A particular topic, question or idea is explored over a period of time with a small group of children or with the whole group – it depends on the children’s interest.
- A topic, question or idea emerges from the children, teachers or families. These may be aspects the children are exploring, as well as teacher research.
- A web of ideas is constructed as a source of possibilities.
- Experiences to prompt investigation are provided.
- The journey is documented.
- Staff meet and reflect on the documentation and make decisions about where it’s going. Staff map the children’s key events, hypothesis and directions.
- The investigation may continue or evolve into something else. They may last a day, term or even a year depending on the interest.
- Investigations document the co-construction of meaning of children and adults.
Artwork, dialogues and photos
Artwork, photos and dialogues reflect project work, moments and day-to-day discoveries. Significant and meaningful pictures or conversations are identified by teachers and children and families.
- Photos of the experience of a completed artwork are displayed together with the artwork.
- Conversations are displayed with a photo of that interaction.
- Analysis and/or applied theory from the adult’s or child’s perspective may accompany the display.
- Artworks and displays are presented aesthetically. They are framed with careful thought to use of colour and light.
- There is a balance of artwork in the room so that it does not become visually hectic or over-stimulating to the eye.
- The environment is respected. Windows provide light and are not covered with paintings.
Critical thinking and talking time
During small or whole group experiences the children learn and express their ideas, ask questions and listen to other points of view. We see children as
- co constructors of meaning
- as empathisers
- as sharers of knowledge
Children at this age are becoming more aware of values and morals reflected within society – what is right and wrong and the ‘shades of grey’ in between. As adults in their lives we play a vital role in modelling, shaping and supporting their ideas and sense of meaning. We do this by valuing and respecting children’s opinions, listening to their thoughts and challenging their ideas. The following questions are examples that can be used to elicit ideas, provoke discussions and challenge values.
- What do you know about……..?
- I was wondering what would happen next if……..?
- What did you notice about……?
- Do you have anything to share?
- What do you think about?…… (e.g. boys wearing jewellery)