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Purposeful Play for Literacy, Language Learning and social emotional development in the Early Years

 connect create communicate believe

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Jennifer has national and international experience in supporting educators through coaching and mentoring in early childhood and Early Years settings to provide rich, engaging, playful and authentic learning environments for literacy and language learning.   
 
Jennifer is passionate in her beliefs and values about - 

 

  • each child is born a powerful learner and that the richest learning experiences build upon this

  • Authentic, meaningful childhoods for all – with the right to play, to be included, to be listened to

  • Nature play and the need for humanity to be connected with nature

  • Playful learning in all its forms: playing, making, messing about, creating story...

  • The need for education to focus on intellectual, dispositional and wellbeing goals rather than an over-focus on the academic push-down

  • Pedagogies that help children develop strong identities as learners, readers and writers

Pedagogical Mentoring

Pedagogical Mentoring is not alternative to traditional models of teacher professional development, but an extension which closely connects vision, theory and daily pedagogical practice.

The Problem with One Hit Wonders

Stand alone workshops, conferences and inter-school visits can both challenge and inspire teachers to embrace pedagogical change and enrichment. However, their potential is too often limited, because back in their learning setting and the realities of the classroom, teachers face the daily challenge of crowded curriculums and ever-increasing workloads. Do teachers have energy for a new challenge?

Coaching/Mentoring Educators makes long term success a reality. By providing ongoing support, teachers are able to connect the challenge and inspiration of workshops and conferences to their learning and teaching context.  They learn to weave the threads together with ease. It doesn't need to feel like they are climbing a mountain. 

Authentic Learning for Teachers

The most effective learning for deep understanding occurs in an authentic context. It must be real and relevant for the learner to find it meaningful.

The authentic context for teachers is their teaching and learning environment. Coaching/Mentoring takes place directly within these contexts.

 

Learning Starts with Relationships

At the heart of Pedagogical Coaching/Mentoring are relationships of mutual respect and trust. Time to develop these relationships is paramount to successful pedagogical change.

Pedagogical Inquiry Projects - Providing educators with authentic purpose and context for professional learning

What is a Pedagogical Inquiry Project? 

The most effective and innovative educators are researchers. They research their children. They research their pedagogy. Their research leads to new insights, to deepening their personal theories of learning and most importantly, to stronger teaching and learning outcomes for children.

Pedagogical Inquiry Projects provide educators with authentic purpose and context for their professional learning. Through research learning with the children they work with, they also learn about themselves as educators and about broader pedagogical issues. Teachers find these projects very motivating as they are concerned with their context right now.

 

Pedagogical Inquiry Projects are often small in scale but large in learning for the educators involved. When combined with collaborative professional learning structures, they also lead to new understandings, shared practice and a strong professional culture for the whole learning community. 

The following are only examples only of Pedagogical Inquiry Projects as the focus must come from the teacher-researcher themselves and be something that has sparked their curiosity or niggled at their ideas about teaching and learning.  I do not lead academic research, but guide a process of deep reflection and balance support with challenge through reflective questioning, analysis of data collected by teachers in their learning environments and critical reflection on professional reading. 

  • What pedagogical practices will help children in their first year of school build a positive image of themselves as readers and writers?

  • Can we see the child’s view of the world through their use of digital cameras and the creation of visual texts?

  • Do we expect children to change as they enter the schooling system or do we change in response to them?

  • How can imaginative play develop children’s vocabulary?

  • How does thinking aloud during modelled writing lessons impact on children’s use of specific writing techniques?

  • What impact does changing the physical learning environment have on children’s attention and interactions?

  • Will changing morning talks to small group sharing circles impact positively on children’s oral language development?

 

Professional Learning Projects  are specifically designed for your unique learning and teaching context

What is a professional learning project?

A Professional Learning Project is a long or short term commitment by an education community to focus closely on an aspect of learning and teaching. Each Project is specifically designed for your unique learning and teaching context. During the planning phase, careful consideration is given to each setting’s vision, culture and current goals. A Professional Learning Project includes a balance of professional learning modes, such as:

  • Workshops

  • Whole day Conferences

  • Demonstration Lessons

  • Reflection-on-Practice conversations

  • Pedagogical Mentoring (1:1)

  • Planning Support

  •  Learning Teams

  • Collaborative Coaching/Mentoring

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