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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.
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.
  • How could you connect children’s interests with your curriculum and learning goals?
  • How does she use the reflection process to plan for children’s next stage learning?
  • What strategies do you use to sustain children’s engagement, motivation and confidence as learners?
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Unit plan - Kindergarten