Essay

Subject: Education

Topic: Early Childhood Curriculum Framework (Play and Pedagogy)


Introduction

It is important for child care and early learning programs to show quality and promote social, physical, cognitive, and emotional development among children. Developmentally appropriate child care and early learning programs are child-centred, reflects community and family contexts and fosters significant partnerships between every child, her or his family and child care and early learning staff. In early learning, curriculum denotes the way children’s learning opportunities are organized throughout a day. It is founded on objectives for children’s emotional, social, cognitive and physical development. Staff ought to comprehend and respond to every child’s abilities, needs and interests. Small children learn better by playing during the day rather than during set times for learning experiences that are directed by educators (Manitoba, 2010).

Pedagogy defines the holistic temperament of the professional practice of early childhood tutors, curriculum decision-making, learning and teaching. When educators form caring and respectful rapport with children and their families, they can work in unison to create learning and curriculum experiences that are significant to children in the ordinary context. Such experiences gradually enhance the understanding and knowledge of children about the world (Australian Government, 2009). This curriculum framework will be based on six aspects including play-based learning, use of the surrounding environment, relationships/partnerships, all children are supported, children’s ideas and interests have value and meaning and health and wellbeing.

Curriculum Framework

Play-based learning

Play provides child ren with learning opportunities as they create, discover, imagine and improvise. When children engage in plays with their peers they form social groups, challenge one another’s thinking, try out ideas, and gain new understandings. Moreover, play provides children with a supportive setting where children may ask questions, participate in critical thinking, and solve problems. It can improve the thinking of children and their yearning to know as well as learn. Through these ways, play may foster positive outlooks towards learning. Educators in early childhood stages assume several roles in children’s play and use different strategies to foster learning. They participate in continued shared dialogues with children in order to widen their thinking. They interact with children to create attachment through the use of play experiences and routines. Educators also recognize the occurrence of impulsive teachable moments and utilize them in building children’s learning (Siraj-Blatchford & Sylva, 2004).

According to Manitoba (2010), c urriculum for children in their early childhood development stages ought to be founded on play because children learn better by playing. In spite of its fun temperament, play should not be viewed as a way of passing time or an undertaking that should be eliminated in order for children to concentrate on actual learning. This is because; play provides infinite openings for development and learning among children. Long durations of uninterrupted play are crucial since they enable children to fully engage in significant experiences. For instance, children are able to learn about floating and sinking by trying it out at their playground’s water table. They can also develop their understanding on balance by building using blocks. Providing children with opportunities to select and manage their play empowers them to direct their personal learning.

When play is self-directed, it results in feelings of self-confidence and competence. Other concepts and skills that children learn during open-ended, unstructured and personally designed plays include relationship building and social skills, conflict resolution, problem solving and negotiation, safe risk-taking and independence and communication skills. In other words, play nourishes all aspects of the development of children. It builds a basis for intellectual, physical, emotional and social skills necessary for succeeding in life and school (Hewes, 2006).

The aspect of play-based learning is related to observation 2 referred to as dancing queen. In this observation, Halima walks to the stage and picks two bells that the teacher had placed in a basket and starts shaking them to match the tune of the music. Amish also move to the stage and pick some bells after being inspired by Halima. The two starts dancing together with big smiles, in the absence of the teacher. Later, Halima starts jumping and pounding her feet to the beat of the music. The teacher joins her after noticing how much fun she is having. Halima seems to have lot of interest in music and providing her with self-directed opportunities to play musical instruments and dance with her peers would help her learn more about music.

Use of the surrounding environment

Children require environments that foster interaction and exploration both outdoors and indoors. They require adequate space, sufficient time and appropriate materials. This implies that, early childhood educators should arrange play grounds, schedules, transitions, and materials carefully to kindle and maintain children’s play. Educators should give children a range of play alternatives including fine motor, dramatic, construction and block, science and numeracy. They should consider the way room arrangement, layout and design present opportunities for various group sizes, needs, abilities and kinds of play. For example, a cosy area gives one to two children an intimate space to play on their own or peacefully together, while a big muscle area promotes activity, movement and physical play. The interest, abilities and needs of each child must be considered in setting up a heartening environment. Play materials and areas should be accessible and visible in order for all children to be in a position to become independent explorers (Fraser, 2006).

Drawing from Australian Government (2009), learning environments constitute welcoming spaces if they enrich and reflect the identities and lives of children as well as families taking part in the environment and meeting their needs and interests. Environments that foster learning are flexible and vibrant spaces, which are receptive to the abilities and interests of every child. They meet various learning styles and learning capacities and encourage children along with families to generate ideas, questions and interests. Play areas in natural settings include trees, plants, edible gardens, rocks, water, and sand. These spaces encourage open-ended interactions, risk-taking, spontaneity, discovery, exploration and bonding with nature. Natural settings foster an admiration of the innate environment; give a platform for continuous environmental education and enhance environmental awareness.

Outdoor and indoor environments promote all features of learning of children and provoke conversations between educators, children, families as well as the wider community. They give opportunities for continued joint thinking and combined learning. Materials improve learning if they reflect familiar and natural things and also bring in novelty to incite interest and complex and gradually more abstract thinking. Educators can foster engagement by providing time for significant interactions, providing an array of openings for shared and individual experiences (Australian Government, 2009).

The aspect of surrounding environment has links with observation 6. Ryder discovers the formation of his shadow as sunlight rays peer through their window. He is very interested to determine the shadow’s attributes and functions as he uses his senses in exploring it. He watches patterns and movements created and become confident to touch and test it with slight strokes and later by tapping. Ryder demonstrates his capacity to assume risks as well as look out for learning opportunities. This natural environment with sun rays provides Ryder with an ideal learning environment since he is able to discover and learn about shadows. Ryder’s learning capacity can be enhanced by providing him with varied environments and materials such as shakers and textured paper. This will enable him to learn about other sensory experiences like sound, sight, and touch.

Relationships/partnerships

According to Australian Government (2009), children are both competent and vulnerable. Their initial attachments with family members and in other trusting rapports give them a safe base for learning and exploration. Through a broadening system of secure relations, children feel valued and respected and develop confidence. They become more able to respect and recognize others’ feelings and to positively interact with them. Educators who prioritize cultivating relationships and give constant emotional support to children can help them develop the understandings and skills they require for positive relations with others. Moreover, they assist children in learning about the responsibilities they owe other people, to value their interdependence and connectedness as learners, as well as to value teamwork and collaboration.

Learning outcomes have a likelihood of being attained when educators partner with families. Early childhood educators know that families constitute children’s most and first influential teachers. Thus, they create a warm setting where children along with their families are valued and actively inspired to team up with the educators in making curriculum decisions so as to ensure achievement of significant learning experiences. Partnerships are founded on understanding one another’s attitudes and expectations and developing one another’s knowledge. They also entail educators, support professional and families collaborating to analyze the learning capability in daily play and events in order to provide children with special needs with everyday opportunities for learning through active engagement and participation both at home and specialist or early childhood settings.

Development of relationships and partnerships is reflected in observation 3. Katie explores sound and language by interacting with Amy. She uses the word “roar” to mean a lion in a bib’s front and “eaf” to mean leaf and “uh” in expressing exertion. Moreover, Katie seems able to link a word or sound with a picture or symbol and attached to Amy and uses repetition to improve this. She also uses gestures through pointing and motions her shoulders in communicating with Amy. Katie expresses confidence by collating bibs, dispersing them over Amy’s knee, putting them back in the creel, placing the creel in the cupboard and shutting the door. Katie is able to gain confidence to do all the activities through her relationship with Amy who is very supportive in the entire process and responds to her gestures and words.

All children are supported

Derman-Sparks, Ramsey, & Edwards (2006) maintain that, children are different in terms of race, abilities, gender, age, and culture. Recognizing and valuing every child’s uniqueness is crucial in early learning because it enhances every child’s emotional and social well-being and fosters cooperative, equitable and caring relations with others. Each child ought to experience a feeling of belonging and be positive about her or his individual self identity. Confidence, emotional development and self-esteem are reinforced when all families and children feel supported and accepted. Providing children with opportunities to explore differences and similarities in a positive ambience encourages value for diversity.

Educators should also support children of different abilities and provide all children with an equal access and participation in programs of early learning. This assists children with special needs to actively participate in the program being offered. This will imply adapting or creating certain undertakings or using certain strategies in order to meet the needs of each child (Irwin, Lero, & Brophy, 2000). Support for all children is shown in observation 5 where Alyssa experiments the reflection of her head on the mirror. The mirror provides an opening for her to link with her educator through the use of babbles and sounds to start and participate in reciprocal continuous interactions. Support for Alyssa’s activities is seen where the teacher begins to play with her using the mirror’s reflections.

Children’s ideas and interests have value and meaning

Children are intrinsically inspired to exchange thoughts, ideas, feelings and questions and to make use of different media and tools including drawings, music, drama and dance to expand their learning, bond with others and express themselves. Children express their ideas as well as interests through different methods and the interests and ideas have meanings. They use language and participate in plays in order to envisage and create scripts, ideas and roles. Moreover, they share their culture’s symbols and stories and re-enact famous stories. Children also use creative arts like painting, drawing, dance, drama, storytelling and movement to make meaning and express ideas. Furthermore, they experiment with methods of conveying meaning and ideas through an array of media and start using approximations and images of words and letters to pass on meaning. In other words, all the activities that children engage in help in their learning and convey certain meanings (Manitoba, 2010).

Manitoba (2010) further says that, e ducators can promote this type of learning by developing children’s community and family experiences with expressive and creative arts. They can also do that by providing children with resources that inspire them to experiment using print and images, and by teaching them techniques and skills that will improve their capability for communication and self-expression. The aspect of the meaning and value of children’s interests and ideas is evident in observation 4, where Donna spends most of her time drawing while chatting with friends. She recognizes that text has a meaning. Donna’s teacher can support her interest in writing and drawing by providing her with opportunities to experiment using different tools and media.

Health and wellbeing

Elliott (2006) asserts that, wellbeing encompasses good bodily health, feeling happy, effective social functioning and satisfaction. It affects the manner in which children relate in their settings. A strong feeling of wellbeing gives children optimism and confidence that maximizes their ability to learn. Moreover, it fosters development of the inborn exploratory drive of children, and their desire to interrelate with others who are responsive. Well-being is related to resilience, giving children the ability to handle day-to-day challenges and stress. The well-being of children can be impacted by their experiences in and outside the early childhood environments. Thus, educators should support the learning of children by addressing their well-being through provision of trusting and warm relationships, and safe and predictable environments. This can also be achieved by providing affirmation and respecting all features of the children’s physical, social, cognitive, emotional, spiritual and linguistic being.

Children’s growing resilience and ability to assume more responsibility for basic health and self-help routines foster a sense of confidence and independence. Learning on healthy lifestyles in relation to nutrition, physical fitness, personal hygiene, social relationships and emotions is essential to self-confidence and well-being. Physical well-being influences the ability of children to cooperate, concentrate and learn (Elliott, 2006). The aspect of health and well-being is evident in observation 1. Phoebe is trying to balance on a plank by standing slowly and stretching her arms. She gains confidence and climbs to the plank’s top. Assuming risks is crucial for learning because it brings in new and gratifying experiences. Phoebe’s confidence can be build by providing her with a range of climbing levels and frames and adventuring in the big yard.

Critical discussion

There are several stakeholders to early learning all of which have different roles to play in ensuring that effective early learning among children takes place. Educators are central in the provision of early childhood education since they are responsible for identifying the different needs, abilities and interests of children and ensuring that they provide learning experiences that match them. Establishing and maintaining a trusting relationship with the children is an essential requirement for educators, since it gives children self-confidence to explore and discover new learning opportunities. Moreover, educators should ensure that they have strong relationships with families and the community at large. Families are initial teachers of children and continue to be teachers in the various stages of child development socializing the children into accepted societal norms and values. Community members also contribute in early learning by providing children with playgrounds and friends (Australian Government, 2009). Accordingly, all the stakeholders to early learning should build strong relationships to facilitate continual and effective learning among children.

Learning through play is an important experience in early childhood learning. Children in this stage spend most of their time playing, which makes play the most vital way through which children can learn. Moreover, the play involves peers and thus children experience much confidence and freedom to ask questions and challenge their peers’ ideas compared to learning directed by an adult (Manitoba, 2010). Moreover, getting opportunities to explore the natural environment is a crucial experience since it helps children get acquainted with their environment as well as unveil new learning avenues. Furthermore, learning that involve physical activities such as balancing on planks or blocks are important since they enhance the physical wellbeing of children as well as expand their knowledge in those activities.

Designing a curriculum framework for early learning has both potentials and constraints. On the positive side, it has the potential to improve the learning experiences of children. This is because; it provides different ways, opportunities and materials through which children can learn new ideas, skills and knowledge (Manitoba, 2010). For instance, what a child can learn through play is different from what it can learn through drawing. Moreover, such a framework is likely to boost a child’s learning since it assigns different responsibilities to the various stakeholders, all of which contribute to the learning. On the contrary, some of the stakeholders fail to cooperate, which renders the curriculum ineffective in early learning. Moreover, it is difficult for educators to meet the various needs of children especially in early childhood settings with large numbers of children. This is mainly due to lack of adequate resources such as time, funds, play materials and space. Children with special needs such as mental disabilities may hinder effective learning through their aggressive behaviours.

Conclusion

A curriculum for early learning entails the organization of learning opportunities for children during the day and aims at facilitating children’s social, cognitive, emotional and physical development. The best way of ensuring learning in children is through play, especially self-directed play as it fosters self-confidence and competence. Surrounding environments provide children with opportunities to explore and experiment different things. The provision of emotional support to children by educators enables them to acquire the skills needed to relate well with others and partnering with families facilitate the achievement of learning outcomes.

Educators should support all children along with their ideas, abilities and interests. General wellbeing promotes resilience among children and physical wellbeing influences children’s learning, cooperation and concentration abilities. Curriculum has the potential to enhance early learning through the provision of different learning ways and opportunities and assignment of different responsibilities to all stakeholders. However, failure of some stakeholders to cooperate and inadequate resources pose challenges to the effectiveness of the curriculum.

References

Australian Government. (2009). Belonging, Being & Becoming. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace.

Derman-Sparks, L., Ramsey, P. G., & Edwards, J. O. (2006). What if all the kids are white? Anti-Bias Multicultural Education with Young Children and Families. New York: Teachers College Press.

Elliott, A. (2006). Early Childhood Education: Pathways to quality and equity for all children. Retrieved May 16, 2013, from http://research.acer.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=aer

Fraser, S. (2006). Authentic Childhood: Experiencing Reggio Emilia in the Classroom. Toronto: Thomson Nelson.

Hewes, J. (2006). Let the Children Play: Nature’s Answer to Early Learning. Montreal: Early Childhood Learning Knowledge.

Irwin, S. H., Lero, D. S., & Brophy, K. (2000). A Matter of Urgency: Including Children with Special Needs in Child Care. Nova Scotia: Breton Books.

Manitoba. (2010). Early Returns: Manitoba’s Early Learning and Child Care Curriculum Framework for Preschool Centres and Nursery Schools. Winnipeg: Manitoba.

Siraj-Blatchford, I., & Sylva, K. (2004). Researching pedagogy in English pre-schools. British Educational Research Journal, 30 (5), 712-730.


Appendices
Observation 1 : Climbing Mountains

“ Uuuuhhh” said Phoebe as she lifted herself on all fours onto the plank. Phoebe stopped and then slowly stood up using no hands keeping her arms out for extra balance. Phoebe slowly shuffled up to the highest point of the plank much like standing on the peak of a mountain, looking down below! Standing at the edge, Phoebe waited very patiently for James to climb out of the way. Once complete Phoebe continued on her way and looked down into the depths of the hole below! This didn't stop Phoebe as she crouched down and climbed into the hole sideways. Sara then shuffled up to the edge towards Phoebe who provided a giggle to Sara who waved excitedly and expressed a “hello”. Phoebe used her knees to push herself back onto the plank and the guidance of hanging poles to then follow Sara to the end and with a hop back onto flat ground Phoebe’s climbing journey was complete!

Analysis of learning

Phoebe used great concentration to maintain balance while on the plank. She gained extra balance by slowly standing and placing her arms out. As Phoebe overcome the problem she slowly built her confidence up to then shuffle forward up the top of the plank and gain coordination. Phoebe looked down into the depths of the hole below and looked confident in her facial expressions to turn around and crouch down and climb inside. Taking risks is important for learning as it opens up new and rewarding experiences. Phoebe was also comfortable to share the learning opportunity and space with Sara as she provided a giggle and smile to Phoebe who responded with a wave and “hello” communicating openly with her.

What next

  • P rovide support during times where Phoebe is taking risks to then build further confidence by talking through the process and providing comfort

  • Foster Phoebe’s curiosity with climbing by creating a range of resources to climb with an assortment of levels

  • Provide opportunities of stimulation and challenge by going for adventures out to the large yard and also using morning times to attempt a range of climbing fr ames and gross motor activities

In this story there is evidence of the educator gathering and analysing information about what Phoebe can do and understand. She has used this information in the ongoing cycle of planning, documenting, reviewing and assessing children’s learning.

Observation 2 : Dancing Queen

It was a very unusually wet, cold spring morning. We couldn’t go outside so instead I set up some dancing on the veranda. On the stage I put out some bells and maracas. I was inside with a few children in the home corner when out of the corner of my eye I noticed Halima walking over to the stage. She took two bells from the basket and began shaking them to the music. Amish was standing on the stage as well and had noticed that Halima was dancing so he made his way over to the basket and took out some bells as well and began shaking them to the music.

I could see that both Halima and Amish had big smiles on their face as they were dancing with each other. After a while Halima began stamping her feet and jumping to the music, once again with a big smile on her face. I could see how much fun she was having so I found a set of bells and started shaking them in time with the music and dancing with Halima.

Analysis of learning

Halima demonstrates that she is starting to feel a sense of belonging and comfort in her new environment and is also forming and maintaining relationships with the staff and peers within the room. I have noticed that since beginning, Halima has a big interest in music and dance and in this learning experience she is responding to and creating rhythm and dance both individually and in a group setting.

What next

We will continue to encourage Halima’s interest in dance and music by introducing different cultural music such as African, Aboriginal, Latin etc. and adding different resources for her to use during her dance such as streamers, home made musical instruments, drums etc. I will also continue to spend some time one-to-one reading stories, singing songs etc. With Halima as we continue to build our secure attachment.

In what ways have the educators considered the Principles, and Outcomes of the Framework to support Halima’s Belonging Being and Becoming? In this story the educator referred to the weather as a motivator for the learning experience. What do you see as appropriate motivators/sources of curriculum and learning opportunities? How do spontaneous teachable moments sit in outcomes based learning? In your setting what would be the balance between child-led, child-initiated and educator supported learning? In what way is this learning story an example of co-construction?

Observation 3 : Discovering the washing

Katie approached Amy who was diligently folding the washing. “Roar” shouted Katie as Amy pointed to the picture on the bib. Katie then bent down and picked up a bib from the basket. She then spread it out and smoothed it by using her hands against Amy’s leg. As she presented another bib Katie then pointed at the flower on the front and Amy replied “leaf”. “Eaf” explained Katie, smiling. She ran her fingers up and down the stitching as Amy told a story to explain that the big flower was watering the smaller one. Amy collated more bibs onto her leg, making sure they were smoothed and spread evenly. When the basket was empty Katie shrugged her shoulders and explained “gone” looking quite puzzled. To extend further, Amy decided to open the cupboard and collect the basket to place the clean bibs into. “Uhhh” sounded Katie as she lifted and dropped the bibs into the basket. Katie then lifted the basket directly towards the opened cupboard and confidently walked with it in her hands. Amy assisted Katie to finish by lifting the basket into the cupboard. Katie then pushed the door closed, wiped her hands and clapped to celebrate, as much to explain “job well done”.

Analysis of learning

Katie explored language and sound during this story, as she expressed “roar” to signify a lion on the front of a bib, “eaf” to signify a leaf and “uh” to express exertion. She also appeared to be able to connect a symbol or picture with a sound or word and connected with Amy as she used repetition to enhance this. Katie also used gestures by pointing and shrugging her shoulders to express and communicate with Amy. Katie also expressed confidence with the process of collating the bibs, spreading them out on Amy’s knee, placing them in the basket, independently taking it to the cupboard and closing the door. To be able to take risks is important for learning as it opens up new and rewarding learning experiences and increases security to take action and that it is ok to seek help when needed and make mistakes.

What next

Provide opportunities for Katie to participate and make choices during routine times and her day. This could be by opening up the cupboard for Katie to choose activities while re-setting the room, giving her bibs and cups, wiping her own face and washing hands. Provide books with photographs and words, and interactive displays for Katie to connect objects with words and sounds. Also model this for Katie and share one-on-one opportunities exploring literacy also through puppets, songs and sound repetition. Determine how Katie participates with routines at home.

Linking to the Framework - Outcome 1: children have a strong sense of identity

In this example you can see how Amy has promoted Katie’s learning by:

  • initiating interactions during a daily routine
  • building on the knowledge and understandings that Katie already has
  • responding sensitively to Katie’s initiation and interactions; and
  • spendingtime interacting and conversing with Katie

Observation 4 : Drawing and writing

Today Donna was at the drawing table doing a big black drawing. She was doing

big, fast, vigorous movements with her pencil. “It’s finished now” she said as she folded/ scrunched up her paper and put it in a bowl with her other drawings. “I’m going to write your name” she said to me as she placed a new white piece of paper in front of her. “Ok, you show me” I said. Donna drew some little squiggles that went from right to left that looked very much like writing. “That says Chloe” Donna said as she pointed to her squiggle. “Can you write your name?” I asked Donna. “Yep” Donna said as she drew another small squiggle on the page. “What about Lauren?” I asked. Donna drew another squiggle on the page and pointed at it and said “That says Lauren.” Pete was sitting next to me at the table; Donna leaned in to talk to him, put on her most friendly voice and said “You want me to write your name Pete?” Pete gave a nod and Donna drew another squiggle on her page and said “See, that says Pete!” Donna decided that her page had enough writing on it so she scrunched up the piece of paper and began to start drawing on a new one.

Analysis of learning

Donna spends a lot of time at the drawing table, sitting, drawing and chatting with her friends. She is recognising that text has meaning eg. ‘ This says Lauren.’ Donna’s writing looks distinctively different than her drawings. Her writing consisted of small squiggles—very similar in size and shape to the writing we see in books and in everyday notes etc.

What next

We will support Donna’s interest in drawing and writing by providing opportunities for her to experiment with different mediums and tools. We will draw and write alongside her and practise drawing different shapes together. We will also practise recognising different letters and numbers that are written in books and around the room and we will practise copying the shapes.

Linking to the Framework Outcomes

Outcome 5: children are effective communicators . In this example we can see Donna beginning to use approximations to convey meaning. The educator is promoting her learning by providing resources that encourage Donna to experiment with print and by constructing writing.

Observation 5 : Reflections

Alyssa pulled her head up from the mattress to discover her own reflection in the mirror. She focussed and ran her fingers over each other looking like she was deep in thought! Alyssa followed her movements with her eyes. I could hear “ba be ba” as she watched her tongue move with her sounds. As I mimicked Alyssa expressing “ba be ba” I could see her eyes change towards my reflection and concentrate on my movements. Alyssa expressed “ba ba ba” and smiled. I returned the smile and connected this by song and started to sing “Baa Baa Black Sheep”. Alyssa’s eyes then widened as she watched me and listened to the sound. Once finished Alyssa then repeated “baa baa baa”, looking at me to reconnect and continue.

Analysis of learning

Alyssa experimented with her reflection by using her eyes to follow her movements with her arms and mouth when she created sounds. The mirror provided an opportunity for Alyssa to connect with me by using sounds and babbles to initiate and engage in reciprocal sustained interactions. Alyssa’s eyes widened as we connected and she watched and listened indicating she felt safe for me to enter her play. This connection is important because once strengthened Alyssa will feel safe to explore the environment and open up further learning opportunities. Babies are born with highly developed sensory and language capabilities. This is evident as Alyssa used vocalisations, eye contact and gestures to engage with me and communicate with me. Children’s language skills develop in close caring relationships where their developed language is valued and built upon.

What next

Provide opportunities throughout the day where Alyssa and I can spend one on one time connecting through song (voice) and massage (touch), eye contact and facial expressions. Respond back to Alyssa’s sounds to increase her awareness that her language is valued and build upon this through song, rhyme and stories.

Observation 6 : Shadow and exploration

Beautiful sunlight has been peering through our windows since the old veranda has come down and the new one built. One afternoon Ryder moved himself towards the warmth from the sun on the floor, glowing from the light. As he moved his arm Ryder concentrated on the effect it had made in front of him. He then swayed his body backwards and forwards and watched as his shadow from the light moved in sync with him. Ryder then leant closer to observe and used his hands to touch the outline and create further shadows. Ryder then started tapping his hands on the floor creating clapping sounds and wriggled his toes expressing excitement. Ryder looked up and to me (I was smiling) and I explained to him that it was ‘a shadow’ and pointed at it, thus creating some more patterns. Ryder then touched where I was pointing and tapped onto the floor. He watched as he swayed, tapped his feet together and was delighted to discover that the shadow moved too!

Analysis of learning

Ryder was very curious to discover the functions and attributes of the shadow as he used his senses to explore it. He watched movements and patterns created and then became confident to lean in and test it and touch it with gentle strokes at first and then by tapping. Ryder expressed during this story his ability to take risks, and search out learning opportunities. This is important for learning as it opens up new and rewarding experiences and skills. Ryder expressed great satisfaction with his discovery as he clapped and wriggled his toes with excitement. He was also happy to share his exploration with me as he looked towards me and watched to find further sights and movements as I pointed with my finger.

What next

Explore sensory environments with Ryder like textured paper, materials and shakers that create lots of sound and water play when the weather gets warmer. Providing Ryder with resources that move, such as parachute and sheer material that glides down, providing balls with different sizes including the large green ball and placing materials outside or near the window that flutter with the wind and bubble blowing can be helpful. Exploring push up and pull along experiences that create a reaction.

Student Name Student ID

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