Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jo's Observation Day

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go and observe other education providers at work. I was specifically interested in observing how other teachers are developing children's critical thinking skills. Critical thinking skills are vital to enabling our children to be able to make reasonable, sensible choices and judgements. This involves being able to see the facts, decide what is good/bad (evaluate), thinking about new ways to do things (innovation and creativity), discussing, cooperating, collaborating and negotiating (social and communication skills required as part of community) as well as many other skills. Coupled with this are the attitudes and values children display that support their ability to continue to learn and manage themselves independently and as part of the communities they live in.

I visited Leamington Kindergarten in Cambridge in the morning. I was able to look at their documentation that used language associated with 'The Habits of the Mind' (see curriculum links). We are already using this language in our learning stories and tracking these Habits of Mind but it was really affirming to see others also taking this pathway in their documentation. I had a lovely morning and it was inspiring to see another learning environment (with lots of beautiful space!!! Sigh!).

In the afternoon I visited the Transition (new entrant class) at Hukanui School. I approached Hukanui School because they have a very strong focus on developing children's critical thinking skills. They use De Bono's six thinking hats predominantly but employ a wonderful range of other strategies that require children to apply deep thinking that goes beyond brushing the surface of the obvious or superficial (see archives). Hukanui are also very proactive about using ICT tools to support learning and teaching which is an obvious interest of ours at Grasslands Kindergarten. Although I did not see this utilized on this particular occasion I was able to video the class in action and photograph them and provide them with a CD to play back at a later date.
I was treated to a wonderful afternoon of Oobleck making (I suggest you google's very cool!)

The use of De Bono's hats to engage children's thinking was extremely effective. I was reminded that our children are very capable innovative thinkers (well I did know that but it was inspiring to watch another practitioner in action drawing out the children's ideas and valuing their contributions like we do here). I can see merit in using the thinking hats at kindergarten as it helps children identify the thinking that is required to gather information, process it, use and evaluate it. I was pleased to see that we are well on our way to developing critical thinkers at Grasslands.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Our link sites- Let your fingers do the clicking!

Have you visited our other sites? Down the right-hand side of this blog you will find other Curriculum sites you can click on and visit

  • Transition to School
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Blogging Know How
  • Habits of the Mind
These sites also have some web links to useful and informative web sites for you to browse.

Please Note:
I have recently discovered why most of you have not been able to access these weren't given permission to do so. If you get invites to our sites in your email box please accept these and add these sites to your favourites/bookmarks on your top bar.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Collaboration in Face Painting

A georgous event occured at the end of term three and was recently discovered in a tidy up of photos I have taken. This was a precious moment that captulated collaboration, team work and persistance. Great face painting Arama. Ally