Are we mistaking the concept of intentional teaching for teacher-directed learning?
In the last few years, particularly since the implementation of the EYLF there seems to have been a swing back to having a curriculum with a greater emphasis on intentional teaching, rather than having a curriculum based mainly on child-directed learning. I feel that some educators are misunderstanding intentional teaching, seeing it as teacher-imparted knowledge or pen and paper learning. The framework states that intentional teaching 'involves educators being deliberate, purposeful and thoughtful in their decisions and action'. Intentional teaching is intended to be used mainly through guided play, where the educator uses interactions, conversations, modelling, open questioning, speculating, explaining and engaging in shared thinking and problem solving to extend children's thinking and learning.
I believe the empasis for 4-5 year olds should not be in preparing them for school by imparting knowledge that we've selected, but on supporting them in taking more ownership of their learning. Up until the age of 4 children have been learning through play. In the year before school children start to become aware that they are learning as well as playing. We can start encouraging them to articulate what they are learning and they can start to choose the direction of their own learning.
My aim in working with this age-group is to provide an environment that stimulates curiosity and creativity. Children are naturally curious and they want to learn. From there I aim to be as present as I can with each individual child, to really listen to what he/she is telling me so that he/she develops the confidence to show me what he/she is interested in and enjoys. Only then can I ensure that every child is an engaged and willing participant in his/her own learning journey and also feels that he/she can be a valued contributor to collective learning projects.