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Bringing it all together
Children’s learning is integrated and interconnected. The knowledge, skills and dispositions developed in one learning area will often be used by children as they learn across the others. The following example shows how educators can use the decision making process to make intentional, purposeful and thoughtful decisions that draw on their professional knowledge and in-depth knowledge of each child. It also shows how they can partner with families to guide planning for children’s learning.
As you read the story below, move your cursor over the words and you'll see relevant learning area boxes expand.
Story of learning
Jason chooses to spend most of his time in the sandpit during outside play. He’s learnt how to use the digger to move sand around and make roads. He has been doing this most of the term. He seems interested in discovering how he can use sand in different ways. Mr Ben was visiting pre-Prep today and decided to model other ways to manipulate sand.
A small group of children, including Jason, began helping Mr Ben make turtles and shark sculptures out of the sand. Later, during outdoor play, Miss Lisa noticed Jason sitting on a digger truck in the sandpit. She approached the sandpit and began playing in the sand.
Miss Lisa: Jason, can you tell me what an elephant looks like so I can make one out of sand?
Jason: Elephant e big.
Miss Lisa: Yes elephants are very big so I will need to make a big body with the sand. What else do elephants have?
Jason: Em got long nose
Jason: Em got big thangela.
Miss Lisa: Wow! You do know a lot about elephants. I wonder why they have got such big ears?
Jason: Em too fat…I can’t carry m.
During this conversation, Lachlan came over and watched and listened.
Mr Ben: Have you ever seen a real elephant Jason?
Jason: No, but I bin see m on TV and I bin look m in book.
He then made a noise like an elephant and Lachlan began doing this as well. They ran off together pretending to be elephants.
Confidence and resilience
Listening and negotiation
Safety and security
Involvement in learning
Suggestions for extending and enriching learning include, for example:
- spontaneous songs and rhymes, for example, ‘Five grey elephants balancing’ (numeracy – number concepts)
- translation through first language-speaking educators or family and community members (language-awareness of Standard Australian English [SAE]
- providing props or making them with children, for example, trunks out of stockings, big paper ears stapled to elastic to wear on heads. Asking children for their ideas – 'I wonder what we need to make a trunk?' (involvement in learning). Do all children know about elephants?
- revisiting the question: 'Are there elephants here where we live?' With all children — 'What animals do we have?' Label in SAE and first language (with first languge-speaking adult – oral language). Using visuals to support understanding. Ask children how we can find out more — research using computers (investigating environments)
- contextualising songs to include local animal names — ‘Five green turtles swimming’ — include children’s ideas (literacy). Invite families to contribute local knowledge (identity and belonging)
- revisiting the noises animals make with all children, for example, ‘Can you remember...' (involvement in learning)
- including books, pictures or models of elephants next to painting easels or clay table — provide children with repeated opportunities to revisit and refine their artistic representations (investigating environments)
- drawing children’s attention to the shape of digger truck and shape of elephant’s trunk. 'Could the digger become an elephant?' (numeracy — measurement concepts long, longer, bigger, heavy). Educators add complexity to children’s thinking.
- extending interest in sand play by incorporating sand sculpting. Mixing plaster with sand allows it to be molded and set and then it can be carved. Make moulds in the sandpit and fill them with plaster, like the elephant’s footprint or their own.
- do the children know that elephants can swim? 'What other animals swim?' (investigating environments)
- do the children know about the story – 'Horton Hears a Who!'. What other stories about elephants/other animals could we share? What are the children’s ideas? (literacy).