Planning for Play, Observation, and Learning: How on Earth Do You

Report
“Planning for Play, Observation,
and Learning:
How on Earth Do You Do it All?”
Gaye Gronlund, M.A.
Early Childhood Education
Consultant
Tucson, AZ & Traverse City, MI
[email protected]
Your work is not haphazard or random - it is
thoughtful and planned.You base what you do on:
● what you learn from your observations of children in action
● your knowledge of child development
● and your magical way of weaving learning into play and
exploratory experiences.
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
Today we will focus on tips and strategies for
planning a program that incorporates the best
practices for young children including:
●play-based activities and exploratory experiences with
learning at the core
●authentic, observational assessment that helps you
know each child well and better understand
developmental pathways
●working in partnership with families so that you can
communicate effectively with each other about learning
through play, and together see the development and
progress of their child
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
Curriculum is imbedded in every minute
that children are in attendance.
The focus on learning happens
in play and exploration,
in large and small group times,
and in daily routines (like hand washing,
snacks and meals, and transitions).
Reflective teachers integrate observation with curriculum
planning.
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
The
Planning/Observation/Individualization
Cycle
Planning
Individualization,
Adjustments &
Accommodations
Implementation
AgeAppropriate
GOALS
Integrated in
All Activities
Observation
Reflection
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
From Planning for Play, Observation, and Learning
in Preschool and Kindergarten
Gronlund 2012
Let’s look at the
planning/observation and
individualization cycle

In play

In daily routines

In small and large groups
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
Watch 3 boys at play at the water
table:
Is their play productive or chaotic?
What do you see in their behavior that helps
you to determine that?
What is beneficial about this play for them?
What would you do to support and enrich
what they are doing?
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
Play



Plan for play with learning
goals in mind
Organize the environment
and change materials as
needed
Be a play facilitator, stepping
in and out of the action
Daily Routines
Plan for daily routines with
learning goals in mind
 Facilitate routines with
those goals in mind
 Use familiar and fun
transition songs and chants

Being intentional in planning for
play & daily routines
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
Identify possible learning goals

For play and exploration
with mirrors, mobiles,
stacking rings and/or
shape boxes for infants
and toddlers

For play and exploration
with playdough or clay
and/or constructive
manipulatives like Legos
or puzzles for
preschoolers
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
Identify possible learning goals


For diapering infants or
toileting toddlers

For feeding for infants

or snacks and meals for
toddlers
For snacks or meals for
preschoolers
For outdoor time for
preschoolers
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
Write goals for play and daily routines on
your lesson plans.
The following frameworks are from Planning for Play,
Observation, and Learning in Preschool and
Kindergarten
by Gaye Gronlund
Redleaf Press 2012
You can download these forms at
www.redleafpress.org
Locate the book, click on it, and
click on Web Components to access the forms
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
Planning for Small Group Times


If done during play or choice time, children choose
whether to participate or not
◦ Science experiments, cooking activities, or art
activities that require adult supervision
◦ Skill work that has many levels of participation
If scheduled as a separate time of the daily schedule,
children are divided into two or three groups
◦ Teacher and educational assistant each supervise one
group
◦ Additional group could do independent work
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
Date:
MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
Learning Goal:
Learning Goal:
Learning Goal:
Learning Goal:
Learning Goal:
Activity & Teacher
Strategy:
Activity & Teacher
Strategy:
Activity & Teacher
Strategy:
Activity & Teacher
Strategy:
Activity & Teacher
Strategy:
Learning Goal:
Learning Goal:
Learning Goal:
Learning Goal:
Learning Goal:
Activity & Teacher
Strategy:
Activity & Teacher
Strategy:
Activity & Teacher
Strategy:
Activity & Teacher
Strategy:
Activity & Teacher
Strategy:
Large
Group
Gathering
Small
Group
(if done
during play,
done as a
choice for
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
Preschool Small Group Activity Ideas
Read a Story
Name Study
Label the
Room/Read the
Room
Shop the Room
Sort & Classify
Multiple
Collections
(bottle caps, keys,
shells, etc.)
Nature Walk &
Graph
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
Write & Draw
Explore Tastes,
Textures &
Smells
Measure the
Room
Planning Effective Large Group
Times for Preschoolers
Call children together through ritual and routine.
Move from more active to more passive activities.
Start with dancing, movement, standing songs
or chants
Move to sitting down and fingerplays, fine motor activities,
and quiet
If children settle down, choose from the following:
Take attendance
Read or act out a story
Demonstrate something
Introduce plans for the day and dismiss children as
as they make choices
Keep the group time going as long as children
are interested and engaged
Have a routine for dismissing to the next activity.
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
Tying It All Together:
Observing Children and Planning Curriculum
that Meets Their Needs
You use observations for two purposes:
To assess children’s learning and
developmental progress
To reflect on how well your curriculum
is working for individual children and
for the whole group
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
Play Story: Rocks, Water &
Brushes

Four children are gathered around the water table.
In the water are rocks and toothbrushes. The
children scrub the rocks vigorously with the brushes
and talk among themselves about getting them clean.
Shortly, the children’s attention begins to wander
and each one looks around the room even as they
continue to scrub the rocks. Soon, they lose interest
altogether, remove their plastic smocks and choose
another area in which to play.
What are some strategies that you would try to enhance the experience of
these children so that it is more engaging and moves to a higher level of
play?
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
Being a Reflective Practitioner

In order to plan for the next week, teachers and care providers
need to reflect on all that has happened this week. Formalizing the
reflection process makes the planning process more meaningful.

They reflect about how things went for the whole group.

They consider what they observed happening for individual
children.

Consider the following reflective questions:
◦
◦
◦
◦
What worked well?
What did not work well?
What did you learn about individual children?
What will you do differently next week?
© Gaye Gronlund 2011
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
Ways to Make Learning
Evident to Others

Through classroom area labels and bulletin
boards

Through displays of children’s work

Through documented observations and
assessment portfolios

Through parent newsletters

Through parent workshops
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
Host a Play Night for Families

Come and Play! Invite family members to join
their child at school (either during the day or in the
evening) and set up play areas with clear directions
for ways to work together in that area.








Read books together in the class library
Paint pictures together at the easel
Make things together at the playdough table
Build something together with blocks or Legos
Measure water or sand together at the sensory table
“Cook” dinner together in the play kitchen
Listen to a story together at the listening center
Enjoy snack together at the snack table
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
A Literacy Night for Families

Have all family members (children, too), sign in as they arrive.

Make letters out of playdough.

Make a “My Family” book with a page for each family member.

Read stories together at the class library.

Put together puzzles made by cutting up children’s name cards. Let them
take those home.

Follow directions by making snack from recipe cards with pictures and
words on them.

Tiptoe, hop, jump and walk the ABC’s on the floor.

Put together ABC puzzles.

“Read the Room” using special glasses and pointers.
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
Remember, with all that you are balancing
as you teach young children….
To teach is to touch a life
forever!!!!
© Gaye Gronlund 2013
Resources by Gaye Gronlund
available from www.redleafpress.org or www.naeyc.org

Planning for Play, Observation, and Learning in Preschool and Kindergarten

Developmentally Appropriate Play: Guiding Young Children to Higher Levels
(with parent brochure, Why Children Play, and CD-Rom program, Developmentally
Appropriate Play Stories)

Make Early Learning Standards Come Alive: Connecting Your Practice and
Curriculum to State Guidelines

Focused Observations 2nd edition: How to Observe Young Children for
Assessment and Curriculum Planning (coauthor, Marlyn James)

Focused Portfolios: A Complete Assessment for the Young Child (coauthor,
Bev Engel)

Early Learning Standards and Staff Development: Best Practices in the Face
of Change (coauthor, Marlyn James)

Produced the CD-Rom accompanying Developmentally Appropriate Practice
in Early Childhood Programs, 3rd Edition, NAEYC and the DVDs, “The New
Developmentally Appropriate Practice”, “DAP and Intentionality” and “DAP
and Play”
©Gaye Gronlund 2013

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