Decision-making is an ongoing and interconnected process based on teachers’ understandings about, and conversations with, children, colleagues, families, community members and professional partners.
Teachers plan with a focus on learning priorities, environments and contexts for individuals, small groups and the whole group. Planning involves long-term, medium-term and short-term decisions that respond to children’s strengths, interests, ideas and needs. It is important for children to play an active role in their own learning by:
- contributing to shared thinking, planning and organising for learning
- negotiating ways to follow their interests and ideas
- engaging in conversations to reflect on what they have learnt.
Developing learning contexts
In kindergarten programs, play, real-life engagements, routines and transitions are the contexts for the interactions and conversations important for learning. When children actively engage with others in these contexts, they build relationships, co-construct learning, reconstruct ideas and reflect on new ways to make sense of the world.
These contexts provide opportunities to help strengthen children’s wellbeing, sense of identity and pride in their cultural heritage by building connections to people, places and languages.
They provide opportunities for children to share decision-making and be supported to make choices. Children’s prior and current social and cultural experiences will influence their engagement with the learning contexts.
Interacting with and responding to children
Children are active, competent learners who learn through interactions with people, objects, symbols and ideas. High-quality verbal interactions between teachers and children have a significant influence on children’s understanding of the language of learning and a positive impact on learning outcomes. It is important for teachers to acknowledge the diverse communication skills of kindergarten children.
Teachers extend children’s oral language, alternative communication skills and thinking by:
- building positive dispositions towards learning
- inviting children to imagine and inquire
- acknowledging children’s strengths, interests, ideas and needs
- engaging in back-and-forth interactions
- reflecting on learning with children.