Child DevelopmentEducation

Intentional environments and play based learning intersect for hey dee ho

early years children moving to music with frog puppets on their fingers

Intentional teaching is one of the core facets of the National Quality Standards (NQS).

With the revision of the approved learning frameworks, the practices of learning through play and intentional teaching have been combined to strengthen the connection between play-based learning and intentionality, promoting reflection on educator and child intentionality in all aspects of program delivery.

In the NQS Element 1.2.1 encourages educators to be deliberate, purposeful, and thoughtful in their decisions and actions when working with children and guiding their learning.

Children’s learning and development can be supported and extended through a play based program of learning where the adults who work with them engage in pedagogy, program and practice which is thoughtful, intentional, collaborative and responsive to the everyday experiences and events taking place in early childhood settings.

Recognising this, ACECQA have prepared a piece which talks about how children learn through both play and leisure, an idea which is deeply embedded in the way that hey dee ho delivers its music, dance, drama and literacy programs.

“In each of our four programs – hey dee ho music, fun-key yoga, hey dee ho active 8 and The Fiction Factory – we not only provide weekly resources for educators to support their reflections, but each of our facilitators also take time to check in with educators, learn more about what the children have been learning and doing, as well as responding ‘in the moment’ to the discussions and learning they see and hear happening in the session,” hey dee ho Director Jenny Wilkinson explained.

The hey de ho programs have a different theme each week, supporting the children to be focused and engaged, while also having elements of intentional teaching around fun and educational topics, such as dinosaurs.

The specialist facilitators from hey dee ho are experts at weaving in child and educator input, and linking in with learning already happening in the broader service program.

“We often have unicorns coming for a swim at the beach, or having children stretch up as high as a crane building a tower,” Ms Wilkinson said.

The marriage of intentionality and play based learning carries over into the environments where hey dee ho sessions take place.

“Services will often set aside a specific place for the sessions to take place,” Ms Wilkinson continued, “which is one of the most effective ways to not only signal to children that something special is happening, but also to give our facilitators a space where they can engage the educators and children in a journey of learning.”

Facilitators ensure that learning continues, and supports a connection between home and the early learning environment with information for families on how the program supports their child’s learning, and around what happens in each of the different settings.

This learning is made even more accessible through hey dee ho’s YouTube channel, which is a powerful resource for both educators and families. Family resources include a link to the videos that relate to each week’s theme, along with ‘at home’ learning resources for families.

For more information about play based learning and intentionality, please see this resource from ACECQA.

This article was originally published by The Sector.