I want to share this little nugget of gold I discovered a while ago: batching.
The idea of 'batching' is when you have tasks to do that can be all done at once.
For example, if you cook meals for your FDC children, you might meal plan, shop and prep all in one day, maximising your time in the kitchen. You might spend two hours cutting, chopping, grating, mixing and pouring and then pre-cook or bake. This investment of time will end up saving you hours throughout the week.
Along with saving you precious time, batching also creates free headspace. It means that you spend the time planning what you will do, the time to get it done, then all you have to do is pull the finished product out on the day! If you plan a craft that will carry on over multiple days, you must get several essential parts cut out before doing the activity. Rather than cutting it out every piece on the day, if you worked out how many templates you needed and cut them all out in one go, it would save you time and effort. You would also have more space on the day to manage things that popped up.
This concept works beautifully with planning your intentional teaching too!
Before you start thinking of intentional teaching as long, drawn-out experiences, or ones where children are forced to participate, let me assure you that we look at this holistically.
Intentional teaching can be thinking about how you will set up your environment and modify it.
It can be about helping a child practice a particular skill set or bringing more opportunities for exploration.
It can be observing a particular behaviour, monitoring its impacts, and having tools and strategies ready to manage it.
It can also be planning to create something in your space, and you would like to offer time to the children to assist, like building a herb garden.
Putting forethought into what, how and when you would like to accomplish these tasks and doing so in one sitting can significantly improve your focus and presence in your day-to-day life. It also promotes MORE spontaneity, as you have already prepared your resources, you have all the parts required to complete the task.
You have a plan!
It is easy to adjust or bring things back when you have a plan and things go off track or in a different direction. This may include letting them go all together! After all, we are talking about working with children! We MUST be flexible.
Flexibility does not mean that everything has to be ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ child-led either. A well-rounded curriculum includes teacher-led intentional teaching.
The EYLF talks specifically about intentional teaching.
Intentional teaching is deliberate, purposeful and thoughtful. Educators who engage in intentional teaching recognise that learning occurs in social contexts and that interactions and conversations are vitally important for learning. They actively promote children’s learning through worthwhile and challenging experiences and interactions that foster high-level thinking skills. They use strategies such as modelling and demonstrating, open questioning, speculating, explaining, engaging in shared thinking and problem solving to extend children’s thinking and learning. Educators move flexibly in and out of different roles and draw on different strategies as the context changes. They plan opportunities for intentional teaching and knowledge-building. They document and monitor children’s learning.
BELONGING, BEING & BECOMING
The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia
There is so much juice in sharing ideas, knowledge, and creation that one cannot underestimate the power of intentional teaching.
At Big Hearted Education, we share with educators how to intentionally teach, plan for, and link back to your program to have a deep understanding of why you are doing what you are doing. When your coordinator or an assessor comes to visit, you will be able to discuss your program in detail confidently.
If you want to know precisely how this can benefit you, save you time, and help you get your work done during work hours, you can join us on the 12th of February for our Autumn seasonal planning session!
Click here for more information.
How do you incorporate intentional teaching into your days with the children? What are some tasks that you batch to save yourself time?