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Why Plan Based on an Inquiry Model?

 “An effective curriculum for young children emphasizes thinking through inquiry and exploration. It includes planned and intentional guidance and instruction from a caring and supportive educator.” (Thinking it Through: Teaching and Learning in the Kindergarten Classroom, 2011).

Research suggests that students are more likely to develop as engaged, self-directed learners in inquiry-based classrooms. A lot of thinking needs to go into creating an environment of inquiry, one in which children are invited to learn, and that learning opportunity is one of meaningful inquiry.

So how do you get started?

Make the curriculum work for you – connect the “big ideas” to the daily questions and interests of your students. Design learning opportunities that encourage students to explore authentic, real-life experiences based on these curriculum expectations. You can use the Planning an Inquiry Guide to help you on your way.  Then talk with your students about ways of learning more about the topic by asking:

– What do we want to understand more deeply?
– What big questions will we explore?
– What is important to know about this?

Talk to students and reflect every day about what, how and why learning is happening:

– What are we learning about this topic?
– What are we learning about ourselves?
– What do we think and know now?
– What does this mean for us as learners?

You can use the Suggested Observation Questions along the way to monitor what the students are learning, when and how, and once the children are engaged, capture their learning with storyboard displays of the children in action!

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