Enriching educational practice through the Observe, Reflect, Improve Children's Learning (ORICL) tool for infant-toddler educators

Sheena Elwick, Linda Harrison, Sandie Wong, Susan Irvine, Rebecca Bull, Sheila Degotardi, Belinda Davis, Peter Humburg, Magdalena Janus

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation onlypeer-review


Quality infant-toddler pedagogy and practice is a significant challenge for Australia’s early childhood education (ECE) sector. By the age of 2 years, 59% of Australian children attend a long day care (LDC) or family day care (FDC) service for up to 30 hours per week. Despite overwhelming evidence that the first 2 years is a critical period for children’s learning, development and wellbeing, and that high quality ECE benefits child outcomes, infant-toddler educators in Australia only require a Certificate-level qualification and report a lack of preparedness for providing high-quality ECE for this age group. This presentation outlines an Australian Research Council Linkage Project that aims to provide infant-toddler educators with opportunities to develop specialist knowledge and skills, including skills of observing and reflecting upon the context within which individual children are learning and developing, to stimulate enhanced ECE practice for our youngest citizens. Building on ground-breaking pilot work demonstrating the initial acceptability and usefulness of the ORICL tool, the project’s multi-disciplinary team in collaboration with 11 ECE Partner Organisations will test ORICL’s capabilities as a digital tool to guide and upskill infant-toddler educators; ORICL provides a validated set of domains and stimulus items that are aligned with the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF). The project will also interrogate the social validity of ORICL using principles of implementation science; conduct rigorous psychometric testing of the ORICL domains from a large dataset of child observation records collected via the project’s custom-built, secure data collection portal; and co-design a Practice Quality Codebook and Rubric for evaluating pedagogical practice and change over time. These three components will occur concurrently over a 2-year period of data collection involving 130 LDC/FDC services across regional and metropolitan areas of NSW, VIC, QLD, WA, SA, ACT. Expected outcomes include: (1) generation of the evidence needed to assess the uptake and impact of ORICL, its usefulness as a professional learning resource, and its coherence and reliability as a measure of infant-toddler learning experiences; (2) advanced knowledge of infant-toddler pedagogy and practice that will support evidence-based local and/or system-wide innovations and policies to improve the quality of ECE for infants and toddlers; and, (3) a rubric for assessing practice and practice improvement with demonstrated links to the EYLF and the National Quality Standards, based on educator-produced evidence of practices and communication with families.


ConferenceAustralian Association of Research in Education (AARE) Conference 2023
Abbreviated titleTruth, Voice, Place: Critical junctures for educational research

We look forward to welcoming you to the AARE 2023 Conference hosted by the University of Melbourne. The theme of the conference this year is Truth, Voice, Place: Critical junctures for educational research. We invite education researchers to explore critical junctures in the field. We are excited to bring together a diverse community of scholars to engage in meaningful discussions and exchange ideas on the pressing issues facing education research today.

As you will see in the Call for Papers, one immediate context for the conference theme is the upcoming referendum on recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution. This represents one of the many critical junctures facing educational researchers today, both locally and internationally. The conference aims to provide a welcome forum for scholars to discuss the implications of this historic moment, alongside the intersection of education research with broader local and global change.

We welcome submissions from education researchers across all areas of the field, including curriculum, policy, pedagogy, assessment, and leadership. We hope that the conference will provide opportunities for transformation, new possibilities, and new collaborations.
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