Everything that early childhood educators do in their daily interactions with children teaches them something. If you listen carefully and respond sensitively, children are taught that you really care about them as people and believe they have worthy opinions and ideas. If you notice that children are interested in a new idea and follow-up this up in your interactions with them, you’re making opportunities for children to learn and test new concepts. You’re beginning to be instructional.
Being intentional about maths. An example:
· Several pre-schoolers were talking and comparing about who was bigger than who
· An educator who was listening was aware of early math concepts and keen to include the language and ideas of maths in the children’s everyday experiences
· Planning for a small group activity, she intentionally chose to use playdough for maths talk because it is familiar and popular
· As children rolled their play dough she engaged them in conversation- “mine is longer than…?”; “Luke’s is as long as the table”; “whose is longest?”; “we need to join them together to fit the big table”; “who is tallest out of Ben, Kylie and Luke?”
· By creating an opportunity for children to make comparisons and draw and test conclusions the educator was intentionally teaching important ways of thinking mathematically
· By engaging children in shared, sustained conversation, she extended their understandings, providing new language to describe things and showing that she valued their thinking.
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