MTOP – My Time Our Place Framework has been developed by the Council of Australian Governments as part of the National Quality Standard (NQS). The framework aims to provide guidelines for educators to create an environment where they can extend and enrich children’s development within before and after school care as well as vacation care.
MTOP builds on the foundations laid by the EYLF outcomes model. The MTOP is aimed directly at school age children between the ages of 6 and 12 years where as the EYLF is aimed at preschool age children, up to 5 years of age. The EYLF is designed for early childhood educators while the MTOP is designed for primary school educators. The EYLF focuses on the preparation of children to transition to school while the MTOP framework aims to develop and nurture these foundation skills throughout their school years.
The learning outcomes linked to MTOP are therefore similar but a little more involved than those of the EYLF. Each outcome is broken down into subcategories which are looking for evidence that the child. An educator’s guide to the MTOP follows:
Evidence that this outcome is apparent when the child conveys a sense of being secure and belonging. This can be displayed by establishing and maintaining respectful, trusting relationships with their peers and educators as well as using effective routines to make predicted transitions. The child is also able to confidently express their feelings and ideas to others while responding to suggestions and ideas from others. This sense of security is further evidenced by the child being able to initiate conversations and interact with trusted educators as well as exploring and engaging with their social environments through play.
Evidence of this is apparent when the child can freely choose and participate in a variety of play and leisure opportunities while displaying an awareness of the rights and needs of others and welcoming new challenges and discoveries.
The child is also aware of peers/educators opinions about their efforts and displays an increasing ability to co-operate and collaborate with others. This new sense of autonomy makes the child capable of coping with the unexpected and able to take considered risks in their decision-making.
A developing sense of resilience and agency allows the child to recognise their individual achievements and those of others while displaying a capacity to self-regulate, negotiate and share behaviours. Resilience will also make the child capable of persisting after not succeeding the first time and when faced with challenges. At this stage the child is prepared to do their best.
This is evident when children display a sense of self confidence in themselves, their heritage and culture. With this self-confidence they become capable of exploring different identities and viewpoints through play and discussion. Their sense of self allows them to reach out for help when needed and to celebrate the achievements of others.
This is evident when children are comfortable with their peer group and are capable of relating to others within it They show interest in and care for the feelings of their peers.
This is evident when children recognise that they have a rightful place in the community, look to be inclusive in their play, become curious about the wider world and are prepared to explore new social experiences. This will result in them generally responding positively to others and being willing to contribute fairly to decision making processes that affect them.
This is evident when children: develop an understanding of cultural differences and demonstrate a preparedness to respect differences, recognise similarities and work to include others.
This is evident when children become aware of social and physical exclusion and begin to recognise unfairness and work towards resolving these issues. They also begin to think critically about behaviour in fair and unfair terms. Continued development allows them to appreciate and understand how identities and stereotypes can be created through media and text.
This is apparent when children become increasingly aware of natural and constructed environments. With this awareness comes respects and some understanding of the impact humans can have on the environment. This awareness of the fragility and interdependence of all living things will in time lead to exploration of environmental issues and an appreciation of both natural and constructed environments. With this awareness will come a willingness to act with moral and ethical integrity
Children display these strengths when they exhibit signs of being social and emotionally well adjusted. To this end they are liable to at various times exhibit signs of trust and confidence while being able to demonstrate happiness and satisfaction.
Children who are socially and emotionally “well” are likely to celebrate the achievements of others as well as their own. This is supported by an increased ability and willingness to cooperate and work collaboratively with others. While being socially comfortable and aware, the child is comfortable in moments of solitude.
This social and emotional well-being will manifest in their ability to self-regulate and manage their emotions while making choices, accepting challenges, and taking considered risks. This maturity will see them use moral reasoning in their problem solving
Children exhibiting these traits are happy, healthy, safe and connected to others. They are capable of regulating emotions by concentrating, focusing and calming. Their physical development can be measured by their ability to combine gross and fine motor movements and balance that enables them to achieve complex movements in dance, creative movement, drama, and sports. Fine motor skills will allow them to manipulate equipment and tools with greater dexterity and skill.
This increasing awareness will manifest an in a developing awareness of healthy lifestyle choices, good nutrition and an enthusiasm for physical play.
Children naturally exhibit most of these traits when they follow and extend their own interests while investigating, imagining and exploring ideas. This leads them to initiate and contribute to play and leisure experiences using their own ideas. These traits then allow the child to take part in a range of meaningful inquiry-based experiences and to persevere with difficult tasks leading to feelings of fulfillment and achievement.
Children display these qualities when applying different thinking strategies to address situations and solve problems. They are able to adapt these strategies to new situations. These skills lead to an ability to create and use representation to organise, record and communicate ideas and concepts. Problem solving capabilities also lead to an ability to make predictions about daily activities, aspects of the natural world and environments. Concepts of cause and effect as well as reflective thinking begin to emerge in their experience.
This is evident when children:
● make connections between experiences,
● concepts and processes
● use the processes of play, reflection and investigation to solve problems
● try out strategies that were effective to solve problems in one situation in a new context
Exploration of new ideas, tools, theories and media enables learning through experimentation, imagination and creativity.
Children confidently display these abilities both verbally and non-verbally in a variety of situations including group, family, and communities. The child will be able to clarify, challenge, negotiate and debate with others while they explore concepts and ideas.
When children enjoy stories, verse and lyrics in a variety of forms and are capable of comprehending and using texts to follow instructions they are displaying these skills.
Children display these skills when using media and/or technology for fun and to make meaning. They may use language to create roles, scripts and ideas or use creative arts such as drawing, painting, sculpture, drama, dance, movement, music and storytelling.
They may use technologies in day to day life such as recording daily activities in program journals.
To succeed with MTOP, educators need to plan to observe children at play and in learning situations and assess them against MTOP standards. Educators will need to plan the curriculum to enable them to assess children’s progress against each MTOP outcome.