Out and About
The St Therese Out and About Program is part of a research project being conducted in conjunction with The University of Melbourne.
The project is now in its fourth year and includes the teachers, children and researchers going “Out and About” around Torquay. Areas visited include Fisherman’s Beach, Deep Creek and Taylor Park.
Each Learning Community walks to their ‘special place’ every fortnight, spending time encountering the common worlds of the place including the sand, various species, rocks, water, plants, trees and the histories of their place.
Children and teachers take on the role of researchers as they observe, experience and develop wonderings and theories about their observations. They think about what their place looked like in the past and how it might look in the future. Children have the time to question and wonder, creating deeper connections with, and greater understanding of, the world in which they live, learn and grow.
New connections develop between children as they are drawn together in new investigations and wonderings about their environment.
When students return to school they use a variety of materials including watercolours, clay, natural objects from the place, charcoal, grey lead, an overhead projector to share their observations and theories. Pedagogical documentation is used to make our learning visible. This is a visual journey of children’s and teacher’s thought processes and includes examples of children’s work, quotes and wonderings displayed for all to share. Documentation is an ongoing project and develops over several weeks.
Out and About was recently featured as a chapter in the text Found in Translation: Connecting Reconceptualist Thinking with Early Childhood Education Practices (2018). The chapter which was a collaboration between Christine Grayland, Adam Coustley and Jeanne Marie Iorio shared our ‘Out and About’ experiences and how we make visible the children’s and educator’s thinking, learning, and wonderings.
A paper was presented on ‘Out and About’ at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual conference in New York City earlier this year by Christine and Jeanne.
AERA is an international group of educators and researchers concerned with improving education through research and applying the research in practical ways. You can read more about what they do here.