​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​What children learn

Children learn at different rates and their readiness for learning varies with circumstances, previous experience and the context in which their learning takes place. In Victoria, learning frameworks and the curriculum support learning as a continuous process from the early years until children graduate from school. Learning continues as young adults commence further study at institutes of training and further education (TAFE), universities or through employment.

The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) in partnership with the Department of Education and Training (DET) supports children's learning by providing:

  • the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF) for the early years
  • the Victorian Curriculum F-10 for the first eleven years of schooling; and
  • senior secondary certificates of education and/or vocational education and training, for students in the senior years of schooling.  

The Early Years​

From birth, children live and learn with others.  Children's learning and development at each stage of life forms the foundation for the next. During the period from birth to eight years, children experience more rapid brain development and acquire more skills and knowledge than in any other period in their lives. 

Over the first eight years of a child' life there is a gradual shift in emphasis from play based experiences to more structured learning. Experiences that focus on children's interests are at the core of effective learning programs.

Early childhood professionals including practitioners who work directly with children in early childhood settings, family support workers, play therapists, health professionals, education officers in cultural organisations and school teachers,  work together and with families to achieve learning and development outcomes for  all children.

Effective adult support and engagement is critical for children's learning.

Learning includes problem solving, inquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating how things work and why they work. Play provides many opportunities to practice new skills and knowledge. Active play-based, hands on experiences promote enthusiasm and engagement in learning and development.

The Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF) describes five learning outcomes for young children and it supports the professionals who work with children from birth up to eight years of age to plan appropriate learning programs.  

Read more about the five learning and development outcomes for young children

Foundation to level 10


For children in Victorian government and Catholic schools, the learning undertaken from Foundation (typically in Prep, the first year of schooling) to level10 (usually year 10) is based on the Victorian Curriculum F-10 which is provided by the VCAA.  Independent schools may use this curriculum as a model or use other approved curriculum as a base for their teaching and learning programs. The Victorian Curriculum F-10 applies from 2017 and for 2016 schools may continue to offer the AusVELS.

Schools may also use curriculum content from the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDFin planning for children's learning in the F-2 years. The learning and development outcomes in the VEYDLF are linked to the Victorian Curriculum F-10. The Victorian Curriculum F-10 provides opportunities for students to develop key knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies, in order for them to become life-long learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens. 

The Victorian Curriculum F-10  recognises that children grow and progress  at different rates along a learning continuum and the curriculum presents both content and achievement standards at each level of the continuum. Teachers use the curriculum to plan learning programs and to assess students' progression of learning so they can understand where the child is in their learning and plan the next steps in their learning.

Personalising the learning

Practitioners regularly assess children's learning progress.  They analyse the data from assessments and use the information to help plan the next steps in the child's  learning program.  A group of children will follow a common learning program which may be adapted for some children to provide them with learning activities that address particular learning needs. The learning program is designed to ensure all children progress in their learning. Assessments inform practitioners, children and parents about where the child is in their learning at a point in time.

A typical learning plan:

  •  sits within whole-school curriculum planning
  •  links to learning goals co-constructed by the teacher with the learners
  •  includes appropriate learning activities and assessment tasks
  •  allows for alternative learning pathways 
  • provides alternative means for learners to demonstrate achievement 
  •  includes suggested home activities, if appropriate
  • has agreed dates for ongoing monitoring and review.​

Read more about learnin​g at the different levels of the Victorian F-10 curriculum (AusVELS):

Read about the Victorian F-10 curriculum​ 

Senior secondary years


In the senior years of schooling, students can choose between studying for the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) or the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL), and may undertake one or more Vocational Education and Training certificates (VET).

The VCE is the certificate the majority of students in Victoria receive on satisfactory completion of their secondary education. The VCE provides diverse pathways to further study or training at university or TAFE and to employment.

The VCAL is a 'hands-on' option for students in Years 11 and 12. Like the VCE, the VCAL is a recognised senior secondary qualification. Unlike the VCE, which is widely used by students as a pathway to university, the VCAL focuses on 'hands-on learning'. Students who do the VCAL are more likely to be interested in going on to training at TAFE, doing an apprenticeship, or getting a job after completing Year 12.

VET allows students to include nationally recognised vocational qualifications within a senior secondary certificate.​

Read more about VCE,  VCAL,  or  VET​.​







page updated 11/05/2016