Educators focus on the following aspects of children’s learning:
- Delight and wonder in the environment and world around them.
- Curiosity, motivation and enthusiasm for learning.
- The ability to sustain involvement and concentration in play and learning.
- Awareness of useful strategies and skills for learning.
- Desire to find out, research, discover, test, solve problems and consider possibilities.
- Confidence to become involved in and contribute to learning conversations.
- Willingness to pursue interests, carry out plans and participate in ongoing investigations.
- Creativity and imagination in representing thoughts and ideas.
- Ability to generate ideas and solutions to innovate and invent.
- Ability to revisit and reflect on the learning process.
Educators intentionally promote this learning, for example, when they:
- build on culturally valued ways of knowing and learning, for example, through storytelling, visual and kinesthetic learning, relationships and connections
- provide multiple opportunities for children to creatively represent their thoughts and ideas through the visual arts, music, dance, performance, imaginative play, puppetry and storytelling
- encourage experimentation by adding complexity to children’s thinking and ideas – ‘perhaps we could try this way?’, ‘can you think of another way?’, ‘I wonder what happens if we try it this way?’
- make connections to past, present and future learning – ‘can you remember how you did it before?’
- use explicit language to describe thinking processes – ‘that’s a good idea’, ‘let’s think about that a bit more’, ‘we could solve this together’
- question children about their thinking – ‘how do you know?’, ‘can you show me how to do it?’, ‘how could we find out?’
- celebrate new ideas and creative ways of doing things create environments that encourage collaborative and independent learning
- map and document learning for the purposes of revisiting and reflecting with children, for example, ‘let’s take a photo, so we can remember’, ‘we can write it down’
- provide reference books, pictures, posters, maps and technologies to support children’s investigations
- ensure that the environment can accommodate creative experiences and ongoing investigations that continue over a number of days
- involve children in reflecting on their own learning by revisiting documented experiences
- display delight, encouragement and enthusiasm for children’s attempts to gain new skills and knowledge.
Documenting and reflecting
Educators look for evidence of children’s learning. Examples are listed below.
In the familiar contexts of family and community when children:
- demonstrate curiosity, enjoyment and enthusiasm for learning
- use their skills as an observer to learn
- watch carefully what others are doing, imitate their actions and repeat ways of using objects and materials
- look to other children for support in learning, for example, older brothers, sisters, cousins and friends
- use ‘where’ as an important and frequent question, for example, ‘where your mob from’, and avoiding questions about ‘why’ or ‘when’
- prefer collaborating with others and achieving collectively.
In new and unfamiliar contexts of an early learning program when children:
- show interest by listening to or observing others engage with learning materials
- prefer to listen to or watch others discuss and solve problems
- respond to demonstration and modelled ways for exploring materials
- show caution about making mistakes
- contribute their ideas in small group situations with the support of familiar or like-speaking adults
- explore ways to use materials to represent their thoughts and ideas in creative ways with encouragement and support
- make choices about and sustain interest in learning experiences with support.
In the familiar contexts of a culturally secure early learning program when children:
- sustain concentration to identify problems and experiment with solutions
- use novel and creative strategies to achieve tasks
- contribute ideas in group discussions
- seek out and organise new learning opportunities individually and with others
- ask questions to enquire about and extend their interests
- reflect and give reasons for their choices
- use books and technology to enquire about topics
- record ideas, share stories and make plans with others
- comment on their own learning, for example, ‘I’ve got an idea’, ‘I think ...’.