Welcome to my blog about my experiences working in early childhood. I have called it Nurturing Forests because I believe that raising children is not a isolated activity but takes a whole community.

As early childhood professionals, we are actively involved in this process but we also need to work closely with the children, parents, community as a whole and other allied professionals.

I hope you enjoy my site. I also have a facebook site of the same name where I provide links to useful sites for teachers, parents and others interested in the early childhood: www.facebook.com/nurturingforests

Monday, February 21, 2011

Worksheets - why not to use them

I have often seen worksheets used as way of "ensuring" the child's learning is measured and as a way of observing.

I was taught at university that there are a million ways you can achieve this goal without reverting to worksheets. Or being university, we were told you can use them if you want but you have to show that there is research supporting the use of them in children's learning if you wanted to get any marks for it (i personally have never come across any research that has recommended worksheets).

It is important to think of ways you can integrate the learning you are interested in observing into the children's play. E.g. if you want to check their ability to use scissors - put out collage and boxes with scissors, you will quickly find the skill levels. If you are with a younger group, put non-cutting scissors out with play dough.

Similarly, with writing their name, get the child to write their own name on their art work, get them to sign in (next to the official sign in), provide constant and varied writing opportunities for the children. You will rapidly see the children's writing evolve (and very neatly you will have a log of dates as well). Encourage the children - if they say they can't say that's not true and they need to try.

So next time you go to use a worksheet - ask yourself how else can you achieve what you are looking for. I highly recommend using some of the brilliant blogs on the Internet for inspiration if you are stumped for ideas.... e.g. Teacher Tom, Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning, Childhood 101

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