Language and Culture in the new BC Early Learning Framework (ELF)

BC ELF

In a post a few weeks ago we discussed the new BC Early Learning Framework (ELF), which is the guiding document for educational approaches of childcare providers in British Columbia. We highlighted the key revisions and updates to the ELF and what they mean for childcare. In this post, we will be looking at the revisions to the ELF again with a specific eye on the aspects of language and culture.

Language and Culture in the BC ELF

One of the key changes to the ELF can be observed in the ways language is used to describe Early Childhood Education practices. In some cases, these language shifts may appear intimidating or so incredibly new to experienced educators that they can scare people off of the revisions, however, at the core of these changes are probably the same values that early childhood educators have held as true for a long time. The emphasis is on inquiry-based learning and play, which have been key aspects of ECE for a long time. The difference in the ELF is that it brings the language up to match the goals of inquiry and play so that learning outcomes are not limited by the ways we speak about them.

That being said, this shift in language may not be easy. Learning any new language takes time, and educators can be patient with themselves, as long as they are trying to learn and grow alongside the children in their care.

Some would argue that a second major level shift that helps frame our understanding of the updated ELF is that is written through a lens of post-modernism which is a “way of thinking [that] suggests that theories are socially constructed, therefore, what we already know is not universally true and that there may be multiple truths that exist” (Valle Rivera, 2020, full URL is second link below). Essentially, post-modernism suggests that there are multiple perspectives on the world and that meaning is constructed socially and understanding is relational.

So, what does this mean for educators? According to this lens and the new ELF, this means that the role of educators is to facilitate interactions with and experiences of multiple perspectives, to help children learn to think critically and to support variety.

The new BC ELF

As a final reminder, here is a summary of what the framework is and some of the key changes to the BC ELF taken directly from the BC Government website and reviewed in our previous post:

“B.C.’s Early Learning Framework guides and supports early childhood educators, primary school teachers, principals and vice-principals, college and university educators and researchers, post-secondary students in early childhood and elementary education programs, StrongStart BC facilitators, other early years professionals, communities, governments and families.

The Framework establishes a vision for respectfully living and learning together. It supports the rich early learning experiences of children, provides a focal point for dialogue among British Columbians, and creates a common language and greater understanding of the vital importance of early learning for all young children.

The Early Learning Framework applies to all learning environments, from StrongStart BC programs and primary classrooms to child care settings, preschools and other early childhood development or child health programs. It also

  • Supports dialogue and reflection on the importance of the development and learning of young children
  • Guides early learning programs and activities
  • Encourages discussion with families about their child’s early learning
  • Shapes professional development

Creates a shared image of children to guide the promotion of early learning”

The quote in italics is taken directly from BC ELF. Visit this link for a PDF copy of the framework itself as well as posters and resource lists to help better understand the new ELF.

For our highlights on the new BC ELF, please read this post: Highlights of the New BC ELF.

Sources:

Supporting new culture educators using the revised ELF
What is Post Modernism in Early Childhood Education.
The BC ELF.

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