How to plan pedagogical and holistic activities for children?

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Educators are creative, so coming up with activities is not the issue. The issue is: Can educators justify the chosen activity pedagogically? What do the children learn from this?

Start from the National Curriculum Framework

The starting point in most countries is the National Education Policy and National Curriculum Framework which defines the desired teaching and learning approach and important terms that are the basis of quality educational activities:

CURRICULUM = The main guide for educators. The curriculum defines the essential contents for teaching so that every child has opportunities for diverse learning experiences. Educators should use all the areas in their teaching equally. Curriculum = learning areas + learning objectives.

LEARNING AREAS = Guide educators when planning and implementing activities together with the children. Wide entities. Choose the learning area you want to focus on during the specific activity or project.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES = The starting point for creating activities. Choose the learning objectives you want to go for in this specific activity or project. 1-3 learning objectives per activity is enough.

CHILD-CENTERED ACTIVITIES = Children are the starting point and the ultimate reason for creating activities. The activities should be based on children's interests, capabilities, needs, and/or developmental stages.

Why do the activities need a pedagogical base?

Advance lesson planning is the main step in securing quality learning. Every educator can come up with nice activities for children – for example, “Let’s take finger paints and paint! That is fun!”.

Educators are creative, so coming up with activities is not the issue. The issue is: Can educators justify the chosen activity pedagogically? Why is that activity useful for the children? What do the children learn from this?

Doing nice activities one after the other is fun and makes the days go by. Children probably enjoy and families get to see nice crafts – but these types of activities do not have a pedagogical base behind them. These nice little activities come and go, but they serve no real purpose if the educator does not think of the reason why she or he is organizing that activity. 

This is why Kindiedays has created a complete set of engaging lesson plans for you to save planning time and resources. And at the same time support children's learning in a way you can be proud of.

Click to watch Kindiedays Video "Creating Engaging Lesson Plans"

Kindiedays Lesson Plans connected to 5 learning areas and their objectives derived from the Finnish National Curriculum. However, the learning areas and objectives are often similar to other international curriculums and can easily be used in any Early Learning Center.

Know your curriculum & identify the learning goals - case Helsinki

The City of Helsinki has created a curriculum for their educators Helsinki’s curriculum for early childhood education and care. The document is based on the National Finnish Curriculum and explains the overall approach in Finland.

Helsinki’s curriculum includes learning areas and learning objectives. The areas of learning describe the main goals and content of the pedagogical activities. They guide the staff when planning and implementing diverse and playful pedagogical activities together with the children. 

The areas of learning have been divided into five groups: 

  1. Rich World of Languages
  2. Diverse Forms of Expression
  3. Me and Our Community
  4. Exploring and Interacting with My Environment
  5. I Grow, Move, and Develop

Curriculum areas and examples of learning objectives

The learning areas of the curriculum will help you to structure your teaching, documentation, and assessment. The learning objectives of the curriculum are the starting point for creating activities.

Secure high-quality learning with good planning

It is okay to organize nice activities just for fun sometimes. The main focus should anyway be on pedagogically planned activities. It is also important that educators keep in mind to plan activities from all the learning areas - that is what makes teaching and learning holistic and fair for the children.

Educators should focus on planning activities that:

  • Have a reason: we paint because children are interested in learning about colors, children need to learn to name them correctly, and they are eager to try new art techniques

  • Fall in one or more pre-planned learning areas e.g. Diverse forms of expression + Diverse world of languages

  • Contain pre-planned learning objective(s): I learn different art techniques, I take part in planned activities, I learn new vocabulary – names of the colors

  • Support the children’s development: color recognition, hand-eye coordination, language development, and fine motor skills

  • Interest children

Learning objectives in Kindiedays Educator app

When using Kindiedays Portfolio software, all the learning areas and learning objectives are already available in the app. The Educators have them available on the Kindiedays Educator App always when needed.

When do educators need the learning areas and learning objectives then?

  1. When educators plan activities, the aim is to plan each activity based on the curriculum and children’s developmental stages and needs. The curriculum (= all the learning areas and learning objectives) can be found in the app so it makes planning easier, more professional, and goal-oriented.

  2. While the children are participating in a guided activity, educators tap the learning objectives for marking down which skills and areas of learning developed during the activity.

  3. The curriculum should be actively used in early childhood education. If the curriculum stands in a folder in an office, how many staff members are reading it on a daily/weekly/monthly basis? I guess not that many. If the curriculum travels around daily on every educator’s phone, the chances of reading it increase by 100%.

Planning pedagogically competent learning activities

It simply isn’t possible in the real world for every lesson plan to be entirely original to the educator - at least some premade materials are necessary because planning time is limited for all of us. 

Kindiedays Lesson Plan Package is designed to guide and support educators to provide lessons based on a valued curriculum. Each lesson plan is carefully planned to match the learning areas and pedagogical learning objectives outlined in the Finnish National Curriculum for Early Childhood and Care. The lesson plans can also be used with any other curriculum, as long as playful learning is close to your heart.

Read more about lesson plans from Kindiedays webpage and get your free lesson plan sample from here!

Happy Planning!