When it comes to extending the learning experiences afforded to us through play, it's all about capitalising on things that we are already doing - like questioning. Questioning falls quite naturally alongside play and our questioning before, during and after playful experiences can only further extend meaning making, language development and early literacy skills - without interfering with the business of the play itself. In the infant classroom, as teachers, we are constantly questioning and constantly encouraging the children to question as they play and learn.
A fantastic opportunity to work on questioning and recounting play experiences, is during the immediate moments following the play session. After the play has ceased, after the tidy-up is complete; seizing a few moments to question the play, the events during play, the emotions during the play, can provide lots of natural but purposeful invitations into recounting, recalling, describing, explaining, sequencing...and much more.
A post-play Q&A can easily become part of the play routine - something the children associate as part of the daily play experiences. We plan, we play, we explain! It helps bring a closure to the play experience, without an abrupt halt. The children have time to think, to share, to remember and to relate - while the play experience is still fresh in their memory.
How to get started?
Build your bank of questions that you will choose from consistently. The more the children become familiar with them, the more comfortable and confident they become in forming and sharing their responses. The more they hear them the more likely you are to notice the children using them in their own conversations too.
Download my Post-Play Q&A Guiding Questions:
Keep it playful.
Rather than run the risk of the Q&A experience becoming laboured or overwhelming, it can be useful to rotate through different formats across the week. Question dice act as a useful scaffold and invitation into the Q&A experience - while also creating some subtle opportunities for emergent reading.
Don't forget to include a subtle visual prompt or symbol to match each question as a cue for emergent readers.
Purposeful, effective, language rich...and incorporates a wealth of your PLC learning outcomes for Oral Language.