Extending Learning or Building on  Interests/Activities

I recently read an article on the Early Childhood Australia blog online about extending learning and how it is more than just activities.

This really resonated with me as it has been something I have been thinking about over the past 6 months and have slowly been working towards and I don’t know that most educators really understand it or have thought about.

One of the points that stood out for me was,

“Typically educators focus on content – extending learning about something – soccer, babies, dinosaurs or the weather for example…”

This was something that I was beginning to grasp the concept of at the beginning of last year and began questioning myself about, however I hadn’t come across anything that confirmed my thinking or prompted me any further, but as my planning knowledge developed over the past year I can see that I have moved out of this type of planning and moved more towards extending learning type of thinking.

“Extending children’s learning is about so much more than facts. It covers wellbeing, identity, connection and contribution to world and being a learner. Extending learning encompasses areas such as leadership skills, independence, negotiating, teamwork and ability to work with others. In other words, it includes learning dispositions.”

Is there a tendency in planning to extend learning to think first about the content of an activity – in other words, is it more about extending activities rather than learning?

Is extending children’s learning sometimes confused with building on children’s interests?

I think these are definitely valid questions to ask ourselves and answer.  I will be using these or similar questions this term in my reflections.