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Shaping Curriculum holistically - the power and importance of the EYLF 

Keynote Six | Helen Schiele | Saturday 24th of June - 9.10am | Grand Ballroom


This keynote address will explore the values of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and the need to develop a holistic curriculum in early primary classroom– one that is a seen as a continuum of learning from birth, rather than a stand-alone curriculum commencing at the age of five. The question shifts from, is the child ready for school, to is the school ready for the child.


The EYLF is written to support the child to the age of eight which invites the primary teacher to develop a pedagogical narrative within their practice and classroom. The pedagogical narrative is play based and acknowledges the child’s funds of knowledge, to become an active participant too and within the child’s learning journey. The EYLF is the foundation and the disruptor as to why a holistic curriculum within our current system is needed.


We know due to neurological research that the first one thousand days are the most crucial to a child’s development, we know too due to the work undertaken by the Mitchell Institute that two years of early childhood education is better than one year.


What underpins the importance of the early years educational landscape is the early years framework. The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) is written with the educative lens of the child from birth to eight years of age. The EYLF takes a holistic approach seeing the child at the centre of the learning. Seeing this holistic approach as one that works in collaboration with the child, their family and societal connections.

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Dr Helen Schiele

Principal Consultant, Senior Early Childhood Specialist


Helen has a master’s in education by research and has recently completed her Doctoral studies – entitled ‘A narrative inquiry into the experiences of a leadership group working towards collective efficacy in a regional faith-based school’.

She has worked in the educational field for some 29 years, spending the past 14 years facilitating professional development for teachers in early childhood, primary and secondary schools in the areas of, curriculum design and differentiation. She has facilitated numerous workshops around assessment and rubric design, teaching and assessing thinking, ways to promote critical and creative thinking in students and the use of a range of thinking tools.

Helen continues to work at a national and state level in the curriculum space with the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) and with both the Departments of Education (DE) at a state and federal levels in advocating on behalf for the early childhood sector.

Helen has also lectured at Monash University supporting preservice teachers navigate the worlds of primary and early childhood education. She remains passionate about the early years and the need to build a strong foundation for children to be successful and respected as unique thinkers within their educational journey. As an experienced F-10 teacher, Helen developed professional learning opportunities in the areas of professional learning communities, literacy and numeracy and artistic learning strategies.

Prior to entering the primary and secondary areas, Helen worked extensively as an early childhood teacher predominately in low socioeconomic areas and multicultural communities, including roles as an artist in residence.

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