Thursday, March 7, 2013

Intentional Play-Based Learning: Inquiry in Kindergarten

Intentional Play-Based Learning is a series of videos focusing on kindergarten learning.  A key premise of tis work is illustrated in this quote:

Play nourishes every aspect of children’s development – it forms the foundation of
intellectual, social, physical, and emotional skills for success in school and in life. It paves the way for learning. - Canadian Council of Learning

In this video, there is an exploration of three kinds of inquiry:
  • free explorations
  • focused explorations
  • guided activities

In this video the teacher's tole in play-based inquiry is examined.

In this video the how teachers plan for intentional play-based inquiry is explored, highlighting the key differences between theme-based planning and inquiry-based planning.

Recommended article about inquiry and emergent curriculum:

from Lewin-Benham, Ann. (2006).  One Teacher, 20 Preschoolers, and a Goldfish. Beyond the Journal • Young Children on the Web.

"Rather than sets of lesson plans and objectives, emergent curriculum is a process that roughly follows
these steps:

  1. Select a topic that reflects interests expressed by children in their conversations or that you as their teacher suspect may be of high interest. Ms. Putnam brought a goldfish to school with the idea that the children’s care of the fish might interest them in exploring environment-related subjects.
  2. Brainstorm, alone or with colleagues, the many ways the experience could develop to ensure that the topic has rich “generative” (Perkins 1992, 92–95) potential. As it evolves, the project may or may not follow what you brainstormed.
  3. Use something concrete—from the children, their families, or the teacher—to pique initial interest and to maintain it. The concrete “thing” may be children’s own words as recorded by the teacher. Ms. Putnam used children’s questions about the goldfish as the starter for many pursuits. Throughout the year she recorded, saved, and studied the children’s conversations and kept using their words to arouse further interest.
  4. Tape or take notes of the children’s words as they react. Study their words to determine what really grabs their attention. You may let a day or more pass to heighten the children’s anticipation and to allow yourself time to study their words.
  5. Continue to bring the children’s own words back to them: “On Monday you said the fish’s water was really dirty. Joey said, ‘It’s full of poop.’ Would you like to help me clean the fishbowl?”
  6. Brainstorm what might happen before any new activity. Knowing she wanted to build environmental awareness, Ms. Putnam had a container available to save the dirty water. When the children asked why she was saving it, she asked, “What do you think we could do with this water?” Again she recorded and studied the children’s answers, and brought back those that she had selected for their potential to spark environmental awareness.
  7.  Use children’s words, some particular things they have made, or photo(s) taken during the process as the stimulus for the next steps.
  8. Document the experience as each step happens. Record the story of the emerging project as it emerges, using children’s words, photos of them, their drawings or other work, and a photojournalistic-type retelling. "

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