The sMAG (School Music Action Group) Victoria welcomes the clear and explicit inclusion of Music Education requirements within the Victorian Early Years Learning Development Framework, http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/childhood/providers/edcare/veyldframework.pdf . We congratulate the Victorian government on the improvements that have been outlined in the Early Childhood Review and particularly the explicit requirement of inclusion of music education in 4 of the 5 key delivery areas in the VEYLD Framework for educators; Identity, Community, Wellbeing and Communication. The inclusion of musical interaction as one of the ways in which children form a sense of identity, connect with each other and their world is welcome. The recognition in the VEYLD Framework of singing and other modes of musical expression as part of a young child’s means to communicate effectively is also to be commended. The identification of the important role of all early childhood educators in promoting musical interactions with young children is welcomed.
The understanding that all children should have access to and enjoy interacting musically with teachers and one another in a learning community, is reflected in the pages of this document. Further, the inclusion of music literacy as one of the ways in which children understand how symbols and pattern systems work in aural art forms (p.31) reflects current thinking about children's growth and development (Collins, 2014; Williams, Barrett, Welch, Abad, & Broughton, 2015). It is to be hoped that this will go some way towards ensuring all educators meet the requirements of the VEYLD Framework. With adequate data collection, accountability structures and pre service training, the expected outcomes will be strengthened.
In the reality of our increasingly globalised and pluralistic society, we also recognise the value of more inclusive policies. It is therefore heartening to note that the VEYLD Framework for educators addresses the importance of inter-cultural aspects of music-making and dance that are essential for personal and social well being. Under the Early Years Learning and Development Outcome 3. We read that one indication of children’s’ wellbeing is their response
“through movement to traditional and contemporary music, dance and storytelling of their own and other’s cultures” (p.23)
With sound accountability structures in place to ensure the VEYLD Framework is implemented in every setting, equity and access in Music Education are more likely to be addressed in the Birth – Year 2 life stage. This document will assist Early Years Educators in applying their knowledge to the soon to be released Music Education Guide Recommendation 6 of the Victorian Inquiry into the Extent, Benefits and Potential of Music Education (2013). http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/file_uploads/Music_Education_Final_041113_FJWsJhBy.pdf We believe the link between the current measures being implemented will improve music outcomes for all young children of Victoria.
We plan to have further discussions with DET in the coming weeks and believe that the goodwill evidenced throughout the 2015 processes can be continued to the benefit of all Victorian students and school communities.
Music as a key focus for The Education State white paper http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/about/educationstate/launch.pdf has brought and will continue to bring about many improvements against the Vic Inquiry into the Extent, Benefits and Potential of Music Education (2013). http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/file_uploads/Music_Education_Final_041113_FJWsJhBy.pdf . The explicit inclusion of learning and assessment requirements in the VEYLD Framework again is an outworking of this welcome commitment from the Victorian Andrews' government. We would see there now to be a clear need to implement Recommendation 1 on data collection and accountability structures, as well as, Recommendation 5 on a clear promotion plan to ensure that every educator delivers on the VEYLD Framework. In order for all of this to be achieved, attention now needs to be drawn towards Chapter 5 of the Victorian Inquiry findings http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/file_uploads/Music_Education_Final_041113_FJWsJhBy.pdf where clear recommendations and evidence is presented to call for improvements within pre service teacher training in music education to effectively deliver on the new VEYLD Framework. We would hope that today’s Victorian budget makes some allowance for these measures into the coming years.
We look forward to an ongoing conversation and consultation process as stakeholders to see ongoing improvements into the future.