Play-based Inquiry In Action

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PRE-PRIMARY TO YEAR 2

After reflecting on our traditional learning environments, we realised we need to implement a more innovative teaching method based on current neuroscience research. Our goal was to find a balance between play, inquiry and explicit teaching.

We made a transition to the Walker Learning Approach as a whole school and expanded on this pedagogical approach to amplify opportunities for interdisciplinary inquiry. The ‘Learning Through Investigation’ sessions we developed have transformed our learning environments and pedagogical practice and see children across PP-2 engaged in inquiry-rich play four mornings each week.

Learning Through Investigation forges an inclusive classroom, cultivates lifelong learners and supports our Islamic ethos in ‘Questing for knowledge

Light and shadow experiment

Where is the light coming from?

YEAR 1

The appearance of a rainbow in the sky provoked amazement with the light and colours, and questions about how a rainbow is formed. The children’s curiosity was harnessed to launch our new inquiry into light. This investigation evolved over time, including experiences that supported children to identify the sun as a source of light and to recognise that objects can be seen when light illuminates them. They investigated how we get day and night and wrote informative texts about nocturnal animals.

Among other interdisciplinary inquiry experiences, the children designed ramps and tunnels and explored ways to create light in the dark tunnel.

What happens when we mix water with other substances?

PRE PRIMARY

Children activate their curiosity and agency, and develop as self-managers, as they choose areas they would like to investigate. In the sensory area, there was a range of substances for the children to experiment with. The children worked collaboratively and created procedural texts of their experiments. Sharing their investigation with their peers during Reflection time further supported the children as strong communicators.

This inquiry incorporated aspects of the Science and English curriculum, whilst integrating opportunities for the cultivation of Personal and Social Capability.

How does what we measure influence how we measure?

YEAR 2

Inspired by a Scitech incursion, students were keen to create a ‘science lab’ in our classroom. They investigated and explored combining different liquid and solid ingredients. They observed, measured and recorded their findings.

Literacy and numeracy skills were developed while writing procedures of their experiments and measuring using informal and formal units. This inquiry made specific curriculum connections with Chemical Sciences and English.

We believe a rich learning environment acts as the third teacher.
We create thought-provoking provocations in specific learning areas to foster engagement, cultivate curiosity, and nurture children’s agency and independence.

How are the earth, moon and sun connected?

YEAR 2

After Perth’s lunar eclipse, a student expressed her fascination and desire to know more. Her question sparked discussion and an inquiry into connections between the Earth, moon and sun. This inquiry presented opportunities for children to develop Science inquiry skills and to meet the standards of the Science curriculum.

Learning spaces encourage children to connect concepts into real-life contexts, making an engaging and meaningful experience.The environment is intentionally designed to amplify student learning.

What is work and why do people do it?

YEAR 2

With strong curriculum connections to HASS and Design Technologies, in this inquiry students investigated and explored the ‘clothing industry’. They researched the process of how clothes get to the shops, the development and changes to clothing from past to present, materials used in clothes we wear, and the jobs and roles of people behind the production of clothing. This inquiry led to a ‘craft club’ learning centre, where students were able to experience designing and producing clothing.

Our Early Years Teachers’ contributed to the WA Early Childhood Australia conference on the 9th of October.

Sr Joy, Sr Supreeya and Sr Umukulthum were invited to showcase their play/inquiry-based learning. Their photos and text were made into a documentation panel for display at the conference.

Truly inspiring and instructive documentation of the powerful teaching and learning taking place in our Early Years. Alhamdulillah.

Our thanks to our Early Years Teachers for putting all of this together; our thanks to all the teachers and EAs who have worked in our Early Years over the recent years as we have moved to intentional play-based learning.

Facebook Post: https://www.facebook.com/islamicschool/posts/4597247483651849

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