VEYLDF Practice Principles – Integrated Teaching and Learning Approaches

Anne Stonehouse:

My name is Anne Stonehouse. Welcome to the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework Practice Principle video series.

The framework is for all professionals and services working with children from birth to eight years. In the videos, you see each practice principle in action. It is important to remember that all the principles intersect and overlap combined, they guide professional practice.

This video should be used in conjunction with the Practice Principle guide on integrated teaching and learning approaches. The guide is on the Department of Education and Training website.

Children learn in many different ways from birth. Integrated teaching and learning includes guided play and learning, adult-led learning and child-directed play and learning.

Most learning is not solely adult or child initiated or led. Instead, it is characterised by a back-and-forth interwoven dynamic. At times, adults initiate, at other times the child does. Most learning situations involve both parties taking an active role.

Play is a particularly powerful way that children learn. It is central to the concept of integrated teaching and learning approaches. Play is essential to stimulate and integrate a wide range of children's intellectual, physical, social and creative abilities.

Effective early childhood practices use integrated teaching and learning approaches to support sustained and shared interactions with children.

Today, we will be visiting several services. The professionals, families and children at these sites will help you consider integrated teaching and learning approaches and how they relate to your service.

Lisa Taverna:

If you stand back and watch a group of children playing, the conversations that they can have playing, you cannot give that to them. They come up with that.

They play with dinosaurs, play in home corner, playing with blocks and building things that are taller, shorter, bigger, and wider. They come up with that.

When we have a sort of structured play, in a sense, they can then write about that. They can write about what they played with, who they played with, what they did and what they made.

Natalie Peters:

Because the space is quite challenging. At first, they did not go on the equipment very much. There was a lot of playing on the ground and in bushes, and we as adults became comfortable with the challenges of the playground.

They began to go on the really big slide, try and climb the rock wall. You know, they tried new things as they became comfortable with this space.

Anne Stonehouse:

Children's sense of identity and agency is supported when they have opportunities to be in charge of their learning.

Children, even very young children can also teach other children. Play is a particularly valuable way for children to learn. However, not all play is constructive and positive.

Adults have an important role even when play is child-directed. They monitor, model, facilitate and extend children's play and learning.

Emma Buckler:

Child-initiated and teacher-initiated learning is a big struggle to get that balance, sometimes I feel. Trying to ensure we are planning by the children's interests, which is a big thing in the way that I plan.

Ensuring that we are watching what the children are doing and extending their learning. But then something may come from a child in, say for example, that they have talked about going somewhere in the world, but then teaching them, taking that and doing more intentional teaching.

It has come from the child but ensuring that we get the world map out and we teach them certain places in the world and the cultures about these places in the world. As a group doing intentional teaching, but it has also come from the child.

I definitely do intentional teaching in terms of experiments, a lot of science experiments that we do, I know from past years they love building the volcanoes in the sandpits, seeing balloons on strings and how fast which one will go faster, blowing into them, blowing up a balloon without using your mouth, things like that that have not come from the children, but I'll intentionally teach that because it's a scientific way of learning that they can extend on from there.

Suzie Luke:

The program is structured so there is intentional teaching that they get to know the word fossil and they are introduced to words like palaeontologist.

And then there's active sequences where they are engaged in, you know, exploring and discovering from themselves and also working with the adults and the family groups that are already here and getting a one-on-one session with myself or other adults.

Liz Suda:

By making the information accessible via video, via audio, via simple text labels, by the way, things are laid out. There are a lot of communication devices that the museum uses to make sure that each person, irrespective of where they are coming from, can access something about the information.

Anne Stonehouse:

Intentionality means that what the adult does has purpose and that actions are thoughtful.

Critical reflection that leads to effective intentional teaching strategies may be pre-planned or spontaneous to support achievement of identified goals.

Professionals need to know what is important for children to learn and how best to help them learn these skills and concepts. Professionals make decisions about what to introduce to children and when.

What is important for them to know and understand and how to go about building on each child's existing knowledge?

This might involve teaching children explicit subject matter and skills to deepen and extend children's knowledge, understanding and values.

Lisa Taverna:

Your aim is that you want children to be independent learners and to take risks in their learning and to go to that next step and it is hard. They are not going to learn by me doing it all for them. But they do need that support.

They need that support of the teacher or even in integration and yes in the classroom, sometimes and especially in preps, sometimes it is most of the time they will need support, but it is knowing when that support has to be.

You have got to take those few steps back. When you are teaching you are constantly working with students in knowing when to help them and when to take that step back.

Wendy Jarvis:

They often help each other and work together. Holding something or holding down something while you stick it or what do you think about this? Or a lot as you saw with the pipe cleaners. I like the idea of twisting those pipe cleaners together. A couple of the others tried that.

Things like choosing their own creature and having some control over what they are doing is really important. That said, you have got to know your children. And I know there are some children in there that if I do not touch base with them, they're likely not to do very much, at least at the start. They have trouble getting going.

Mel Simpson:

Cooking from the fridge experience. Children will start to learn how to cook, to think about, OK? This is what I want to have. And I invited children for their cooking ideas or their recipes.

The key thing with this experience was for children to lead it, and through leading that experience, they learn those skills of cooking and the decision-making involved because every child needs to learn those skills and one of our underpinning outcomes.

Anne Stonehouse:

Sustain shared thinking often describes an interaction between a child and a professional where each contributes, and the aim is to extend the child's skills and understanding.

Professionals use strategies to support sustained and shared interactions with children through play and more focused experiential learning.

This involves attunement to children, active engagement by and with children, sustain shared thinking and conversations and intentional teaching.

You can engage in sustained, shared thinking with all children, including those who communicate non-verbally.

Professionals build on all children's skills, knowledge, understandings and interests to make new learning engaging and relevant. Professionals and families also provide environments, materials and resources that are open-ended, authentic and engaging.

One aim of all professionals is for children to be self-directed, motivated learners who explore, solve problems, communicate, think, create and construct ideas and understandings.

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