Hi, I’m Wenone Hope and I’m an early childhood teacher from Australia. I’ve taught in many different areas in my teaching career, working in primary schools, preschools, special educational settings, and kindergartens. At the moment, I find myself teaching ESL (English as a second language) to children in the Czech Republic…and I love it! I have found that no matter what country a child is from or cultural heritage they have, children around the world have lots of similarities. They are inquisitive and creative. They are problem-solvers. They are full of wonder and curiosity. They love being outside in nature. And they love to have fun!
Teaching is fun and inspiring
While there are no ‘typical’ days when teaching children – there are always unexpected surprises around the corner – my days with the children tend to involve lots of music, hands-on activities, humour and silliness. Young language learners need lots of opportunities to play, explore and use English in meaningful ways. I am constantly inspired by the way children are always learning and discovering, and try to view the world around me in that way too. I think that we can learn a lot from the way children interact with the world, and how they are never afraid to ask why!
So, the summer break in the Czech Republic has come to an end, and the children have returned for a new school year. Our first day at kindergarten involved a short adventure walk around the town. Colour spotting is a favourite game of the children, and of course, they noticed the gorgeous browns, yellows and reds that are synonymous with autumn. Suddenly everyone had big fist-fulls of leaves, which we carried back to kindergarten. What would we do with them? This was definitely an interest that needed following! And so began our colour investigations.
Using nature in teaching
Following the children’s curiosity of the leaves, we planned some learning experiences to extend on this interest. Play dough is always a big hit with the kids, so it seemed natural to try an incorporate this somehow. We decided to make salt-dough, because it can be cooked, and lasts a long time, and then press the leaves into the dough to make impressions. The kids loved the process of following the recipe to make the dough, and making leaf prints and then painting them afterwards.
Technology as a teaching tool
As an English teacher, technology is a great teaching tool that I use in the classroom. While the children may not yet understand words that I’m saying, when I link it with a picture, video or activity on my tablet, they have a much better chance of understanding the words and phrases I’m teaching. After our activity of painting the salt dough leaves, the children worked in small groups using the Lipa Eggs App.
Not only was it a great opportunity for them to practise saying colours, it also involved a lot of problem-solving too, such as which primary colours to mix together to create secondary colours. And although I was alongside the children supporting them, asking questions and modelling words, I was also able to ‘step back’ a bit so the more confident children could mentor the less confident ones. It was heartwarming to watch!
Until next week,