Playful explorers in the ELC

We have had a happy and settled start to the term in Early Learning! The children have returned from the holidays refreshed and excited to be back together as a group. We have enjoyed hearing about their holiday adventures and learning about their current interests as we develop our plans for the term ahead.

"“We construct theories about how the world works through playful exploration.”"

This term, we have introduced our new Unit of Inquiry: How The World Works

Our learning engagements and investigations for this unit will be hands-on, playful, and engaging! The focus will be on observing, experimenting, discovering, and learning about the world around us through active exploration.

We will be learning about:

  • how we can manipulate materials for a purpose
  • how forces can cause change
  • how we can use our understandings to design and create

The children will be inquirers, thinkers and communicators as they encounter new materials, develop theories arising from their interests and design and create using a wide range of resources.

Concepts we will be exploring:

  • Form – What is it like?
  • Function – How does it work?
  • Causation – Why is it as it is?
  • Change – How is it transforming?

For our ELG 4 group, our early inquiries have centred on tornados. We have been developing theories about how they are created, their forces and their impact on the environment.

We have also been investigating different ways of using pipes, including creating waterways, tunnels and ramps.

Our ELG 3 children have also been exploring ramps in the block corner, using various materials to make the cars and trucks move. They have also shown great interest in using new tools such as staplers and hole punchers. This interest will be extended in the coming weeks as we create a tinkering area that will include magnets, tools and simple machines.

"“Stand aside for a while and leave room for learning, observe carefully what children do, and then, if you have understood well, perhaps teaching will be different than before.” Loris Malaguzzi, Founder of the Reggio Emilia approach"

Teachers as researchers

Throughout this year, the Woodleigh Early Childhood team from Penbank and Minimbah Campuses have engaged in a collaborative action research project with early childhood consultant Kirsty Liljedren. Teachers and educators from both campuses have been meeting regularly to engage in professional learning workshops, critically reflect on our practice and share our documentation of the children’s learning.

Guiding Questions and Lines of Inquiry:
  • What is the role of the teacher in relation to childrens' agency and assessment of learning?
  • What is our image of the child? Exploring the role of the educator in supporting learner agency.
  • What is worth documenting? Continuous assessment in the Early Years: exploring the content and ways we can make visible the children’s learning.
  • How does documentation inform our pedagogy and practice? Exploring the monitoring, recording, and reporting of student learning.
  • How can we work collaboratively with families? Making learning visible to children and families

As our research develops, you may notice changes to the information and documentation you receive about our program.

Current areas we are focusing on include:
  • Exploring new ways of documenting – creating posters and displays, capturing the children’s thinking over several days, using titles and questions in our documentation
  • Creating documentation that makes visible the children’s learning within the context of the group
  • A more focused approach to our documentation. This will mean fewer 'snapshots' of the day and more detail about specific projects or inquiries.
  • A “quality, not quantity” approach to sharing content on Seesaw – this will allow us to concentrate on relationships and engage in a more reflective approach to our teaching.

Head of Early Childhood