Scaffolding Children's Learning
By Christina Agelakis
When your family enrols at Little Village, we ask you to fill out a profile for your child that in part includes their routines, activities and their and interests. This helps us get to know your child better. You might be thinking ‘This is great, but their interests change from one day to the next!’ We agree, that’s why this is just the starting point of our relationship. We use this information to make your child feel safe and gain a sense of belonging with us.
One of the best ways we can understand your child’s knowledge, interests, ideas, and abilities is to watch them as they play.
How does your child learn best? What are they capable of? Are they hands-on? Are they apprehensive? Are they happier on their own? Do they test their own theories? Do they just want to find out how things work? Do they ask 100 questions? Do they need guidance? Do they tinker? Do they crave outside time?
As Educators, we must understand children on an individual level, as well as how they interact as a group. The way we do this is through observation.
The Early Years Learning Framework requires Educators to facilitate and extend each child’s learning and development through responsive teaching and scaffolding.
Scaffolding is a relatively odd word to hear in relation to children, right? When we think of scaffolding, we think of a temporary framework to support construction. In Early childhood education, scaffolding works almost the same way to build on neural pathways, knowledge, interests, and skills.
Educators respond to children’s ideas and play by asking open-ended questions, offering what they know about the subject, and working together with the child to achieve a greater understanding of the world they live in. This will happen on the spot, and Educators will then use this as a basis for further intentional teaching.
Please note our Educators will assess whether they need to interject, or if the child will benefit more by just ‘being’ in the moment.
This can happen at any age for any child.
A 6-month-old might be fascinated by the birds flying past their window.
An Educator will take lunchtime outside to make the mealtime more enjoyable, calm, and relaxed.
A 12-month-old might be interested in crunching leaves.
An Educator will provide a sensory extension to meet the sensory feedback the child seeks.
A 2-year-old might make cups of tea in the sandpit
An Educator will provide a home corner set up to further their interest in role-playing.
A 3-year-old might start a painting and end up painting off the piece of paper
An Educator will remove the paper and let the child explore their ideas through creative freedom.
A 4-year-old might tell you about their trip to Australia Zoo with their family
An Educator can prepare their learning environment with a Zoo provocation, story, and role play so they can make meaning from what they have seen in the wider community.
A 5-year-old might tell you they feel angry because they couldn’t bring their new toy into Kindy.
An Educator can explore emotions through books and stories which involve characters with similar traits to the 5-year-old.
We continue to build our knowledge of your children throughout the year and highly value your input into our program. You can do this by sharing what your child is interested in, what adventures you get up to on the weekend, or just everyday life. We are always interested to learn about your culture, your family dynamics, and what you value in this beautiful life.
We find the learning opportunities every day at Little Village and we hope to encourage you to scaffold these moments at home too by:
• Join in in a child’s play as a partner while still allowing the child to lead.
• Ask open-ended questions such as “Tell me about what you have made” or “What do you think this is for?”
• Introduce materials or props.
• Offer encouragement in verbal and non-verbal ways.
• Model for children by playing and showing deep engagement
“Careful and intentional observing enables teachers to sensitively individualize their scaffolding to meet each infant’s needs.”