Early learning sets up skills for life
0:09 In my years and years of experience working in an early childhood setting, I’ve often
0:13 had the experience of having to throw my plans out the window, because the children’s ideas
0:17 were better than mine.
0:19 It’s also about negotiating with the children
0:23 as to what they would like to learn, because I reckon that’s a more powerful thing.
0:27 What are you guys looking for? Have you found something that you’d like to use or play with?
0:32 Oh, you want the tiger. Where’s the picture of that tiger?
0:40 A lot of it is through the negotiated planning, because we do every day, the children come
0:45 in, the first thing they do is they draw a thinking bubble of something they would like
0:49 to do in that day.
0:56 What are you going to draw? A medal.
1:00 A medal. What’s the colour of that play dough? Today’s colour play dough yellow.
1:07 Too good, you play play dough, hey?
1:28 We have another little group that actually likes to play shops. So we’ve scrunched a
1:32 lot of newspapers together, we made apples and oranges and watermelons and pineapples,
1:39 bananas, and it was really good for their fingers, you know that real fine motor stuff
1:45 that’s important to exercise their fingers for writing. And we got the kids to paint
1:49 them, and lo and behold we started learning about colours, and we learned about the different
1:52 colours of money. We learned about the numbers, the numerals that are on the money. We talked
1:57 about shapes and different sizes of coins. We jumped on the internet. We actually investigated
2:04 healthy eating and why it’s important for us to eat healthily. And it’s not just about
2:09 me telling the kids, it’s about them too, you know, finding this information out for themselves.
2:16 The children can learn through play. It’s
2:18 a natural context for children to learn anyway and a lot of outcomes can be achieved through play.
2:23 How about we go fishing?
2:35 We start our planning process from what they would like to do, and very often up here,
2:39 it’s that they want to do something about dinghies or fishing. And we’ve had all sorts
2:43 of different extended investigations around those things. We’ve done sinking and floating
2:49 things, and then built a dinghy out of different materials to see which one would sink and
2:52 float. We’ve done lots of stuff into nature. The
2:58 children up here are very aware of their natural environment.
3:18 So I think if you build from the things that they know, the things that they’re interested
3:21 in, you’re showing that you value that, and that makes them feel good immediately. And
3:27 it also means that they’re more engaged in their learning. So it’s not that you’re trying
3:31 to say, oh well, you need to learn this. But it’s more that oh let’s find out about that,
3:36 and you’re really keying into their natural curiosity.
When little ones play, they share ideas, use communication and listening skills, engage with others, develop physically and learn knowledge about the world.
This will often happen spontaneously, out of everyday play experiences with you, family or friends.
Talking about how to play a game or discussing an idea helps little ones develop communication and negotiation skills. This helps them learn to respect ideas, take turns, encourage others and join in. Learning to settle disputes or apologise develops conflict management skills and emotional intelligence.
Some play, like making something in the sandpit or during craft time, lets kids use and strengthen problem solving skills. As they sort, organise or describe things, they are also using and developing numeracy and language skills.
Playing outdoors or around the home is time for little ones to develop physical skills. Picking up and playing with toys develops motor skills and being active teaches them how to have an active lifestyle.
Asking questions about what they are doing, or asking them to suggest ideas for you to do something shows your interest and supports little ones as they play and learn. For example, if your child is drawing a picture, ask them about the colours they use and the shapes they are making, or ask them how you would draw an elephant (big body, long nose, etc.).
Video originally sourced from the DET Foundations For Success website, providing additional guidance to the Early Years Learning Framework for the delivery quality early learning programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.