OK. so what are you doing in your school?

Some questions that you may like to consider when sharing your reflections.

What changes did you need to make in your programming, preparation and practice to adopt an inquiry approach to teaching and learning?

St Joseph's Belmore Reflection
This year in Kindergarten we have taken deliberate steps to redesign our learning space and teaching practices in accordance with Early Learning Pedagogy. These changes have included:
  • Play-based learning, which is a context for learning through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they engage actively with people, objects and representations (ELYF, 2009). In our classroom the children are able to experience play relating to a purpose: they have opportunities to paint, construct, act out, discuss, use technology relating to our integrated unit, stories, rhymes and experiences taught in the classroom. As this is their understanding, they are able to make connections with their existing and new knowledge. To link this to syllabus outcomes the children then record their responses to the task through drawing, writing or both.
  • Intentional learning involves educators being deliberate, purposeful and thoughtful in their decisions and action. Intentional teaching is the opposite of teaching by rote or continuing with traditions simply because things have ‘always been done that way’ (ELYF, 2009). We have included intentional teaching by giving children the skills to become independent learners: self regulating behaviour, asking questions when they don't understand, defining roles during group work. We have been very intentional also, when teaching children to use technology: explaining every step we take, from why we chose to use a certain program to how to use the internet safely. We have found that the children then have enough skill to have a go and not be afraid to take risks using technology in the classroom as well at home.
  • Adapting the learning environment to better meet our students' needs. We decided at the beginning of the year to have an open planned classroom with different learning centres set up permanently e.g. dress up corner, painting station, book corner, shop, computers and puppet show (we were constrained by lack of space to do anymore). We also set up desks to allow for flexible learning and groupings. Children are also encouraged to work outside when the task allows for it.

In order to incorporate these ideas into our daily practice we had to become more comfortable with relinquishing control and allowing the children to become more responsible for their actions and their learning. Some examples of this include:
  • Children have choice in where they sit for each activity, apart from group work, eg, desk, floor, quiet area, next to a friend, alone etc. This allows them to make decisions about how they learn.
  • Since children have flexible seating arrangements, they do have their 'own' stationery, this encourages the children to share and be more responsible for school property.
  • Children work in collaborative groups throughout the day as part of language maths and integration lessons.
  • Using an Inquiry Learning approach for our integrated units.

Click here to view photos of our Early Learning Kindergarten Space. Hope you find it helpful.