Need a way to engage your students? Sit in a circle and ask them an open ended question!
Inquiry circles provide a dedicated opportunity for students to voice their ideas and opinions. It is important students feel safe, secure and respected in this environment. This takes time to achieve, however there are some pointers to guide you when beginning inquiry discussions in early childhood classrooms:
- Where possible have a circular mat on the floor big enough to fit your whole class.
- Discuss some expectations, such as put your hand up to speak, only speak when it’s your turn etc.
- Model inquiry language e.g.. “Do you agree with that?” or “would you like to add to that?” or “tell me more.”
- Recap what the children have said “so is this what you are saying?”
- Document exactly what the children say.
It does not take long until you notice the children listening to each other and using inquiry language in the classroom. The moment when you hear a child say “Excuse me but can I add to what she is saying?” is just beautiful. By documenting the conversations you can ask the students more in depth questions and this creates direction in your inquiry project or study area.