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What is Intentional Teaching in Early Childhood Education

Let’s ask Miss Chiara, Centre Director at Kids Club Symonston-ACT!

Intentional teaching is a term used throughout Early Childhood Education and is viewed by educators as an important and beneficial pedagogical tool when supporting the learning and development of children. Educators use intentional teaching strategies to help children learn skills, habits of mind or information they cannot discover on their own.  

At Kids Club Symonston, intentional teaching strategies are one of the tools that our educators use to provide quality educational outcomes within our play-based curriculum.

Intentional teaching sessions allow our educators to be deliberate, purposeful and thoughtful when considering possible learning outcomes and making planning decisions for the children in our care.

Learning about emotions

What is intentional teaching in childcare?

As educators, we use teachable moments to scaffold the children’s learning through challenging, and worthwhile experiences that reflect each child’s learning journey, says Miss Chiara. 

Educators also play an important role in supporting children’s growth and development while they are under our care. Using intentional teaching strategies for early childhood care, we put importance on the goals and objectives of their learning that will ultimately lead to their chosen pathway to success. Every activity and interaction is structured with clear purpose and intent, all while inviting the active participation of the child to bring out their strengths and also work on their weaknesses.

One of the greatest benefits of intentional teaching in a childcare setting is the time we have to ensure these intentional teaching sessions are meaningful and interactive and are responsive to the identified needs and interests of the children. They can sometimes stretch for days or weeks.

What is intentional teaching in early childhood education?’

In the Outback room at Kids Club Symonston, our educators take a holistic approach to their teaching that looks beyond learning as a cognitive, academic process but instead recognises the interconnectedness between an individual’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive development.

We use intentional teaching sessions to foster and support each child’s emotional and social development to best prepare them for their transition to formal schooling.

These sessions are flexible, and they see the educators use a variety of strategies, including modelling, open-ended questioning, explaining and shared thinking and problem-solving as the context changes.

They have used these sessions to explore a range of topics, including emotions and self-regulation, positive body image and self-identity, positive conflict resolution and understanding and respecting diversity and differences. They have explored these topics through educator-supported group discussions, creative drawing experiences, literacy resources and music and movement sessions. Each experience is an extension of the learning that reflects the observed thinking and learning of the children.

Kids Club Symonston

What are the benefits of intentional teaching?

Intentional teaching is a way of teaching that focuses on the student rather than the material. At Kids Club, our teachers use intentional teaching to have a goal in mind for each lesson they teach. They also tailor their approach to meet that goal. This means that students are more likely to learn because they’re engaged in the lesson and not just sitting through it passively.

Our teachers also focus on creating an environment where students can succeed, which can help them feel confident in their abilities and empowered in the classroom. When students feel empowered, they’re more likely to engage with their lessons and work hard at them! In addition, our teachers are always looking for ways to improve their methods so that they can provide optimal learning experiences for their students. Here are some other benefits of intentional teaching. 

  1. Meeting the needs of all learners: Teachers who plan their lessons can customise them to meet the needs of all learners in their classrooms. For example, if a student is struggling with a particular concept, the teacher can ensure they have extra time to practice it independently before moving on. If another student doesn’t understand something, the teacher can reteach it at a different time or provide additional resources for learning. This flexibility makes it possible for every student in the class to be successful.
  2. Fostering critical thinking skills: When teachers plan lessons by strategically using inquiry-based instruction, they help students develop abstract thinking skills that allow them to solve problems independently. These critical thinking skills are essential for success in later school years because they enable students to think through complex ideas and situations without having someone tell them what to do or think about something.
  3. Increased information retention and engagement: Students learn more deeply and retain information longer when they are taught in an intentional manner because their attention is captured, and they are actively engaged in the learning process.
  4. Higher Motivation and Self-efficacy: Students who are taught intentionally tend to develop higher levels of motivation and self-efficacy. They also feel more connected to their teachers and peers than those who are not taught intentionally.

Why is intentional teaching important?

When planning these experiences the Preschool educators recognise that learning occurs within a social context and that the interactions and the conversations that occur during these experiences provide the children with opportunities to co-construct their learning and engage in shared thinking that models to the children the importance of valuing the input, opinions and understandings of other people.

These learning topics and intentional teaching practices have allowed educators to embed ongoing practices into the preschool setting, including red and green choices, where the pre-schoolers have helped create and have access to a visual guide to support them in their behaviour choices in the room.

Intentional teaching methods enhance children’s learning potential. Planning and preparing for these sessions create a positive learning experience that boosts children’s thinking skills and impacts the development of their social, emotional, cognitive, physical, language and literacy skills.

See the wonders of Intentional Teaching at Kids Club.

To sum it up, intentional teaching is a method that focuses on ensuring that students are engaged in the learning process and making active efforts to retain and internalise material instead of simply memorising facts or writing down homework assignments. 

At Kids Club, our teachers practice intentional teaching and keep this mindset in their minds when developing lesson plans and classroom activities. The goal is for every student to create an enduring love for learning.

We strive to create a learning environment where students feel safe and confident to explore and move towards their passions. It’s one of the guidelines for creating a positive classroom culture.

If you want to learn more, call Kids Club Early Childhood Learning Centres or book a tour now of your closest Kids Club Early Learning Centre, click here to view your closest Centre.

As the leading provider of early childhood care in Australia we always put your child first. We are committed to 7 National Quality Standards.