Don’t Follow On. Do Extend Learning.
What do you say to an assessor who says “show me how this links?” Read on to find out and to clear up the confusion!
Several weeks ago Centre Support posted a blog about the “follow-on”. This is a concept that most would associate with our old developmentally appropriate program of the past.
“Follow on” referred to the next logical or linear experience that educators would plan to further a child’s development. It would be identified in a particular domain such as fine motor, gross motor or cognitive. Usually we would have a goal for children to achieve which was predetermined by the carer because we were fully focused on the child moving to the next developmental milestone.
That is the past.
Now with EYLF and MTOP we ‘extend learning’.
What’s the difference?
Extending learning under EYLF and MTOP means teaching children using their interests or strengths. Learning can start on the day with family input, conversations, paintings, drawings, community connections, and the child/children’s interest can be ‘extended’ to teach skills, concepts, processes, knowledge that are relevant and valuable to the child and society. This may be a skill such as how to use scissors; it may be knowledge about planes and the airport, where families live, how to play a game, aspects of hygiene, how to recycle or how to write their name. It’s all achieved using children’s interests and strengths. This is what we mean by learning occurring in a “meaningful context.”
If we are responsive to children we will use the learning opportunity to extend learning immediately or as soon as possible – NOT next week as we did with the “follow ons” of the past. We use the interest to extend learning in the ‘here and now’. Learning possibilities then continue on to the next day or weeks. Extending learning does not mean we plan a resource like we did in follow-ons. Planning is not all about the resource. It is about taking the learning further and “co-constructing” learning with the children and families.
Don’t get caught up in the past. Don’t complete “follow ons.” Instead extend learning. Use children’s interests to create meaningful contexts and achieve the learning outcomes.