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Early Years Learning Journal

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Caroline Mastry

on 7 June 2013

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Transcript of Early Years Learning Journal

Foundation Introduction to the Early Years Early Years Curriculum Early Years Power and Pedagogy Global Competence,
Educating the World The Teaching Body What Is the Early Years? The Early Years Landscape EDUC 2704
Rebecca Ramsden
Tutorial 4
Wednesday 4-6
Caroline Mastry
Assessment 3 It is important to remember that this is a constantly changing landscape. Having disused the vocabulary relating to this landscape, we are somewhat provide with a brief overview of what study in the Early Years might entail. Stepping into the history of Early Childhood and how it has changed/developed overtime we discover the origins to which this landscape has been founded upon… According to Blaise and Nuttall (2011), ‘ Sometimes the complexity of working in the Early Years Education makes my head spin. I find the differences in terminology and school starting ages across Australia really confusing, and there seems to be so many names for Early Childhood Services,’ I share this confusion, however, upon defining terminology relating to the early years, I was better able to understand what the Early years of learning is and all it encompasses. At right is a table illustrating specific vocabulary useful for the Queensland Educator: Term Definition
Early Childhood Education Early Childhood Education Australia (ECA),
define early childhood birth-8yrs
Early Years Term commonly used in the UK to define Childhood
(also birth-8yrs)
Junior Primary Term used in QLD for the first three/four years
of schooling.
Prep The first year of formal year of schooling
Kindergarten/preschool The year before school
Play Group Informal groups sometimes run by local government
staff or non-governmental agencies, for parents and
their young children to meet and mingle and sometimes
to provide information to parents about parenting and
Childcare Sessional or long-day extra-familial care and education
paid for by the parents and subsidized by the federal gov mid-late 1800's late 1800's-1900's Post WWII Childhood Education non existent or run by women at home. European theories of childhood and child development have begun to reach Australia and thus begin to recognize the need for suitably qualified early years educators and the first teacher training institutions were established. Charitable Agencies such as churches and women's organizations began to run ragged schools and creches for the poor North American Theories about child development based on the progressive education movement spread to Australia and began to influence school and prior-to-school programs 1920's/1930's Rapid increase in birth rates and consecutive waves of migration from Great Britain and Asia and saw a huge expansion of the professional movement, with purpose-built facilities established Early 1800's 1960's/1970's 1980's Changes in Women's control over their fertility and opportunity for paid work
-> lead to a decrease in birth rate
-> lead to an increased demand for
long-day childcare services Due to rapid technological advances, global mobility, environmentally degradation and increased flows of refugees and migrants has shifted the cultural characteristics of early years education But why and how has the early childhood landscape changed? According to Blaise and Nuttall (2011), our role as educators is to prepare children for active citizenship. The definition of what it means to be an active citizen has also changed and developed over time. Therefore, in order to cater for the changing definition of what it means to be an active citizen, within a changing context, Early Childhood education has evolved within a changing context. In addition, globalization, ‘the active compression of time and space of the world’ (Hoepper, 2009-lecture), can be considered a prominent contributor to the changing nature of the context. Early Maths Routines and transitions Language, learning and
Communication Play Physical Activity in the Early Years of learning Early Years Learning Environments Investigations and Inquiries My reading Discussion I found the focus of this topic most interesting. Contrary to traditional perspective of young children as ‘citizens in waiting’, Phillips (2010), calls us to consider, children as active citizens with their own rights. Upon study in this field I immediately recalled an inspiring talk I watched earlier this year. I believe that this talk exemplified the revelations I myself began to consider through study in this field. Examples of learning in a real life context that I myself have observed: I had the privileged of being a PRAC teacher at a small Island school late last year. This school is a great advocate for protecting the sea life and I was very interested to see the Year One's taking action to protect the endangered species. The students had made posters which their teacher distributed around the Island. In addition, I can vividly recall a year one student lecturing an older year 5 boy who left his rubbish on the ground, he said...
'what do you think you're doing?! Killing all
the sea turtles-that's what!' Taking Action in a cause that the children feel passionate about such as the protection of the sea turtles can encourage responsibility and independence as well as a sense of ownership adn power over their learning (Hughes, 2001) An example of how the compression of the world through globalization has effected the Early Years landscape, is particularly evident in the spreading of ideas.
Such in the case of the Progressive School Movement that revolutionized our perception of Childhood Education Another example, can be observed in the diversity present within the class.
For example cultural diversity.
In a class of 13 students where I was placed for my professional school Experience, there were at least 7 different nationalities. Similarly, when considering the ‘active compression of time and space’, we are called to reflect on the notion of cultural diversity. Advancement in transportation technology, for example, has great implications for teacher whereby we are most likely faced with a class of students with a wealth of cultural diversity. This then Leads to the Idea of 'the Virtual School Bag' (Thompson, 2002), where teachers are challenged to tap into an individual's skills, knowledge and understandings Link:
Routines and Transitions An effective pedagogy often implemented by teachers is learning through inquiry and investigation. Blake (2009) would suggest the inquiry process is most often effectively implemented by teachers because, inquiry is such a intrinsic learning strategy used by humans as we, 'interact with the environment to actively construct meaning of our world' (consistent with Vygotskian Theory)(Woolfolk and Magnetts, 2013). Constructivism, multiple intelligences theory, and the Reggio Emilia Approach, as well as in cooperative and collaborative learning are all fundamental aspects to the Investigation/inquiry process (Ogu, Reynard &Schmidt, 2009). The Inquiry process is structured as followed:
1.Capture the learners attention
Another subject that I am studying currently is Learning and Mind Education. In an attempt to conceptualize ‘how students learn’, one of the key theories we have studied is, the information-processing model. Whilst I understand that this model is most widely used in discussion on memory, the initial phase where the vast amount of sensory information obtained from the environment, enters the sensory memory, I believe, holds relevance, in noting the importance of the first phase of the inquiry process. I like to imagine the sensory memory as a sort of filter. Information that captures the attention of the learner will continue to be processed. However, if the information fails to capture of the learner, it will be lost. This therefore highlights the importance of capturing the attention of the learner. Furthermore generating motivation to learn is also a vital aspect in the learning so to encourage student are actively engaged in learning (Woolfolk and Magnetts, 2013)
How can we capture the learners attention/generate this motivation?
iCan be through asking open-ended questions ii.Presenting the students with intriguing/open ended objects iii.Tapping in to prior knowledge
4.Prepare to report
5.Report A student centered active learning process is, driven by the student, and encourages a sense of autonomy, ownership and empowerment over their learning
(Canning, 2007) am currently on PRAC at a small school in Coorparoo. The year 5 teacher I have been placed with is a great advocate of the ‘Inquiry Based Pedagogy’. I remember quite distinctly, it was my second week of Prac in the Year 5 classroom. I walked though the door that and poster that said, ‘Quiet Little Einstein’s at Work’ that had all of the students names on it. As I entered the classroom I noticed several colourfully decorated posters that hung overhead across the length of the classroom. The students, proud of their work would tow me to the poster they had made. Upon closer inspection I found that each of the posters had a quote on them. They explained that they were asked to find a quote that was inspirational to them, ‘meant a lot to them’, said by Einstein. Miss M informed me this inquiry developed after the students were asking about the poster on the door- who’s Einstien?ect… And so the class launched an inquiry about Einstein, who he was, what was his work, what did he believe… the students displayed their work proudly and were satisfied with the knowledge of Einstein. This is of course an example of how the Inquiry process can be adapted and implemented in the middle years of schooling. However the same principles and steps are followed in the learning process. I was assigned the reading:
'What if all the kids are white?: anti biased themes for teaching young children' By Louise Derman-Sparks and Patricia Ramsey The reading explored the problematic nature of teaching anti biased themes to young children.
I opened the reading discussion by deconstructing and exploring the title.
ANTI-BIAS Education.
We began discussing what we meant by Anti biased education.
I questioned the group- which groups are most often victimized in education?
We discussed the notion of children from cultural minorities falling victim to a biased education.
I asked the group: How might we change this?
I presented the group with my findings based on research.
A surprising notion that I discovered through my research was this idea of 'colour blindness' (Boutte, Lopez-Robertson and Powers-Costello, 2011), whereby a teacher stated...
' I don't care if they are Black, White, or green with polka-dots, I treat all students the same' (Boutte, Lopez-Robertson and Powers-Costello, 2011)
I asked the group for any comments they wished to express in response to this quote This facilitated a discussion about equity and equality which flowed into a discussion about viewing cultural diversity as an enrichment to a child's education as opposed to adopting a 'deficit' view.
We spoke briefly about a child's 'virtual schoolbag' and school readiness.
The article began, discussing three common misconceptions held by teachers.
they are
1.Racial, ethnic and cultural diversity refers only to people who are 'different from whites'2.We can only teach white children about diversity if they are in a group work children of colour
3. anti-bias curriculum only needs to focus on white children's attitudes towards children of colour, not only their own identity development.
All of which have implications for the students.
In response to these misconceptions I presented the group with three persona dolls, (I specifically chose three characters that I felt the group might recognize, Dora the Explorer, Bob the Builder and Madeline) and asked the students to place themselves in their dolls shoes and explore what might be the implications of these three misconceptions for their students.
This was a technique discussed by the authors whereby students are encouraged to develop a sense of empathy in learning the stories of the persona dolls and imagining life through their eyes. I then asked the group: what might be some strategies for developing an effective anti-biased eduction.
I presented the group with the seven strategies suggested by Derman-Sparks and Ramsey, and primarily focused discussion on the fifth level strategy suggested : Learn to identify and challenge stereotypes, prejudice, and discriminatory practices among themselves and in the immediate environment.
I then presented the group with the scenario discussed in the reading, where, a group of young children were gathered and were singing a derogatory rhyme. It became apparent that the young students were completely oblivious to the meaning of their song,

I then asked the tutorial group, 'are students too young to learn about prejudice, bias and inequality?'- We all agreed that students are not too young. Overall I feel the reading discussion ran rather smoothly. I did feel, however, that some of my colleagues were hesitant to enter discussion on what could be considered a confronting topic.

Personally, I felt unsure of the language used in the reading, 'colour blindness', or 'what if all the kids were white'. "The Physical Environment is often regarded as the context in which the social and educational objectives of Early Childhood are pursued" (Barblett, 2010) the physical layout of the space should be designed in an inviting and provoking manner to encourage exploration, learning and inquiry (Barblett, 2010). Source: Joy, John & Sherry, 2003 Phillips, Lecture week 5 Source: Woolfolk &Margetts, 2013 What do you think?
What do you see?
What do you wonder? Communication through visual literacy:
This reminds me of how a space can communicate to the students within that space.
This immediately reminded me of the importance of creating a safe and secure environment.
Why? to be I believe it is vitally important to create a safe and secure learning environment so that students can and feel comfortable to partake in learning that extends their thinking, encourages them to take risks and develop their self-confidence and independence. The teacher acts as co-player to extend a child's thinking- I feel this is closely linked with Vygotskian theory, whereby students construct understandings of the world through social interactions (Woolfolk & Magnetts, 2013). Preparation for real life- real life objects such as the pizza boxes or old restaurant menus (PRAC BOOK). Key Aspect in Developing a Highly Stimulating Learning Environment:
-links with community and families
-should extend language
- specifically chosen colours that foster motivation to learn
-Supporting and safe
- Cater for Multiple Intelligences
- Encourage social Interaction
- connection to real world
-encourage higher order thinking, problem solving and decision making Source: Balise and Nuttall, 2012 Source: Balise and Nuttall, 2011 Source: Blaise and Nuttall (2011) Source: Blaise and Nuttall, 2011 (Pestalozzi, 1746-1827) in Phillips, Lecture 2, 2013 (Woolfolk and Magnetts, 2013) What is Pedagogy?Pedagogy, is the art of teaching.
What is effective pedagogy?I would say effective pedagogy is the art of employing teaching, tools and practices that ultimately work to achieve a goal, in particular, I would suggest this goal is to encourage independent and active learners (ELYF, 2009)
What are these effective teaching, tools and practices? In understanding that every child is different it is somewhat difficult to determine pedagogy that are effective to an individual child’s learning. However…Conducting observations in child’s play and critiquing these observations through a variety of different lenses, the information gathered can act to inform our teaching practice (Blaise & Nuttall, 2011 p. 18) There are three key forms of observational lenses to which educators inform their practice there are; Developmentalism, constructivism, and social constructivism. Early Acquisition of Mathematics skills, knowledge and understanding in the younger years includes the learning and practice of counting, learning about base 10 numbers, sorting, classifying, matching, patterning, comparing and organization (Dole, 2013). Our role as educators is to provide our students with the tools, skills, knowledge and understanding to function as active citizens, this included numerical tools, skills, knowledge and understands . Below are some key points raised in the summary of this week’s teaching: •Three year old children have the highest activity level of any age in the human life span ((Maude, 2001) in Phillips, 2013)
•Increased screen time
•Not Playing out doors?
•Develop Locomotive, stability and fine and gross motor skills
•Physical play
•Movement concepts
•Outlined in; ACARA (Draft HPE Curriculum, 2012) and QKLG (2010)
•The environment:
•What is the teachers role in outdoor play?
During my Kindergarten visit, I was interested to see the teachers assume the role of an observer of outdoor play. They would occasionally ask the students what they were doing or would remind them to tidy their space but did not engage in their play.

The staff at the Kindergarten I visited, informed me they make the most of every opportunity for the students to play outside.
According to the teachers the most popular play areas students choose most often, include, the sandpit and the jungle gym. The students also enjoy playing with the chalk, drawing on the pathway. These activities promote physical development in fine motor (drawing with chalk, pouring sand into small containers), gross motor skills (pushing, pulling), and locomotive skills (climbing, running, crawling). In the lecture this week we were told a story, and in fact, we became apart of the story too! Learning through active drama process, 'provides modeling of language strategies, and dramatic tension to enhance story scripting' (Dunn 2008). Literacy is Multimodal Gestural Visual Auditory Spatial Linguistic Tactile Home Literacy Children Build a sense of Well being- QKCG A key point of discussion as future educators that arises when considering Physical Activity in Schools is the implementation of the Smart Moves Program. The introduction of smart moves has been met by teachers and parents with mixed reviews. My tutorial group all seemed to be in support of the implementation. The main concern raise was the lack of time to take out 30 minuites of the day for smart moves, having said this we spoke about how you can be clever in the ways you incorporate physical activity into you teaching. Above is a video that I feel, provides great examples of how you can incorporate physical activity into learning.
The 'Lets Get Moving Game' (2004) is a great way of getting kids active and could be incorporated as a part of daily smart moves routine. Furthermore, if I were to use this game in my classroom I might encourage children to make up a story about the movements, for example if we are crawling really slowly- why? are we trying to escape through a tunnel after sneaking into the dragons den? Not only was the game great fun it provided the opportunity to practice locomotive, gross motor skills and stability. Learning about safety getting out and getting active When I think about home litteracies, I am called to remember the story of Vikki and Than (Thompson, 2002), which considers what knowledge, skills and understandings are valued at school and which are ignored-> Bordieu's theory of Social Capital.

Thompson (2002), stated that every student has a 'virtual school bag' full of the knowledge, understanding and skills they bring from home into the classroom and It is our role to ensure the contents of their virtual backpacks are valued and considered.

When considering ESL students recent research suggests that the Reggio Emelian Curriculum approach is effective in teaching. WHy? It is the idea of children around children, learning from one another, instructions can be explained by the other students in simpler terms,children are used as a critical resource for a child's learning (Canning, 2007) Last year I had the privileged of visiting the Pullenvale Environmental Educational Center the pedagogy implemented by the PEEC is unique to their school and is called 'storythread' (Tooth-lecture, 2013). The students become part of a story and it is us to them how to resolve any complications that arise, how the story plays out and how the story ends. It was very interesting to observe. Children Engaged in Higher Order Thinking, Decision Making, Multiple literacy and problem solving. At my Prac school we acted out a play for the student to introduce them to the topic of study about Eratosthenes. Whilst the students enjoyed it , to me it highlighted the importance of including the students in the drama process. I wounder how much more engaged they would have been? This calls us to consider the 'literacy or language of the classroom' 'What if all the kids are white?' by Louise Derman-Sparks and Patricia Ramsey immediately caused me to reflect upon the notion cultural diversity and the implications for teachers.
An issue raised by the textbook and the reading is the notion of school readiness.

What is school readiness and how do we determine when a child is ready for school?
Early last year, in my study of child development, marked the first time I considered this
concept of 'school readiness'.
We were introduced to several
children and explored their life prior
to school. We explored key
characteristics of how we
might predict a child
might fare on their
first day of school, based on
a variety of factors that
influence child development.
Including Socio-economic
Background, culture,
personality, cognitive ability,
skills, understanding and prior
knowledge, values...
see website: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/life/child/lifeat5/ANASTASIA.htm

what can we do to
make sure our students transition
into school is smooth?

I have been to 10 schools and so I well understand
and can easily sympathies with the challenges students face transitioning into a new school setting.
What helped me most?
- feeling safe and secure
support of my family,
friendly inviting warm and supportive environment
- knowledge of what is usually
expected in schools (for example
raising my hand...)
- in terms of fitting in
Coming from America I did not share the
knowledge of popular TV shows or music therefore finding a common interest was difficult.
In a way I feel this translates into school readiness, whilst I had knowledge of popular TV shows that aired in America this knowledge was
not recognized by the Australian students
leaving me ill prepared to fit in.
Similarly in the school setting, on a child's
first day of school they may not have
previously experience the routines and
rituals expected at school.
( Blaise and Nuttall, 2011 and
Tompson, 2002) Reference List Reflecting upon this focus, Mathematics in the Early Years, reminded me of the several numerical moments we experience each and every day. The teaching of Numeracy skills, is teaching students concept that are applied in everyday life. I still wonder about Assessment...
We spoke in the tutorial groups about some fun and interesting ways that we could engage students in the learning of such numerical skills, on idea that I thought was really great was the idea of the students making beads and stringing them in patterns to make necklaces. the school that I am currently at Prac is a catholic school and they were discussing the idea of incoorporating this idea into the creation of large rosary beads (could be assessed in terms of patterns).I also found learning/practicing numerical skills through application to real life problems that arose an effective approach (such as our application to the cubijube problem).
In terms of assessment: I Feel Documentation (Reggio Emelian Approach)throughout the course of the year to model progress is a good way of going about assessing the acquisition of Numerical skills. Using real life examples
using play experiences
I recall in a year one classroom where we were learning about place value and we created a number line out of string and would peg our number where it should be placed on our number line Southey, 2012 Modeling, Designing and Play Tactile objects, blocks, playdough
Puzzles Eisenhauer & Feikes, 2009 Memorable Quote:
"There is an inner voice that pushes children on, but this force is greatly multiplied when they are convinced that facts and ideas are resources, just as their friends and the adults in their lives are precious resources. It is especially at this point that children expect - as they have from the beginning of their life adventure - the help and truthfulness of grownups".
Loris Malaguzzi (from the catalogue of the exhibit 'The Hundred Languages of Children') The Important steps to creating literacy Rich Environments
(Dunn, 2005)
1. select a play context with the potential for opportunities across the full range of literacies.
2.Develope a shared Understanding of the fictional or real world context to be explored in the play space using the teacher-in-role strategy
3.Involve the children in the process of designing the play space
4. Plan for play:including the facilitation of discussion around the what's up factor. Learning through real life scenarios-
(Gallizo,Stoll &Hutchinns, 2009) Yelland, Lee, O'Rouke &Harrison, 2008) Assessment?
though journals.
To me this was a great way of documenting student progress and understanding and can be used as a form of assessment. Upon reflection of the reading, 'Practical Possibilities and Pedagogical Approaches for early childhood education for sustainability', by Pratt (2010). I was reminded of a seminar one of yo colleges attended whereby they visited a paperless school. Sustainability is embedded in the ethos in the school and encourages students to also live and learn sustainably. useful resources: http://www.sportnz.org.nz/
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