One of the best lessons I designed was a learning experience for 2-3 year olds in a Kindergarten setting whereby the children in groups were asked to create a ‘Christmas Wreath’ with limited support from others.
My inspiration grew from an earlier experience whereby I observed the children as they actively engaged in studying and building 3D shapes in small groups of 5. The children were using their own thinking and joint planning as they built their shape individually or with a peer. As they constructed and communicated with each other they built up their own knowledge and shared their information with their peers. Vygotsky’s social constructive theory has specific ideas on how children are perceived. The EYLF also views children in the same light as the Vygotskian theories stating that ‘learning through play provides a supportive environment where children can ask questions, solve problems and engage in critical thinking. Play can expand children’s thinking and enhance their desire to know and to learn.’ (DEEWR, 2009). Observing the children at play as they interacted with peers and their teacher inspired me to design a lesson that would be engaging and help build on this knowledge to extend their thinking about patterns and their relationships. This lesson occurred during the Christmas period and the teacher had put on a Christmas CD to listen to as they engaged.
My idea to have the children create a wreath stemmed from the timing of the professional experience (December), and the idea to build on the children’s prior knowledge (shapes). I searched different sites to see if I could find an activity including this site using the thematics of Christmas to plan the lesson. I then searched the EYLF to investigate the outcomes that students were expected to experience throughout their early years. From this website, I chose curriculum descriptors 1.1, 2.3, 4.1, 5.1, 5.2, 5.4. These descriptions allowed me to plan a lesson whereby the students would feel safe and supported in a learning experience that inspired them to develop their dispositions for learning, increase their collaboration skills, provide them with a range of texts to gain meaning and develop their understanding of how symbols and pattern systems worked.
I designed the lesson this way because it is important to provide students with experiences that build on prior knowledge in environments that they learn best from. Having the children create their own wreath while working in groups would fit with Vygotskian theories and the views of the EYLF. The students would also be provided with a fun activity to help them meet their intended outcomes stated in the EYLF.
This became my favourite lesson as the learning experience allowed most of the children to reach their outcomes in an environment where they felt safe, happy and secure. Most of all they had a fabulous time and were able to take their wreath home to hang.
Great to know of the following lesson plan sites shared on study desk for future reference!