Enriching children’s working theories

Enriching children’s working theories

Daniel Lovatt

Tuesday February 21
8.00PM (NZST)

Dr Daniel Lovatt (Aro Arataki Early Childhood Centre) and Dr Vicki Hargraves discuss how children use working theories to make sense of their world, and offer practical advice for teachers on how to support, challenge, and enrich children’s thinking and exploration.

To help you navigate the webinar easily, there is a list of the key topics covered in the session below, including the time each was discussed. The key ideas discussed in this webinar are also shared in a short insight article.

Topics discussed in this webinar

Times shown in minutes and seconds from the start of the video

1.17: What are working theories?
6.19: How children might develop working theories: The spiral of working theory development
13.10: How teachers can support this process: The shared learning commitments model
21.26: Should working theories be accurate?
27.48: Respecting children’s original thinking
31.58: Working theory development in a group
36.28 Things to say when thinking with children
40.41: Working theories with infants and toddlers
45.18: Key takeaways

Questions for exploring the key ideas from this webinar

  • What strategies do you use to engage in shared thinking with children?
  • In what ways do you respond to children’s working theories when you have more knowledge on the topic?
  • What steps could you take to deepen relationships with children in order to learn more about children, their experiences, and thinking?
  • How might you encourage the sharing of working theories in groups?

Further reading

Lovatt, D. (2014). How might teachers enrich children’s working theories? Getting to the heart of the matter. Early Childhood Folio, 18(1), 28-34.

Hedges, H., & Jones, S. (2012). Children’s working theories: The neglected sibling of Te Whāriki’s learning outcomes. Early Childhood Folio, 16(1), 34-39.

Hedges, H. (2021). Working theories: Current understandings and future directions. Early Childhood Folio, 25(1), 32-37.

Hedges, H. (2022). Children’s interests, inquiries and identities: Curriculum, pedagogy, learning and outcomes in the early years. Routledge.

Peters, S., & Davis, K. (2011). Fostering children’s working theories: Pedagogic issues and dilemmas in New Zealand. Early Years: An International Journal of Research and Development, 31(1), 5-17. doi:10.1080/09575146.2010.549107

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