Child-Centred Learning: Following Their Lead Our teaching pedagogy is to create a caring learning environment that promotes confidence, creativity, and leadership. It is our goal to appeal to the unique interests of each child and give them the tools they need to take ownership of their learning.
HAVING STRONG & PREDICTABLE ROUTINES We lead a very structured program, built around consistent and predictable routines and expectations. When the program is set up this way, the students are able to internalize the routines and go on to lead them themselves. First term we model all routines, transitions and workshops to the students. By second term we start teaching the students how to lead these routines and by third term the students take on many teaching duties. Here, everyone in the classroom at different times takes on the role of a teacher and understand that we all learn from each other.
USING PLAY-BASED LEARNING Children are naturally motivated to play. A play-based program builds on this motivation, using play as a context for learning. In this context, children can explore, experiment, discover and solve problems in a way that is relevant to them. For more information on play-based learning in the Ontario Kindergarten Program please visit: www.edu.gov.on.ca/kindergarten/parents-guide-play-based-learn-en.pdf
USING PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING To motivate students to take charge of their learning we follow student interest by using problem-based learning in our teaching. In doing so, students are able to pursue their own line of questioning to explore the curriculum in class. Throughout the lessons delivered, students are encouraged to create, "I Wonder" questions which can lead and direct their own line of inquiry in independent research projects.
What Inquiry-Based Learning Looks Like in a Large Group Last year, the students decided that they wanted to care for a living-thing in our classroom. To find something suitable, we went to High Park. While at High Park, we visited the zoo and debated whether we could recreate the conditions needed for the different animals we found. We classified the animals and uncovered their basic needs. After much debate, the students found acorns on the ground and decided that growing an Oak Tree would be the perfect living thing to care for. Students collected over 200 acorns from the ground. We performed mathematics lessons on classification and made graphs to represent what type of Oak Tree produced each seed. The students then researched and found that to uncover if the acorn was viable they had to be immersed in water. Only the acorns that sunk to the bottom were still able to grow because long-snouted acorn weevil had eaten the embryo inside the other acorns. This led to another lesson in classification, addition and subtraction. This also encouraged a handful of students to start a research project on the long-snouted weevil to share with the class. Other lessons that grew out of our learning included examining the properties of soil that would be most beneficial to acorn growth, learning about cold stratification (why some seeds need to be kept in cold conditions before they are planted), the life-cycle of a deciduous tree, the seasons, mathematics lessons on circumference, and mapping as the students planned the garden where they would plant our tree.
What Inquiry-Based Learning Looks Like for the Individual Over the years, I have encountered so many students who will only participate in a task if it is meaningful to them. One particular student that I worked with loved participating in tasks if I made them magical such as by having our classroom fairy to leave him special assignments on a daily basis. One day this child came to me and said that he would really like to go on a field trip to Columbia because he heard there was treasure buried there. I told him if he could be in charge of the parent-permission forms we could discuss it. This child went on to produce the most amazing writing he had ever done which drew in social studies (geography), procedural writing and mathematics. He wrote step by step how we would get to Columbia and the wildlife and weather conditions we would have to look out for. He also calculated how we would divide the treasure equally once we uncovered it! ~Amy Craze-Teacher
APPEALLING TO A CHILD'S SENSE OF WONDER A child's imagination is an incredible learning tool. To engage the imagination of the students, our puppet Dex (who magically comes to life when we leave the room) delivers problems weekly to the students that they go on to investigate and solve. Often Dex will pack his suitcase and go missing. He will write letters and send pictures of himself in front of landmarks around the world. The students need to use these clues to infer where Dex is. To do so, the students are challenged to learn their mapping skills (the continents, the oceans, the provinces of Canada). While Dex was in the Arctic, there was a period where he was surrounded by 24 hours of daylight so the students had to help him learn to tell time so he knew what time of day it was. They also helped him design and create an energy efficient vehicle to travel back home, learn about money so he could budget appropriately and addition and subtractions skills.