Jan 26, 2022
I have seen lots of wonderful play sets up to explore birds in the last week for the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch.
As a teacher/ leader/ consultant I want to see and understand more than just a beautiful set up. Here are some thoughts to reflect on your practice:
1. Why was the learning opportunity set up? Was this to introduce children to a new experience and used as a hook? Or was it set up in response to an interest/ curiosity/ a question a child had asked.
2. I also want to understand the process of the learning that happened here. What direction has the learning began to take as a result of the children's interaction with it? How have you as an adult supported/ challenged/ been a partner in the learning?
One way we can make the threads of learning visible is by adding child voice into the provision. This helps to document the journey the learning has taken. Making sure your provision is purposeful and meeting the children needs.
In Reggio inspired settings photos of children engaged in their learning are often included in the environment, along with dictations of their experiences, the process of learning and the questions they ask, to help educators understand more about the on- going learning. This can be used to help educators work with the child and see them as a partner in their learning and adjust the learning opportunities available for the child accordingly.
Recording this thread of learning is helping it become visible and also slows us down as educators to ensure that what we are doing in our practice is relevant and adding impact to the on going learning of the child. It encourages us to be listeners in the learning and not always jump to provide young children with all the answers but instead work as a co- partner.
When working with young children under 2 or babies recording child voice and the process of learning will look different. Here you could annotate the observations you see from the babies and toddlers. The repetitive schemas in their play, the emotion you notice on their face or the sounds of delight they make at discovering something new for the first time.
I like to add my child voice cards to my provocations and classroom environment.
(Photo taken at Early Excellence Centre in 2005)
A photo peg tree can be useful to peg these thoughts onto, empty photo frames and photo card holders. If you're short of space or don't have any wall space to show your journey of learning you could make a simple zigzag book (like the one below).
Through recording learning in this way we are also offering children with opportunities to revisit and reflect on their learning. Making connections between past events, plan what will happen next while also honouring their learning process.
*Wanderlust child voice cards available as a download in my Etsy shop.