Master of Teaching (Early Childhood)


The Early Childhood strand in the Master of Teaching and the early exit Graduate Diploma of Teaching emphasise the developmental and educational needs of young children and examine teaching and learning practices appropriate for children from birth to five years of age. Course content covers all areas of program preparation, professional understandings, experience and skills required of early childhood educators.

Graduates of the Early Childhood strand at master of teaching and graduate diploma levels will:

  • have an understanding of the development of children in the age ranges of birth to five years and the implications for the provision of care and educational services in childcare centres, kindergartens, and a range of other early childhood settings
  • demonstrate an understanding of current curriculum theories and pedagogy in the design and implementation of child-centred, play-based and developmentally appropriate curriculum and its implications for young children in early childhood settings. This will include understanding of relevant curriculum frameworks and their application
  • be able to plan, implement and evaluate learning experiences across a range of learning areas for infants and young children and show an awareness of development, individual needs and desired learning outcomes
  • demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of Australian society and the influence of culture, family circumstances, gender and disability on development and the influence of these on the education of young children
  • show an awareness of the importance of parent involvement in the education of young children and be able to form partnerships with parents concerning their child's care and education
  • understand principles of management, leadership, and advocacy for collaborative work-based practices in early childhood services
  • understand the diverse roles of teachers in early childhood settings, and,
  • show an awareness of current issues in early childhood education and the need for continued reflection and research as a basis for examining the significance of these issues on practice.


Rules and Expectations

The expectation is that professional experience will include a range of pre-service teacher experiences. It is also expected that pre-service teachers will be evaluated by a qualified supervisor, who is not a friend/relative of the Deakin University pre-service teacher.

  • Working with Children Check (WWCC). All pre-service teachers who commence Education courses in 2013 will complete a WWCC, undertaken at enrolment and using the Faculty's processes. Pre-service teachers will not be permitted to undertake any professional experience placements unless the Professional Experience Office has a copy of the WWCC card and a completed Consent to Release Information Form.
  • The Professional Experience Office organises all placements but it is Early Childhood centres and kindergartens themselves that make decisions about the pre-service teachers they are willing to place.
  • Pre-service teachers undertake the specified number of professional experience days in whole days (or equivalent) in conjunction with their course-work studies and during the timetabled dates. Failure to complete the specified number of days, or failure to complete the number of days within a reasonable timeframe, will lead to the result for that placement being entered as a'fail'(N).
  • Professional experience is supervised professional practice in an educational setting, organised and documented by the Deakin University Professional Experience Office, in accordance with course requirements. Supervision must be undertaken by Early Childhood Practitioners with appropriate qualifications, ie a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education degree or equivalent.
  • Professional experience cannot be undertaken at a centre where the pre-service teacher is a relative, employer of the teacher who would be the supervisor, centre owner or has a child attending the centre.
  • Directors or managers have the discretion and authority to instruct pre-service teachers to remove themselves from the centre and not return. Pre-service teachers to whom this occurs will be excluded and required by the Faculty Academic Progress and Discipline Committee (FAPDC) to 'show cause'. It is imperative that a pre-service teacher in this situation immediately contacts the Professional Experience Office, so that Deakin University may provide appropriate advice to all parties.


To pass the Professional Experience units

Pre-service teachers will be required to fulfil the specified requirements related to each placement in EPR701, EPR702 (705) or EPR703 (706) and work towards achieving the overall competencies. Undertaking tasks and projects related to course work units is also considered part of the professional experience, and may involve interviewing, photographing or recording (audio or video) staff, parents, children or community members for assignment use only.
The practicum days must be completed satisfactorily to pass the professional experience units. Pre-service teachers will not be able to proceed to the next professional experience unit until both the academic and practicum components of the current one have been passed. If a pre-service teacher passes the practicum component but does not pass the academic part,the whole unit including the practicum has to be repeated.

These rules ensure that:

  • pre-service teachers are placed so that course requirements are met
  • the relationship between Deakin University and educational workplaces remains robust from one year to the next, to enable pre-service teachers to be placed into the future
  • pre-service teachers recognise that they have both rights and obligations as pre-service teachers undertaking an early childhood education degree.
  • The rules are the result of accumulated experience with both pre-service teachers and educational workplaces over the years.
  • It is possible for a course panel to consider occasional exemptions to some of the above when reasons for these are presented in writing. The decision of the panel (sometimes made in conjunction with ECA) is final.


Contacting the child care centre/kindergarten

It is the pre-service teachers responsibility to contact the director/manager of the centre or kindergarten and make an appointment to visit the Supervisor in the week before the placement. This allows arrangements for the placement and teaching responsibilities to be made. However it is not the responsibility of the student to organise their own placement, this is done by the Professional Experience Office.

Commitment to the Early Childhood professional experience placements

Pre-service teachers enrol in the course in the knowledge that there is a field based learning component that must be met. Professional experience placements require a full commitment and it is therefore expected that pre-service teachers' other commitments will reflect this accordingly. Pre-service teachers must not arrive late or leave early due to other commitments, as the placement should be the first priority. The placement must be completed in whole days. Half days do not count towards the total number of placement days. In general, pre-service teachers should attend the same times as their supervisor, and average 7.5-8 hours per day including a break.

During birth-2 placement, pre-service teachers are expected to complete at least one early shift and one late shift at the centre, to experience the full range of the centre's activities.

It is expected that pre-service teachers will attend meetings, etc. on the days that they are scheduled to attend the placement. Professional development activities and excursions that occur during the placement are also counted if the Manager/Director/Supervisor indicates the pre-service teacher can attend, and you should take every opportunity to participate in these. Any days missed due to sickness or public holidays must be made up by negotiating with the placement setting and the Deakin University Professional Experience Office immediately.

Withdrawal from a professional experience unit

Pre-service teachers must not withdraw from a professional experience unit without advice from the Early Childhood Strand Co-ordinator and the Deakin University Professional Experience Office, or enrolment in, and completion of, the Master of Teaching or Graduate Diploma of Teaching will be jeopardised.

Special consideration and professional experience placement

In general, an application for Special Consideration (granted in the case of serious medical or other disruption) can only be dealt with in one of 2 ways: either by withdrawal from the professional experience unit code or by having the placement postponed (and completed within the same year). The Special Consideration application must be submitted as per Faculty rules and pre-service teachers must contact the Deakin University Professional Experience Office urgently.

Professional experience requirements, competencies and standards

Each professional experience placement has specific requirements and competencies that need to be met. It is in the best interest of the pre-service teacher to begin working towards the achievement of these as soon as possible. Pre-service teachers should systematically date and document their progress towards these requirements and towards the Standards for Graduate Teachers in Early Childhood Education.

Deakin tasks

While on professional experience placements, pre-service teachers will be working on integrated assessment activities that have been included in the coursework units of the Master of Teaching or Graduate Diploma of Teaching. As part of these tasks, pre-service teachers may be asked to interview or survey staff or children or view particular Kindergarten or provider documentation, procedures etc. This should only be undertaken with the knowledge and permission of the educational workplace authorities.

Orientation to centre

During the first few days of the placement pre-service teachers should:

  • establish relationships with the staff and children
  • develop an understanding of the centre, its philosophy and basic routines, and staff expectations of children, parents and staff. Some centres will have specific policy guidelines for pre-service teachers on placement and pre-service teachers will need to make sure that they are familiar with and adhere to these centre requirements
  • negotiate expectations for the placement with the Supervisor
  • participate fully as a team member in the general management of the children and the environment.
  • On the first day of the placement pre-service teachers should:
  • record observations of individual children and group dynamics to help decide a focus for any unit related tasks or projects
  • discuss the focus for this work with the Supervisor and make intentions clear
  • discuss whether parental permission will be needed for implementation of the unit tasks/projects and attain written permission if necessary.

Participation in program development

Pre-service teachers should contribute to weekly program planning by sharing observational information gathered about children's development and interests. Pre-service teachers should also contribute to the general management of the program by sharing in the supervision of the room, play area, and all sessions and/or transitions including the children's arrival and departure, and assist staff at all times with distributing and packing up equipment, rubbish removal, and general duties such as keeping kitchen and storage areas clean and tidy.

Seeking professional feedback

Students should seek daily feedback from their Supervisor on their participation in the centre program and on their growth as a professional educator.

Assessment of professional experience

The working relationship between the pre-service teacher and the supervisor is critical. Supervisors are asked to contact the Early Childhood Professional Experience Officer, Sue Ross if they wish to discuss the progress of individual pre-service teachers. Phone 03 5227 2059 or email
Information which is given to the pre-service teacher by the Supervisor, the Centre Manager/Director, or a Deakin staff member, should be in a form that:

  • enables the pre-service teacher to critically reflect on his/her own practice with a view to refinement or to try alternative strategies
  • challenges the pre-service teacher to consider different ways of looking at issues with a view to becoming more fully informed within any given situation, (e.g. knowledge, skills, awareness of alternative methodologies and/or strategies).

The recommended procedures for monitoring pre-service teacher progress are

  • observation and supervision of the pre-service teacher in action
  • checking of documentation/ written work, i.e. observations, plans and activities for appropriateness and accuracy etc.
  • continuous feedback (verbal or written) throughout the placement
  • written feedback at the conclusion of each placement.


Early Childhood portfolios

Each pre-service teacher must set up and maintain a Professional Experience Portfolio and be guided by the following as to the type of sections they may like to include, and how the information can be organised.
Please note that the portfolio needs to be kept up to date throughout the placement. Some of the material in the portfolio may also be integrated into relevant unit assignments, and thus form part of the assessment for those units. Also note that pre-service teachers may be asked to submit the portfolio to a Master /Graduate Diploma
of Teaching Course staff member,at the completion of the placement, for confirmation that all written work and portfolio requirements have been met.

Section 1: Requirements, reflective reviews, and attendance records

  • Include the Professional Experience requirements and competencies.
  • Record your attendance by using the Placement Attendance Record Sheet. It is important that this is kept up to date and signed regularly by the Supervisor.


Section 2: Competency and graduate standards records

  • Record strategies for achieving the required competencies and Standards for Graduate Early Childhood Education Teachers
  • Record brief details of how and when each competency/standard has been met, or how you are working towards meeting each competency/standard (this might be cross-referenced to other notes/pages in your Professional Experience Portfolio to avoid repetition)
  • Written feedback from Supervisors.


Section 3: Resource file

  • Collect any resources that may be of value to you, i.e., names and addresses of suppliers, pro-forma of sheets sent to parents, administration, books, songs, poems and any other material related to your resource file.


Section 4: Child observations and program planning

  • Write the first names, dates of birth, and ages of all the children in the group(s) you will work with during your professional experience placement
  • Record child observation records as relevant to the professional experience requirements
  • Program planning and evaluations as relevant to the requirements, detailing evidence of your teaching intentions and processes for assisting children's learning, guidance for staff, time management, and evidence of your teaching and children's learning.


Section 5: Unit related tasks/projects

  • Record documentation according to unit related tasks/projects.


Section 6: General information about the centre

  • overall policies of the centre
  • goals/aims/objectives of the centre
  • centre booklet
  • information relating to admission of new children to the centre
  • fee scales
  • details of staffing in the centre, including the awards which the staff are employed under.
  • centre budget: Who manages this? What subsidies are held?
  • general records maintained by the centre, re monthly reports
  • insurance policies the centre holds and the purpose of each
  • procedures for maintenance of the buildings, grounds and equipment
  • centre's policy regarding children with special needs?
  • excursions and incursions - how these are organised? When do they occur? What forms does the centre use etc.


Section 7: Health, safety and nutrition

  • Note where first aid materials are kept
  • Note fire safety plan and exits
  • Note accident register and other mean of recording accidents
  • Note how the medication book is set up. What procedures does the centre use for the children?
  • Include a copy of a sample weekly menu
  • Note any possible safety hazards/risks in the building, playground or with regard to particular equipment.
  • Does the centre conduct yearly medical/dental examinations? When and how are these organised?



Information for Early Childhood Education Supervisors


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