ORICL: A new tool to improve practice for children birth to two years

Linda Harrison, Kate Williams, Sheena Elwick, Gerry Mulhearn, Magdalena Janus, Sandie Wong, Laura McFarland

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation onlypeer-review


Central to ensuring the rights of our youngest citizens is the provision of high-quality early childhood services for children aged birth to two years. The importance and complexity of monitoring and improving the quality of infant–toddler education and care services has been underlined internationally (OECD, 2017; WHO, 2013) and in Australia (CCCH, 2018), yet little has been done to ensure high quality and provide the strong start that our youngest and most vulnerable children deserve.

To address the challenge of achieving quality ECE programs for birth to two-year-olds educators can use a new Australian tool—Observing, Reflecting and Improving Children’s Learning (ORICL)—in their daily practice. In this presentation, we will describe how ORICL was co-developed with a panel of 20 early childhood experts from across Australia and evaluated by educators in centre- and home-based services across four states. Unlike existing instruments developed to assess quality in infant–toddler care, ORICL focuses on the individual child rather than the group. It guides educators to observe and reflect on the context within which young children are learning across five domains aligned with the Learning Outcomes of the Early Years Learning Framework.

Pilot findings involving 62 children (aged 7 to 33 months) and 21 educators showed that the ORICL items work well. Educators reported that using ORICL:
• increased their ability to observe and document children’s learning
• enabled a more holistic understanding of the children in their care
• helped them to focus on and reflect critically on their own practices
• promoted professional conversations with colleagues
• supported communication with families.

By helping educators ‘see’ things they hadn’t noticed before, ORICL enables individually targeted educational planning that helps enhance child outcomes. It has high potential to have a positive impact on the work of early childhood educators and stimulate enhanced care and education for our youngest citizens.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 07 Sept 2021
EventEarly Childhood Australia National Conference 2021 - Virtual
Duration: 06 Sept 202108 Sept 2021


ConferenceEarly Childhood Australia National Conference 2021
Abbreviated titleYoung citizens: The right to play, learn and be heard


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