Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

Inquiry learning in play spaces


About this Illustration of Practice

An early childhood teacher shares how she plans for and implements a structured inquiry program working from students’ interests to achieve curriculum goals. The teacher is highly organized and has clear intentions for children’s learning. She structures and sequences children’s ‘investigations’, maintaining their engagement and scaffolding their learning. She builds in reflection with individuals and the class, enhancing their metacognitive capacity and retention and transfer of what has been learned. She plans for each child’s next stage learning on the basis of observation, conversation and analysis of learning captured in a Learning Story format.

Standard 3
Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning
Focus area 3.2
Plan, structure and sequence learning programs
Career stage
Proficient
Descriptor
Plan and implement well-structured learning and teaching programs or lesson sequences that engage students and promote learning.
Other descriptors
Standard 3
Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning
Focus area 3.5
Use effective classroom communication
Career stage
Proficient
Descriptor
Use effective verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to support student understanding, participation, engagement and achievement.
Standard 3
Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning
Focus area 3.6
Evaluate and improve teaching programs
Career stage
Proficient
Descriptor
Evaluate personal teaching and learning programs using evidence, including feedback from students and student assessment data, to inform planning.
  1. How could you connect children’s interests with your curriculum and learning goals?
  2. What strategies do you use to sustain children’s engagement, motivation and confidence as learners?
  3. How does she use the reflection process to plan for children’s next stage learning?
Learning area
English
Year level
Foundation
Australian Curriculum content descriptions
ACELY1652
Learning area
Science
Year level
Foundation
Australian Curriculum content descriptions
ACSSU002
School
O’Connor Cooperative School
Australian Capital Territory
Stage of schooling
Primary
School type
Government
School location
Metropolitan
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The two hour block called ‘Investigations’ operates four mornings a week and integrates literacy and numeracy, creative construction and arts exploration with Science Understanding and Science Inquiry Skills. The five and six year old students, who are highly motivated and self-organised, elect to work at different learning environments during the session.
They build constructions and solve problems, develop fine motor skills at the clay table, use writing and digital cameras to communicate their thinking and apply numeracy understandings in the ‘Home Corner’ which is currently a shop.

The teacher’s intentions encompass cognitive goals relating to those Science concepts, and Science inquiry skills; literacy and numeracy understandings; and foundational dispositions for learning such as confidence, persistence, creativity, cooperation and problem solving capacity.
Content provider
Organisation
Early Childhood Australia (ECA)

© Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), 2012 (except where indicated under acknowledgements). You may use, reproduce and adapt this material for educational purposes until 31 December 2016, provided you retain this notice and all acknowledgements associated with the material.