What has impressed me throughout this experience is how our children are fully engaged in their learning while jumping. Right from the moment when I was setting up the obstacle/challenge course, so many of our children asked or reminded me to ‘please get your camera, so you can take photos of me flying’.
It’s such a pleasure to see the children take a keen interest and develop the ability to take control and ownership of their learning, through checking with me to see if I was ready to capture their jumping action.
Te Whāriki states that each child learns in his or her own way and the curriculum builds on a child’s current needs, strengths and interests by allowing children choices and by encouraging them to take responsibility for their learning.
“Young children are developing their awareness of themselves as learners by planning, checking, questioning, and reflecting on activities and tasks.” Ministry of Education, 1996.It was really interesting to note that when the children completed their jump they would check the camera to see if I had accurately captured the different aspects of their jumping, for example take-off, flight and landing. Learning to jump requires many skills, confidence and an adventurous attitude. Today however my focus is more than jumping, it’s about children being interested, engaged, having choices and taking responsibility of their learning.
“Children become even more curious, interested and confident when they think about the meaning of what they have done… Children’s learning is enhanced.” (JECEI)
While checking the camera the children would often question and reflect whether they were happy with the photo before heading back to the end of the queue to jump again. By capturing this learning experience it highlights how many of our children are developing the ability to plan, monitor and assess their activities, this is evident through them developing awareness of themselves as ‘a learner’.
“The fastest way to empower students is to make their work matter in the real world. By creating an environment where their effort will impact other people, you can help students recognize the tremendous power they can have, even while they are still students.” Kim Hayes, 2012
Here are some of the children’s comments and reflections:
Wyatt: “Did you get my take-off? Am I flying? Did you get my landing? Look she got me flying.”
Reese: “Did you catch my flying?”
Peter: “I’m waiting for you cause I’m going to do a high one today.”
Nyla: “I want you to count together with me, 3, 2, 1 jump.”
Toby: “Did you get my jumping into the air, it’s fun.”
Mila: “That’s a big jump, can I see it?”
Matteo: “Did you see? I jumped so high. Did you get again? I look like an aeroplane.”
Nash: “I want to do the coolest jump, Susie point the camera high.”
Tyler: “3, 2, 1, go take a click. I’m a flying bird, can you show me?”
Max: “Watch this, I want you to take a picture of me.”I believe it is important for children no matter of their age to develop and grow independent learning traits as it can foster self-reliance curiosity, self-motivation, self-examination, accountability, critical thinking, comprehension with little or no instruction, persistence and responsibility.
Having choices allows children to feel that they have control or ownership over their own learning. This, in turn, helps them develop a sense of responsibility and self-motivation. When students feel a sense of ownership, they want to engage in academic tasks and persist in learning. Barbara McCombs, PhD, University of Denver
Ngā mihi nui