Oct 8, 2014

Researching, re-thinking and redesigning….. Keryn Davis
New Entrant classrooms in the re-making.

Mariehau primary wanted to rethink the way New Entrants began school.
Help to make children members of their new learning community.
Goal:  speeding up the belonging process
Scaffolding the link between ECE and School
What sparked it?
Teacher’s (Simone’s) son had a not had an ideal early childhood education experience until age 3 when he began KidsFirst Kindy.
He was really engaged there, got into projects he loved and wanted to be involved in.
He was taking his experiences from the real world into his play, eg. made a power station, 24 hour McDonalds.  He drew in others to join him and the teachers allowed him to use all sorts of equipment. 
He had very detailed understanding of the world.
Starting school changed things a lot, too much mat time and teacher talking, made the facilitator question her own NE teaching.
Her class was very controlled and quiet, but all driven by the teacher.  Focus on children conforming.  Knowing that this conforming was constraining her son she decided to get help to connect her NE practice more closely with ECE experiences.

……Which led to this research project.
·      How can we really respond to children’s interests and motivations?
·      What pedagogies of teachers encourage children’s thinking, creativity and inquiry in NE Class rooms?

They Developed Play as “Relating to Others” time:
·      Held 1st thing, as this is a hard time for lots of NE Children, separation anxiety.
·      A similar start to ECE day
·      Teach through KCs and dispositions
·      Lots of equipment out, building, sand tray, puzzles, art etc  All open ended, children decide how to use the equipment.
·      Children can engage in messy play and creativity as well as outside vigorous play.

Collaborative spaces- needed to be rethought
Collaborative teaching.
Place of Topic and Inquiry in NE classes – this has changed now in Social Time

They set up a design and create room for the older NE children.
Getting them to use higher-order thinking to organise, design, plan and make creations.  These older children are taking that next step.

This is still the early phase of this project.

What we’re finding:..(during Social Time)

The researchers have taken Day-Long observations of children at school: how engaged are they?  How content and happy?

  • ·      Children have developed strong sense of belonging
  • ·      No tears
  • ·      Children find their place faster
  • ·      Transitioning from play-based programme to more teacher instruction
  • ·      Children develop strong relationships quickly
  • ·      High level of happiness and well-being
  • ·      Engagement levels are high-the children are in the state of "flow"
  • ·      Children can show their competence in new ways
  • ·      Rich KC development
  • ·      Good socialization
  • ·      Agency
  • ·      Change in culture, student driven interests, children are being scientists.

They have play-based rooms and instructional rooms.
The children have freedom and choice for 2/3 of day
They have found that through offering choice, there is a good coverage of the curriculum.
Still have guided reading/writing programme.

Research is backing up this approach, having a positive start to school has a massive future impact on children’s education.

How do we plan for it?
Generic plan with KCs and purpose, using learning stories. PicCollage excellent for this.
These Learning Stories placed on Blog and walls.
Not so worried about tidiness and order.  Emphasis on allowing children to direct and drive the direction of their own inquiries.

Final Thought:
What would Vygotsky think of curriculums that cast play aside?

Go to this link to see Kerryn's blog:


No comments:

Post a Comment