Affinity Launches Lifelong Learning Certification

Affinity Launches Lifelong Learning Certification process

More than 5000 employees will be eligible for a sector-first professional development program and certification being offered by Affinity Education Group, with more than 1200 educators and teachers already achieving the first stage of certification as of May 2024. 

Affinity CEO Tim Hickey said the decision to progress with a formal certification process for employees was aligned with the Affinity Values of Going Above and Beyond and Delivering Outstanding Professionalism. 

“Lifelong Learning Curriculum Certification is another step that recognises the invaluable role of early childhood education professionals,” Mr Hickey said. 

“We are extremely proud of the work our people are doing, and the difference in our centres when our Lifelong Learning Curriculum is in action is unmistakable in terms of quality and outcomes for children,” he said.  

Just over 12 months since the formal launch of the Lifelong Learning Curriculum to Affinity’s employees, Affinity’s educators and teachers are now acting as positive advocates for the approach.  

School-based trainee Madeline Adams is just 16 years old and is completing a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education through the Affinity Learning Academy.  

In addition to her standard study clusters making up the Cert III, Madeline is concurrently studying the Lifelong Learning Curriculum through Affinity’s online ‘eLearns’ – self-paced learning modules which deepen educator understanding of early childhood theory and practice. 

“The nursery has been my favourite room to work in since I started my traineeship,” says Madeline. 

“I loved that the babies calmed down when I picked them up, so when I learned about the Circle of Security in my Lifelong Learning Curriculum training, my mind was kind of blown,” she explained. 

“Because of the Lifelong Learning Curriculum, we have set up special zones for the babies like the Stretch and Grow Zone, and I feel I am connecting better to the children.” 

Early Childhood Teacher Caroline (Caz) Schaap is more than 20 years beyond the trainee stage, an established and loved Bachelor-qualified teacher in Victoria who was awarded Affinity’s Early Childhood Teacher of the Year in 2023. 

Early Childhood Teacher Caroline with her students at Milestones Early Learning Ringwood has embraced Affinity’s Lifelong Learning Curriculum.

Caz plays an active role in Affinity’s national Early Childhood Teacher community of practice, who collaborate fortnightly online, and says the Lifelong Learning Curriculum has been a ‘game-changer’ for children in her classroom. 

“In the three to five year old ‘School Readiness’ curriculum, Affinity is providing additional programs which are absolutely invaluable to us as Early Childhood Teachers,” Caz explains. 

“We have our state-based curriculum to implement, and we are guided by the Early Years Learning Framework, but the Lifelong Learning Curriculum offers so much more. 

“My children have benefitted so much from the Positive Living Skills program which is endorsed by Beyond Blue, and incorporates mental wellbeing and resilience resources which benefit both children and educators. 

“In 2022 I implemented the Big Thinkers STEM curriculum covering Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics concepts which was designed by Dr Tess Boyle and is available exclusively to us as teachers with Affinity.” 

Commencing May 2024, Affinity Education Group is offering all trainees and educators the opportunity to become Lifelong Learning Curriculum Certified – a professional development qualification which both Madeline and Caz will use to enhance their status as early childhood professionals, and to increase their opportunities for senior educational roles within Affinity. 

How Lifelong Learning Curriculum (LLC) Certification Works: 

1st Stage: Theory Certification – Educator completes online Learning Hub Module 

2nd Stage: Environments Certification – Educator sets up room and shows evidence of Lifelong Learning Curriculum in their room. 

3rd Stage: Articulation Certification – Educator is able to articulate and explain the Lifelong Learning Curriculum benefits and elements for that age group. 

4th Stage: Program and Planning Certification – Educator gives evidence of the Lifelong Learning Curriculum incorporated into their program and planning cycles, and is using at least two of the relevant programs Affinity provides. 

Upon completion of all four certification stages, the educator is recognised as a Lifelong Learning Curriculum Specialist for that age group, with the first LLC Specialists expected to graduate in September 2024. 

After achieving Specialist status in all three age groups, the educator is recognised as a Lifelong Learning Curriculum Expert. LLC Experts will be eligible for additional senior educational leadership roles within Affinity, including Senior Educational Leader and other roles which attract above award wages.  

Lifelong Learning Curriculum Education Manager Jola Sung said the Certification program recognises and celebrates the theoretical knowledge and outstanding professionalism that Affinity hopes to instill in our Educators and Teachers. 

“Investing in our people’s professional development is important for us at Affinity Education, and our new Lifelong Learning Curriculum Certification recognises the Affinity way of delivering our approved learning framework – the Early Years Learning Framework, by incorporating credible and research proven theories and programs,” Jola said. 

“Ensuring our educators and teachers are taught the Circle of Security, the Abecedarian approach and how to conduct inquiry-based projects, along with encouragement to treat environments as the third teacher is our way of supporting our Educators and Teachers to go above and beyond in how we implement the EYLF in everyday practice with children,” she said.