The characteristics are split into three different categories which we endeavour to promote at each stage of learning in Ladybird Class: Playing and exploring, Active learning, Creativity and thinking critically.
Playing and exploring
Finding and exploring
At home and at school children are demonstrating skills in this area when they are being curious about the objects, people and places they come into contact with. They are using all their senses (what they see, hear, smell, touch and taste) to explore the world around them and showing special interests in things. Children may engage in activities that we call “open ended”, meaning they can stretch and extend their play using different materials not always dictated by an adult and this may continue over a number of hours, days or even weeks.
Playing with what they know
This aspects links very closely to children’s ability to “pretend” and to engage in pretend experiences alone and as they grow develop these ideas in co-operation with others. At home and at school children use one object to represent another, for example, a banana might be used as a mobile phone to talk to “Miss Common's mummy”. As children develop, they become more sophisticated and create their own props for role play e.g. making frozen ice lollies using lolly sticks and paper to be sold in our shop, thus extending their play through assigning particular roles to individual children. They can sustain this play and develop ideas and themes which they continue over a period of time. They might also incorporate ideas from home but are increasingly informed by books and stories e.g. "Polar bears do not drink water - but what do they drink?"
Being willing to 'have a go'
Children who exhibit this characteristic start up activities and have ideas. They seek out things to challenge them and are keen to show they “can do” things independently. They are willing to try and are keen to (or can be encouraged to) try new experiences. We want to encourage this element so they can feel a sense of success and have a positive view of themselves as learners, which we aim for them to retain throughout their school life.
Being involved and concentrating
Many children at whatever age, can and do show high levels of focus in things that really interest them. They can get really involved in an activity or experiences and cannot easily be distracted. They look very closely at things and pay particular attention to the features of the objects, people and places they find fascinating. On tapestry we use the Leuven Scale to assess how involved children are, fascination is a key element in children's love for learning.
Keep on trying
This aspects links quite closely with being willing to “have a go” but also involves demonstrating persistence when difficulties arise. Children show a positive attitude and will not be put off by difficulties or challenges. We can encourage this characteristic by allowing children the opportunity to do things for themselves and not jumping in too soon help when challenges arise or judging carefully when to offer support. As children get older we actively talk to them about keeping trying when things become difficult. We love the word "YET" for example when a child is struggling, we remind them that they just need some help and learning, they can't do it yet.