Mixing Explicit Direct Instruction with guided play and inquiry based learning
Early Childhood Education has changed a lot over the years and there are many schools of thought on the best way to deliver educational programmes to early years children. What is agreed upon, both in Australia and internationally is how important a good quality education is in the early years. The Early Years Learning Framework puts guided play and inquiry based learning firmly as the best practice pedagogical approach and of course this approach must be part of any early childhood teaching programme. This does not, however, exclude explicit teaching in some areas.
At Swan Valley Anglican Community School we use explicit direct instruction in our core subjects. This involves an interactive warm up of skills and concepts children have already been taught. This is delivered in a fun way and sees children moving around the class punching out words, singing, skipping and hopping. Research indicates that it takes at least 20 repetitions for something to go into long term memory. Which is why the warm up repeats the concepts taught until children have automatic recall. The main lesson then explicitly teaches new skills breaking them down and giving children the repetition, demonstration and support they need to enable the majority of the class to achieve success when they come to carry out the task independently.
During inquiry time the students then have the chance to inquire, play and investigate in the areas set up around the room. These areas are set up to reflect the interests of the children within the class, promote creativity and exploration and to allow children to practise new skills and concepts taught. Children need to make their own sense of the world around them and build on existing knowledge. Knowledge of numbers, letters and sounds need to be taught before the children can begin to experiment explore how they are used.
Mrs Jo Crawshaw
Associate Principal Early Childhood