Being a learner

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Investigating environments

A child explores, investigates and connects with people, land, place, time and technology.

They:

  • transfer and adapt what they have learned from one context to another and from one time to another
  • resource their own learning through connecting with people, place, technologies, and natural and processed materials
  • use information and communication technologies (ICTs) to access information, investigate ideas and represent their thinking.

Educators focus on the following aspects of children’s learning:

  • ability to transfer and adapt knowledge and skills used in one situation to another and from one time to another
  • interest and engagement in finding out how things work, how things grow, how things move and how to make things happen, including cause and effect
  • confidence to plan, resource and organise their own learning
  • interest in investigating the ways ICTs can be used to access information, communicate, entertain, design, compose and create and represent
  • interest in and engagement with the traditional and contemporary visual art, craft, live music and performance of the community and the wider world.

Educators intentionally promote this learning, for example, when they:

  • build on children’s knowledge of people, land, place, time and technology, for example, knowledge of local environmental cycles including seasonal change, bush food and seasonal animals, relationships, hunting, fishing, tides, heat, wind, oceans and navigation
  • invite Elders to share knowledge about local features of spiritual significance
  • adapt stories, songs and games to reflect local names, places and phenomena, in first languages and Standard Australian English
  • research and become familiar with aspects of the local community and the cultural protocols pertaining to them
  • incorporate opportunities for children to investigate the ways technology is used within the context of community, for example, mobile phone networks, computers, radio, rock breaking, prawn farming, mining, satellite navigation
  • provide access to computers, software, projectors, lights, digital cameras, scanners, white boards, mobile phones, iPads, keyboards and other forms of digital technology to support learning
  • provide access to a wide range of natural and manufactured materials and resources — clay, rocks, pebbles, sand, water, fabrics, palm leaves, feathers, shells, drift wood, wood, fibres, natural dyes and pigments, ochre
  • provide a range of scientific resources to support investigations — hoses, pumps, magnets, funnels, scales, magnifying glasses, wheels, pulleys
  • incorporate opportunities for children to explore culturally valued artistic representation, material culture and craft
  • introduce opportunities for children to work alongside community artists, musicians, craftspeople, performers and musicians
  • provide opportunities to investigate the sounds, smells and tastes of the community and the communities of others
  • provide many opportunities to explore sound, rhythm and beat through traditional and contemporary music, movement and dance.

Educators look for evidence of children’s learning, for example:

In the familiar contexts of family and community when children:

  • show interest in and ability to watch, repeat and practise the actions of others to learn
  • show an ability to orient themselves within the wider geographic area
  • comment on natural phenomena, animals, birds, sea creatures, plants, landmarks, and familiar aspects of land and place
  • notice and comment on changes in the environment — seasons, shadows, reflections and the passing of the day
  • have experience with a range of digital technologies, for example, satellite navigation, mobile phones, internet.

In new and unfamiliar contexts of an early learning program when children:

  • with the support of first language-speaking adults, share their knowledge and connection with the natural world
  • show some interest in investigating how things work
  • show some interest in taking photos using digital cameras and show these to peers and adults
  • follow an adult’s lead to plan, organise and resource their learning and explore ways of using materials and resources
  • interact with computers to navigate games, for example, manipulate the mouse, scroll, navigate the screen, touch the screen with the support and encouragement of familiar adults
  • show interest in engaging with the visual art, craft, music and performance of their community and others.

In the familiar contexts of a culturally secure early learning program when children:

  • confidently share their knowledge, connection and interest in the natural and technological world
  • experiment and demonstrate delight in finding out how things work, cause and effect, and how to make things happen — blowing, pushing, pulling, rolling, sinking, swinging, taking apart and putting together
  • apply knowledge learned in one context, time or situation to another
  • experiment with ways to create music
  • use websites, interactive whiteboards, books, maps and posters to access information and investigate ideas
  • use a digital camera to record images and voices, and reflect on their own learning
  • experiment with colour, line, shape, texture, size and repetition as they paint, draw, sculpt and model using objects, tools and materials in new and novel ways.

As you reflect on practices, ask yourself

In what ways do I use the cultural tools of the community to inspire children’s thinking?

What do I know about children’s knowledge of land, place and technology?

Have I considered the sacred nature of children’s connectedness to the land? Are there protocols that need to be investigated before discussing certain aspects of land and place?

Have I consulted with Elders and community members to learn more about land, place and technology within the context of community?

Are children able to represent their ideas in their own ways and are materials always available to support children’s creative endeavours?

Are children’s creative representations displayed respectfully?

What do I know about children’s knowledge of ICTs? Do they know how to use, and have access to, cameras, the internet, mobile phones, satellite, iPads, DVDs and CDs?