fundamental concepts in the field of study and the ability to apply these concepts in a variety of contexts; convincing argumentation with appropriate coherent justification; communication of ideas fluently and clearly in terms of the conventions of the discipline.



Provides sufficient evidence of the achievement of learning outcomes. There is demonstration of understanding and application of fundamental concepts of the field of study; routine argumentation with acceptable justification; communication of information and ideas adequately in terms of the conventions of the discipline. The learning attainment is considered satisfactory or adequate or competent or capable in relation to the specified outcomes.



Does not provide evidence of attainment of learning outcomes. There is missing or partial or superficial or faulty understanding and application of the fundamental concepts in the field of study; missing, undeveloped, inappropriate or confusing argumentation; incomplete, confusing or lacking communication of ideas in ways that give little attention to the conventions of the discipline.

Note: If you fail a unit with a professional experience component, the fail grade will be on your transcript irrespective of the timing of the placement.

Withdrawing from this unit

If you are considering withdrawing from this unit, please seek academic advice via before doing so as this unit may be a co-requisite or prerequisite for units in the following sessions and may impact on your course progression.


Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit


Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Play Environment Analysis 50% No 23:55 12/04/23
Understanding and Promoting Children’s Play and Inquiry 50% No 23:55 31/05/23

Play Environment Analysis

Assessment Type 1: Case study/analysis
Indicative Time on Task 2: 40 hours
Due: 23:55 12/04/23
Weighting: 50%


Analyse a play environment for young children [1800 words]


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • demonstrate an awareness of current approaches to, and debates about early childhood curriculum and pedagogy.
  • analyse environments and materials that foster children’s learning through play and inquiry
  • actively and theoretically contribute towards your own and others’ development and learning.

Understanding and Promoting Children’s Play and Inquiry

Assessment Type 1: Case study/analysis
Indicative Time on Task 2: 40 hours
Due: 23:55 31/05/23
Weighting: 50%


Part 1. Observation and Analysis of the learning potential of children’s play. Part 2: Enhancing Children’s Learning. [1800 words]


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • demonstrate an awareness of current approaches to, and debates about early childhood curriculum and pedagogy.
  • observe and interpret children's play/inquiry experiences in terms of what they reveal about, and their potential for facilitating children's learning and development.
  • analyse environments and materials that foster children’s learning through play and inquiry
  • identify intentional teaching strategies using relevant theory and reflection

1 If you need help with your assignment, please contact:

  • the academic teaching staff in your unit for guidance in understanding or completing this type of assessment
  • the Writing Centre for academic skills support.

2 Indicative time-on-task is an estimate of the time required for completion of the assessment task and is subject to individual variation

Delivery and Resources

Required and recommended texts

Information about the unit iLearn site

  • This unit has a full web presence through iLearn.
  • Students will need regular access to a computer and the Internet to complete this unit.
  • Weekly access to iLearn is compulsory for all students. Important assessment information will be posted here, as will other relevant unit notices and materials, including a reading template and guide to lecture note taking to assist your studies.
  • Various activities and materials for discussion and critical reflection are included and external students especially are encouraged to use this web component. Electronic links and suggested references will be included in the Resources section. Please check the iLearn unit regularly.
  • Weekly lectures are available on the web through the ECHO360 lecture component. You must listen to all lectures if you do not attend these ‘live’.
  • PowerPoint slides in pdf format are available in iLearn in advance of the weekly lecture and/or are available in the Active Learning Tool.

Access and technical assistance

  • Information for students about access to the online component of this unit is available at You will need to enter your student username and password.
  • Please do NOT contact the Unit Convenor regarding iLearn technical help.
  • Assistance is available from IT Helpdesk
    • Ph: 9850 4357 or 1800 67 4357
    • Email:
    • On Campus: Ground floor at 18 Wally’s Walk

Structure of Learning and Teaching Activities

  • The unit structure can be found in the university timetable
  • The unit runs for 12 weeks framed around a specfic topic. The weekly topic overview for the unit is available on the following pages and a more detailed schedule with the accompanying readings and/or preparation can be found on the unit iLearn site.
  • Each week comprises of a one-hour lecture (pre-recorded), required reading(s) and a two-hour weekly tutorial for internal students or a two-day session for external students.
    • External students will complete the tutorial tasks at the scheduled infrequent on-campus sessions on:
      • Friday 3rd March 9:00am-4:00pm
      • Friday 21st April 9:00am-4:00pm
  • In the tutorial students will discuss issues and questions arising from the lectures and prescribed readings. You are required to participate in small group and whole class activities and discussion, to read the weekly materials and watch the lecture in advance (ensure you set aside enough time to complete these tasks and take notes), and to complete brief tasks either as individuals or pairs. You are expected to base your arguments/discussions on evidence from published research and other relevant material.
  • There will be a supporting iLearn site for the unit providing additional readings, links and materials.

Unit Schedule

ECHE6000 Unit Schedule - Session 1 2023

Week Topic

Week 1

(w/c 20th Feb)

Introduction to Early Childhood Philosophy and Pedagogy

Week 2

(w/c 27th Feb)

The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (EYLF)

External Student Full Day Workshops

  • Session 1: Friday 3rd March 9:00am-4:00pm

Week 3

(w/c 6th Mar)

Introduction to Play and Inquiry-Based Learning

Week 4

(w/c 13th Mar)

Learning Environments and Materials

Week 5

(w/c 20th Mar)

Observations, EYLF, Curriculum and Pedagogy

Week 6

(w/c 27th Mar)

Learning Environments: Playing Outside

Week 7

(w/c 3rd Apr)

Pedagogy: The Practice of Teaching in Early Childhood


Mid-Session Break and Easter Holiday (7th April - 23rd April)

Assessment 1: Play Environment Analysis (50%) due 23:55 Wednesday 12/04/2023

External Student Full Day Workshops

  • Session 2: Friday 21st April 9:00am-4:00pm

Week 8

(w/c 24th Apr)

Play: Creativity and Imagination

Week 9

(w/c 1st May)

Play: Language and Literacy

Week 10

(w/c 8th May)

Play: Social Development and Relationships

Week 11

(w/c 15th May)

Play: Physical Wellbeing and Development

Week 12

(w/c 22nd May)

Curriculum Decision Making

Week 13

(w/c 29th May)

No classes

Assessment 2: Understanding and Promoting Children's Play and Inquiry (50%) due 23:55 Wednesday 31/05/2023

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central ( Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit Student Policies ( It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

To find other policies relating to Teaching and Learning, visit Policy Central ( and use the search tool.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct:


Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit or if you are a Global MBA student contact

Academic Integrity

At Macquarie, we believe academic integrity – honesty, respect, trust, responsibility, fairness and courage – is at the core of learning, teaching and research. We recognise that meeting the expectations required to complete your assessments can be challenging. So, we offer you a range of resources and services to help you reach your potential, including free online writing and maths support, academic skills development and wellbeing consultations.

School of Education Procedures

In addition, the following policies and procedures of the School of Education are applicable in this unit.


Activities completed during tutorials or on campus days are essential for building the core knowledge and/or skills required to demonstrate the learning outcomes of this unit [and to meet the AITSL Graduate Teacher Standards and ACECQA requirements]. Attendance at all tutorials or on campus days is expected and the roll will be taken. Students are required to attend the tutorial in which they are enrolled. Any changes to tutorial enrolments must be completed officially through e-student. Please do not contact the unit convenor requesting a change.

Electronic Communication

It is the student’s responsibility to check all electronic communication on a regular weekly basis. Communication may occur via:

  • Official MQ Student Email Address
  • The Dialogue function on iLearn
  • Other iLearn communication functions

Infrequent Attendance Students

Information about the dates if the on-campus sessions can be found in the university timetable.

  • The on-campus sessions are essential to student engagement and learning and attendance on all days is expected. Failure to attend or to have an approved Special Consideration may result in a Fail grade for the unit. Please see attendance requirements in this unit guide.
  • Prior to the on-campus sessions, you should have read the prescribed readings and listened to the lectures. Summarise the main points and make a note of the key terms and definitions. Prepare any discussion questions of your own that you wish to share.
  • Please make effective use of the online component of the unit and access iLearn regularly. Keep up to date with listening to the lectures on a weekly basis.
  • Further specific details and any updates about times and locations will be posted on iLearn as an Announcement during first half of the semester.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit

The Writing Centre

The Writing Centre provides resources to develop your English language proficiency, academic writing, and communication skills.

The Library provides online and face to face support to help you find and use relevant information resources. 

Student Services and Support

Macquarie University offers a range of Student Support Services including:

Student Enquiries

Got a question? Ask us via AskMQ, or contact Service Connect.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Changes from Previous Offering

Amendment of Assessment Tasks from 3 tasks to 2 tasks to streamline and align more effectively with learning outcomes

5Rs Framework

The 5Rs Framework, developed by the School of Education at Macquarie University, is embedded throughout your teacher education course. Your use of the 5Rs Framework will help you develop the capabilities that will make your teaching career sustainable and fulfilling. In this unit, you will learn using the 5Rs framework in the following important ways:


Practiced inside and outside the classroom

In order to be more resilient to the stresses of the teaching environment, teachers need to be aware of, and maintain, their holistic health and sense of coherence. They need the confidence and clarity of mind to manage uncertain and complex issues and unexpected events whenever they arise in their career.

Teaching is demanding for everyone; however, it has been observed that the teachers who thrive on challenges are those who are able to draw on their personal resources and the social and structural supports around them.


In their teaching practice

Teaching is about understanding multiple and changing ecologies of learning. This encompasses individual students’ needs, the affordances of classroom spaces, student and teacher relationships, curriculums, school culture, parental expectations, community demographics and needs and expectations of the profession, and the effects of government policy.

Teachers must recognise and mediate all these elements, along with their own motivations and priorities. A reflexive approach to teaching assists in making effective and impactful decisions that ensure quality student outcomes on a daily basis.


To students, colleagues, parents and professional communities

Teaching is a relational profession. The best teachers make deep connections with their students, parents and communities. Most of us remember a great teacher, not because of what they taught, but because they were inspiring. They engaged us through the personal connections they made with us, and their recognisable care for our wellbeing and success.

Ready to Learn

When teachers graduate from university, they are far from the end of their learning journey, but rather just at the beginning.

The ongoing pursuit of learning is a mark of a quality teacher. There are always new methods and ideas to try. But in practice, learning needs are not a one-size-fits-all affair. Teachers need to identify their individual learning needs within the context of their career. Then, they can pursue that learning to the benefit of both themselves and their students.

Research Engaged

Through their career

Effective teaching practice is based on evidence. This evidence can come from their own research in the classroom and the latest academic research in learning, teaching, motivation, cognition, curriculum, technologies and spaces, to name a few. A critical understanding of data is essential, allowing it to be analysed and woven back into practice.

Data can be big or small – both types are equally important. Big data includes large-scale standardised testing, which is great for identifying unfolding trends in the teaching sector. Small data includes things like classroom assessment, which gives us details about how and why students are succeeding or failing in specific areas.

The 5Rs framework can help teachers stay focused on what’s important. It can give teachers the confidence to keep at their career, strive for personal improvement and maximise their positive impact on students.

Unit information based on version 2023.02 of the Handbook