1 Observing play, observing learning
Primary schools are busy places, where children play and learn. For young children, play IS learning. When children sing, for instance, this familiar counting and rhyming song, and make gestures as they count and sing, they are learning in a playful way:
One, two, three, four, five, once I caught a fish alive.
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten, then I let it go again.
Why did you let it go? Because it bit my finger so!
Which finger did it bite? This little finger on my right.
Activity 1 Children learning from song
List what you think children learn from this song, and see if your ideas match the 13 ideas of a teacher.
- Number names
- Number sequence
- Counting from one to ten
- Rhyming words: five, alive, ten, again, go, so, bite, right, it, bit
- Position words: on my right
- Question words: why, which
- Action words (verbs): catching and throwing
- Describing words (adjectives): little
- Time words (adverbs of time): once, again
- Giving reasons and causes (conjunctions): because
- Fish live in water and are alive when you catch them
- Learning to join in and participate with others
- Learning in an enjoyable, playful way
You can easily observe and listen to children when they are doing something they enjoy and are interested in. Even when something is difficult for children to do, they will keep at it if they are enjoying the challenge.
Next, you’ll listen to a primary school teacher talk about why she takes time to stand back and observe children as they play and learn.