What is early learning?

Below is a brief summary of “What is British Columbia Early Learning Framework” and “Why it’s important to you”. The information below is taken directly from: Understanding the Early Learning Framework from theory to Practice; complied by the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport and the Ministry of Children and Family Development

Introduction into the Framework

As early childhood educators, we are more than teachers. Along with children and their families, we are part of a community of learners. Our curiosity causes us to wonder about the children, examine our programs, and evaluate our own work with families and children. We are learners as well as early childhood educators, and we must continually examine, reflect and re-assess our work. Assessing our work and ourselves is part of learning and growing as individuals and as groups of colleagues. It is in this spirit that the Province of British Columbia developed its unique Early Learning Framework.

What is the purpose of the British Columbia Early Learning Framework?

At its heart, the Framework strives to guide early childhood educators and adults who work with children and families- and families themselves-to reflect on children’s enormous capacity for learning in the early years. The Framework is designed to support the development of tools needed to stimulate learning and create learning environments that builds on each child’s unique potential. At the same time, the Framework recognizes the individual, social, cultural, and linguistic identities of B.C.’s children and families. Acknowledging the richness of these identities and providing the tools to support diversity is an essential element of the Framework.

Image of the Child

The concept of the image of the child, which is emerged from the work in the Italian town of Reggio Emilia, is a key concept in the British Columbia Early Learning Framework.

We all have different images of the child, but we rarely make them explicit in our practice. By examining our practice, perhaps we can gain insight into our image of the child and make this image visible to ourselves as early childhood educators, and to families and children.

By making the image visible, we are able to describe and understand in depth our beliefs about children and how those beliefs influence our practices and relationships with children.

Background to the Framework

Three British Columbia government ministries were involved in creating the Framework. The Ministry of Education worked in partnership with the Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport and the Ministry of Children and Family Development, recognizing their share roles in supporting children’s health and well-being. Many others provided their views, including:

  • Parents/families
  • Early childhood Educators
  • Child care providers
  • Aboriginal organizations
  • Teachers
  • Researchers and post-secondary institutions

“Early learning refers to the emerging and expanding of young children’s physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and creative capacities”.

How does the Framework “see” children?
“All children are born with curiosity about themselves, other people, and the world around them, and in this sense are born learners”.

Who should be familiar with the Framework?

  • Early childhood educator, early years professionals and other service providers.
  • Parents/families and other caregivers.
  • Kindergarten and primary school teachers/educators and administrators.

Download from The Ministry of Education website: