Our journey taking a look at all the learning areas of early childhood education goes forward! This week we focus on the fourth area, Exploring and interacting with my environment.
This learning area is important for children's development as it gives children various tools for thinking and operating in our environment. The learning area "Exploring and interacting in my environment" includes also specific learning objectives that are listed below. It makes it easier for educators to plan activities when the specific learning objectives are listed clearly.
Exploring and interacting with my environment
This learning area focuses on mathematical thinking, technology, nature, and the environment. Children are encouraged to analyze, think and apply their knowledge. These are important skills in today's world and those skills are enhanced through playful exploration and experimentation. Children are encouraged to be curious, ask questions, look for answers, and make conclusions together in a team. Of course, children do this also spontaneously and it is part of their development, sometimes it seems that children's questions are never-ending and super tricky!
With mathematical thinking, children are encouraged to pay attention, especially to shapes and numbers. Children are helped to learn about numbers and quantities. Also measuring, comparing, building and causalities are part of this learning area.
Learning about the environment includes learning in the environment, learning about the environment + sustainable development, and doing good things for the environment. Nature (such as forests or beaches) and nearby built environments (such as parks or marketplaces) can be used as learning areas.
Technology education is a must in today's world. Children's relationship with technology starts developing quite early. As simple as observing a parent who is pressing buttons on the laundry machine or changing tv channels is part of technology education. Children can also, for example, practice simple coding and search for information from iPad.
Learning objectives one by one
Each Learning Area has its own objectives that work as a tool for educators' planning and assessment process. Below, you can find all the learning objectives for "Exploring and interacting with my environment".
- I can name numbers
- I can identify numbers and amounts in the environment
- I can do number sequencing
- I can use numeral words and symbols in writing as permitted by my skills
- I experiment measuring
- I practise location and relation
Shapes, space & time
- I play with objects and shapes
- I examine objects and shapes
- I use geometric thinking in play
- I use geometric thinking in arts and crafts and modeling
- I understand the concept of time (eg. by observing the times of the day or seasons)
- I learn to search for information on interesting topics
- I explore and enjoy in the natural and built environment
- I act in the natural and built environment
- I use concepts connected to nature
- I can identify plant species
- I can identify animal species
- I respect nature, its plants, and animals
- I practise a sustainable way of living
- I observe technology in daily life
- I familiarise myself with ICT devices and their functions
- I build things out of different materials
- I test how different devices work
- I come up with my own, creative solutions
- I learn to question, find explanations and draw conclusions
- I familiarise myself with mathematics and its areas through playful activities
- I pay attention to the mathematics that comes across in daily situations and in the environment
- I learn to discover and produce regularities
- I explore, consider and describe my mathematical observations
- I learn to classify, compare and rank different things
- I learn to discover, consider and deduce problems and find solutions to them
- I experience the joy of invention and learning
How to plan lessons according to all this?
To help you out, take a look at a ready-made lesson plan from here. The lesson plan includes one activity based on this learning area. The lesson plan explains what are children's developmental learning objectives and guides you through the activity step-by-step. The activity is planned by Kindiedays lesson plan expert Stella Giota.
Once you understand the idea of it, it makes planning much more fruitful and easier for you too! But in case you are not a "planner type" - do not worry. You can purchase fun and pedagogical ready-made lesson plans from here.