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“Planning for Play, Observation, and Learning: How on Earth Do You Do it All?” Gaye Gronlund, M.A. Early Childhood Education Consultant Tucson, AZ & Traverse.

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Presentation on theme: "“Planning for Play, Observation, and Learning: How on Earth Do You Do it All?” Gaye Gronlund, M.A. Early Childhood Education Consultant Tucson, AZ & Traverse."— Presentation transcript:

1 “Planning for Play, Observation, and Learning: How on Earth Do You Do it All?” Gaye Gronlund, M.A. Early Childhood Education Consultant Tucson, AZ & Traverse City, MI

2 © Gaye Gronlund 2013

3 Today we will focus on tips and strategies for planning a program that incorporates the best practices for young children including: ● play-based activities and exploratory experiences with learning at the core ● authentic, observational assessment that helps you know each child well and better understand developmental pathways ● working in partnership with families so that you can communicate effectively with each other about learning through play, and together see the development and progress of their child © Gaye Gronlund 2013

4 The focus on learning happens in play and exploration, in large and small group times, and in daily routines (like hand washing, snacks and meals, and transitions). Curriculum is imbedded in every minute that children are in attendance. © Gaye Gronlund 2013 Reflective teachers integrate observation with curriculum planning.

5 The Planning/Observation/Individualization Cycle © Gaye Gronlund 2013 Age- Appropriate GOALS Integrated in All Activities Implementation Observation Reflection Individualization, Adjustments & Accommodations Planning From Planning for Play, Observation, and Learning in Preschool and Kindergarten Gronlund 2012

6 Let’s look at the planning/observation and individualization cycle In play In daily routines In small and large groups © Gaye Gronlund 2013

7 Is their play productive or chaotic? What do you see in their behavior that helps you to determine that? What is beneficial about this play for them? What would you do to support and enrich what they are doing? Watch 3 boys at play at the water table: © Gaye Gronlund 2013

8 Being intentional in planning for play & daily routines PlayDaily Routines Plan for play with learning goals in mind Organize the environment and change materials as needed Be a play facilitator, stepping in and out of the action Plan for daily routines with learning goals in mind Facilitate routines with those goals in mind Use familiar and fun transition songs and chants © Gaye Gronlund 2013

9 Identify possible learning goals For play and exploration with mirrors, mobiles, stacking rings and/or shape boxes for infants and toddlers For play and exploration with playdough or clay and/or constructive manipulatives like Legos or puzzles for preschoolers © Gaye Gronlund 2013

10 For diapering infants or toileting toddlers For feeding for infants or snacks and meals for toddlers For snacks or meals for preschoolers For outdoor time for preschoolers © Gaye Gronlund 2013 Identify possible learning goals

11 © Gaye Gronlund 2013 Write goals for play and daily routines on your lesson plans. The following frameworks are from Planning for Play, Observation, and Learning in Preschool and Kindergarten by Gaye Gronlund Redleaf Press 2012 You can download these forms at Locate the book, click on it, and click on Web Components to access the forms

12 © Gaye Gronlund 2013


14 Planning for Small Group Times If done during play or choice time, children choose whether to participate or not ◦ Science experiments, cooking activities, or art activities that require adult supervision ◦ Skill work that has many levels of participation If scheduled as a separate time of the daily schedule, children are divided into two or three groups ◦ Teacher and educational assistant each supervise one group ◦ Additional group could do independent work © Gaye Gronlund 2013


16 Preschool Small Group Activity Ideas © Gaye Gronlund 2013 Name Study Shop the Room Measure the Room Label the Room/Read the Room Nature Walk & Graph Explore Tastes, Textures & Smells Read a Story Write & Draw Sort & Classify Multiple Collections (bottle caps, keys, shells, etc.)

17 Call children together through ritual and routine. Move from more active to more passive activities. Start with dancing, movement, standing songs or chants Move to sitting down and fingerplays, fine motor activities, and quiet If children settle down, choose from the following: Take attendance Read or act out a story Demonstrate something Introduce plans for the day and dismiss children as as they make choices Keep the group time going as long as children are interested and engaged Have a routine for dismissing to the next activity. Planning Effective Large Group Times for Preschoolers © Gaye Gronlund 2013

18 Tying It All Together: Observing Children and Planning Curriculum that Meets Their Needs © Gaye Gronlund 2013 To assess children’s learning and developmental progress To reflect on how well your curriculum is working for individual children and for the whole group You use observations for two purposes:

19 Play Story: Rocks, Water & Brushes Four children are gathered around the water table. In the water are rocks and toothbrushes. The children scrub the rocks vigorously with the brushes and talk among themselves about getting them clean. Shortly, the children’s attention begins to wander and each one looks around the room even as they continue to scrub the rocks. Soon, they lose interest altogether, remove their plastic smocks and choose another area in which to play. What are some strategies that you would try to enhance the experience of these children so that it is more engaging and moves to a higher level of play? © Gaye Gronlund 2013

20 Being a Reflective Practitioner In order to plan for the next week, teachers and care providers need to reflect on all that has happened this week. Formalizing the reflection process makes the planning process more meaningful. They reflect about how things went for the whole group. They consider what they observed happening for individual children. Consider the following reflective questions: ◦ What worked well? ◦ What did not work well? ◦ What did you learn about individual children? ◦ What will you do differently next week? © Gaye Gronlund 2011

21 © Gaye Gronlund 2013


23 Ways to Make Learning Evident to Others Through classroom area labels and bulletin boards Through displays of children’s work Through documented observations and assessment portfolios Through parent newsletters Through parent workshops © Gaye Gronlund 2013

24 Host a Play Night for Families Come and Play! Invite family members to join their child at school (either during the day or in the evening) and set up play areas with clear directions for ways to work together in that area.  Read books together in the class library  Paint pictures together at the easel  Make things together at the playdough table  Build something together with blocks or Legos  Measure water or sand together at the sensory table  “Cook” dinner together in the play kitchen  Listen to a story together at the listening center  Enjoy snack together at the snack table © Gaye Gronlund 2013

25 A Literacy Night for Families Have all family members (children, too), sign in as they arrive. Make letters out of playdough. Make a “My Family” book with a page for each family member. Read stories together at the class library. Put together puzzles made by cutting up children’s name cards. Let them take those home. Follow directions by making snack from recipe cards with pictures and words on them. Tiptoe, hop, jump and walk the ABC’s on the floor. Put together ABC puzzles. “Read the Room” using special glasses and pointers. © Gaye Gronlund 2013

26 Remember, with all that you are balancing as you teach young children…. To teach is to touch a life forever!!!!

27 Resources by Gaye Gronlund available from or Planning for Play, Observation, and Learning in Preschool and Kindergarten Developmentally Appropriate Play: Guiding Young Children to Higher Levels (with parent brochure, Why Children Play, and CD-Rom program, Developmentally Appropriate Play Stories) Make Early Learning Standards Come Alive: Connecting Your Practice and Curriculum to State Guidelines Focused Observations 2 nd edition: How to Observe Young Children for Assessment and Curriculum Planning (coauthor, Marlyn James) Focused Portfolios: A Complete Assessment for the Young Child (coauthor, Bev Engel) Early Learning Standards and Staff Development: Best Practices in the Face of Change (coauthor, Marlyn James) Produced the CD-Rom accompanying Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs, 3 rd Edition, NAEYC and the DVDs, “The New Developmentally Appropriate Practice”, “DAP and Intentionality” and “DAP and Play” ©Gaye Gronlund 2013

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