The Early Years Learning Framework describes play-based learning as a context through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds as they engage actively with people, objects and representations. So how can educators balance this with intentional teaching or intentionality?
Intentional educators engage with children through the contexts of play, real-life engagements and routines. They critically reflect and plan to support and extend learning, and are purposeful, deliberate and thoughtful in their practice. Intentional teaching is different from directing children towards specific learning in a structured environment, as practices are embedded in the decision making process of educators as they plan and organise the physical learning environment.
Quality Area 1 Educational program and practice, standard 1.2 advocates that educators design and deliver a program for each child. At the element level, this includes responding to children’s ideas and play while intentionally scaffolding and extending their learning.
Educators using intentional teaching achieve this by creating an environment where children can ask questions, solve problems and engage in critical thinking. This extends and adds value to play by providing opportunities to learn as children discover, create, improvise and imagine. Intentional educators support the emergent curriculum and children’s agency by being sensitive to the way children are already structuring their activity and interacting with their peers.
My Time Our Place defines intentionality as educators who recognise that learning occurs in social contexts, and that interactions and conversations are important for learning. Educators who engage in intentional actions actively promote children’s learning through meaningful and challenging experiences and interactions that extend or affirm learning.
As part of the E4Kids research, Professor Collette Tayler from the University of Melbourne (and Deputy Chair of the ACECQA Board) found that “Within play-based approaches to supporting children’s learning, there is good evidence that ‘intentional teaching’ can make a major contribution to the learning and development of the child. Intentional teaching requires the adult to be aware of the individual child’s understanding and capabilities and then to ‘nudge’ them to extend their knowledge and skills”.
2015-16 National Workshops
Thank you to everyone who joined us in the ACT at the launch of our second series of National Workshops. The October session was attended by 100 educators and facilitated by ACECQA’s National Education Leader in partnership with the ACT regulatory authority and the ACT Professional Support Coordinator.
Workshops will take place in Western Australia in the week beginning 15 February and the Northern Territory in the week beginning 29 February.
Dates and locations for the remaining states and territories are being finalised and will be promoted through our Events page, social media and newsletter.