Bringing it all together


​​​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.

Story of l​​earning​

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. Miss Lisa was visiting pre-Prep today and decided to model other ways to manipulate sand.​


A small group of children, including Jason, began helping Miss Lisa make turtles and shark sculptures out of the sand. (Proud and strong)

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. (Learner)

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.

Lisa talked with Jason about how an elephant has a trunk and that it is long and what an elephant uses a trunk for. (Healthy and safe)

Jason: Em got big thangela. (Active participant)

Miss Lisa: Wow! You do know a lot about elephants. (Communicator)

Miss Lisa: 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.

Miss Lisa: 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.​


Being proud and strong

Confidence and resilience

  • Confidence to share experiences

Being an active participant

Listening and negotiation

  • Respecting the ideas of others

Positive relationships

  • Taking turns, waiting, listening and joining in with others

Being healthy and safe

Safety and security

  • Participating happily and confidently within the environment


Being a learner

Involvement in learning

  • Making simple comparisons, ‘em too fat ... I can’t carry m’
  • Experimenting with ways to represent ideas in imaginative play

Investigating environments

  • Labelling natural phenomena and living things in first language and Standard Australian English – ‘elephant e big’.

Being a communicator

Oral language

  • Responding verbally in first language to simple questions


  • Demonstrating interest in familiar texts, ‘no but I bin see m on tv and I bin look m in book’.


  • Recognising some comparative language, i.e. ‘elephant e big’, ‘em got long nose’.


Ideas and strategies for extending learning

Suggestions for extending and enriching learning include. Examples are listed below.

  • Spontaneous songs and rhymes, for example, ‘5 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—‘5 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 or 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).
Last updated 01 June 2022