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4.16: How It's All Connected

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    The snail vignette illustrates how teachers can help children make connections and thereby make meaning. This exploration allowed children to investigate and learn about creatures from the outdoor environment in the classroom. In doing so, the children were able to make meaning about snails’ natural habitats while encountering opportunities to engage in integrated learning in every domain.

    Young children’s experiences at home and in their communities are a powerful source of connections. Teachers nurture children’s appetites for learning and making meaning by building upon the knowledge children bring to the preschool setting. For example, children may come to preschool with knowledge of many family stories. Their teachers may have observed that the children used the stories in the dramatic play area. However, the children did not seem to be aware that their stories could be written down and then read by someone else. In such a case, teachers can partner with families to create a story dictation study. In planning the snail exploration, the teachers and family members may ask:

    • Would the children be interested in seeing their family stories written down, and would such experiences help them increase their awareness of print in the world around them?
    • What strategies or adaptations might help a child who is nonverbal to become engaged in family storytelling?
    • Would children in the group who are English learners make the connection to print more easily if they can dictate their stories in their home language to family members or community volunteers?
    • What topics may be interesting and engaging for children to dictate? What kinds of questions would help individual children, English learners, or children with diverse cultural experiences to get started with dictation?
    • How might the activity be adapted to accommodate children with disabilities or other special needs?
    • Would asking children about how their family helps them get ready for preschool encourage them to dictate a meaningful experience?
    • Would a child who likes to draw pictures have an easy time dictating a story about a drawing?

    Teachers can explore these questions and see where the exploration leads.[1]

    This page titled 4.16: How It's All Connected is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Jennifer Paris, Kristin Beeve, & Clint Springer.