What do we mean by ‘learning walks’ in early years provision?
The term ‘learning walk’ can be interpreted in several ways. Let’s take a look at how they can support both the child’s and practitioners’ learning journey.
Firstly, a learning walk could simply be going on a walk indoors or outdoors with the children in your care and seeing what you learn and find out together. You may listen to different sounds, look for colours and shapes, discover numbers in all sorts of places, or collect items from nature. This type of learning walk is common practice in early years provision and forms the basis for gaining a sense of place, understanding the world, and discovering the man-made and natural environment. Learning walks like this are rich sources of stimulation and vocabulary development and of observational skills. They help children make connections between past and present, between their home life and childcare experience, as well as link ideas through providing opportunities for them to generate questions. These can be captured through photographs, scribing what the children say, and by making displays of found objects. A child’s question could form the basis of a learning enquiry, such as “why do birds live in nests?” Staff can make photo album ‘story books’ during the year of the children’s learning walks so that they can be revisited. This helps children talk about their previous learning and what they think now.
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