Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Tinkering crosses sectors.

Tara Fagan is talking in this video about the similarities between the early childhood and school sectors.  As she points out the commonality is the skill sets that both sectors are fostering: risk taking, being adaptable, able to create and an ability to remix information.  These skills or dispositions toward learning are nurtured through children being able to tinker with their own ideas.
I think this has been the core of my thinking from the start of this blog.  Tinkering or playing with ideas opens up the possibilities for complex learning to happen.  In my workshop on Tinkering the teachers and I discuss how tinkering allows for collaboration amongst the tinkers as it ensures that everyone is the learner.  As Gavin from Greerton Early Childhood mentioned in his workshop (see early post) there becomes a level playing field where there is no knower as such.
With the schools now thinking more deeply about inquiry based learning we are starting to see how the two curriculums overlap and weave into one another.  It is about, as Tara mentioned, having conversations across the sectors.   
Lorraine Sands has created a blog called Inquiry Learninghttps://elpinquirylearning.wordpress.com/2015/12/16/39/ (click to read).  This blog is a conversation for teachers from both the ECE and School sector.
 Play has often been seen as something frivolous that children do to pass the time however play is an incredibly important part of a child’s healthy development. Play is children’s work or as the whakatauki says, "Ta te tamariki tana mahi wawahi tahaa - It is the job of the children to smash the calabash."

 Through play, children learn about themselves as learners.  They are also growing their knowledge of math, science and literacy in meaningful ways. They learn social skills like effective communication, conflict resolution, problem solving, collaboration and cooperation.  Through play, children learn where they fit in the world. Most importantly though they are leading their learning and growing the their ability to think creatively, collaborate, have a sense of belonging and grow their view of themselves as learners and thinkers.

Reflective Question: How do I help support my colleagues to strengthen teaching and learning in my setting?   This post and the blog in general is used as a place to share my ideas about tinkering and playing with ideas - this will support my thinking and also since it is part of the wider ELP self review question of inquiry learning then over time it will impact on my colleagues professional knowledge also.


  1. Absolutely - experimental tinkering should be at the heart of early childhood education...but many primary / secondary makerspaces need to learn from the EYs approach - so often I see pupils making robots that are all identical....bring back exploration and investigation....and curiosity!

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    2. Kia ora Pete - are you the author of the book Learning Through Woodwork? I have supported an early childhood setting recently with their mathematics inquiry. Their inquiry research dramatically changed their carpentry area into a tinkering space, there is a lot more engagement in this area now. There is much learning happening inside a carpentry area. I must have a look at your book.

  2. Yes bring back curiosity and creativity. Sadly I read an article recently that talked about student in a tinkering environment going straight to Pinterest for ideas. The article talked about the first stages for children was to trust their own creativity - step one to tinkering - don't visit Pinterest!
    Growing creativity from the early years right through education.