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Investigative learning – a treasured opportunity for small group collaboration

Investigative learning – a treasured opportunity for small group collaboration

learning investigations

Bear Park is greatly inspired by the philosophy of Reggio Emilia and there are certain routines and rituals of the day that are highly valued and important to us. Examples of such include the ‘hundred languages’ and small group learning, which we consistently embrace and integrate into the classroom’s daily routine.

During the morning meeting time, we have an opportunity for everyone to gather as a large collective group to acknowledge each other with a welcome ritual. At this daily ritual, we sing songs and rhymes and share the learning and special moments happening both within and outside of Bear Park. Following these morning rituals, we disperse into different areas of the classroom to engage in our time for investigative learning.

learning investigations

Investigations are an opportunity for children to explore and develop their ‘hundred languages’ with support from Bear Park teachers. Children are presented with different languages and their selection is based on their interests as well as what they might continue to encounter throughout their learning journey—both within and beyond Bear Park. At this time, our teachers are committed and dedicated to making this learning opportunity a meaningful one. Teachers prioritise these interests by being present in the moment—alongside the children—and embrace the rich learning opportunities whilst stepping back to allow the children to explore and learn at their own pace.

Investigations are an opportunity for children to explore and develop their ‘hundred languages’ with support from Bear Park teachers.

We recognise that learning occurs through social contexts and we encourage our young friends to work alongside one another to engage in cooperative learning, knowledge sharing, and collaboration. Children flourish in their learning and within the ‘hundred languages’, as well as socially as they take ownership and responsibility to become pro-active in their own learning alongside their peers.

At Bear Park, children embrace the Māori value of tuakana-teina (teaching and learning from one another) as they learn and become inspired by one another, borrowing and sharing ideas, and inviting each other into their experiences through verbal and non-verbal gestures. Additionally, by learning to share space and resources, take turns, communicate, and collaborate, children begin to internalise the meaning of manaakitanga (respect and hospitality).

learning investigations

Through these experiences of shared group learning, Bear Park teachers observed so many benefits for the children—including the possibilities of forming friendships by bonding with one another based on interest similarities, and the opportunity to gain confidence and social skills to engage in meaningful peer interactions. From a cognitive perspective, by challenging children’s working theories we are providing them with richer learning experiences as they continue to borrow and share ideas with their peers.

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