Literacy experience plan: Walk and talk

An everyday experience like walking not only provides opportunities for children to be physical but also provides opportunities to develop language and social skills while out and about in the local community.

This experience should be differentiated depending on the individual children/group level.

This learning experience plan relates to:

  • interacting with others
  • early language users (1236 months)
  • learning foci: conversation and social skills, making meaning and expressing ideas
  • teaching practice: language in everyday situations.

Collect information

  • What information has been gathered as evidence to inform this experience?

Links to VEYLDF

Outcome 5: communication

Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes:

  • Exchange ideas, feelings and understandings using language representations in play.
  • Engage in enjoyable reciprocal interactions using verbal and non-verbal language.
  • Attend and give cultural cues that they are listening to and understanding what is said to them.

Victorian Curriculum levels F-2: language 

  • Understand the use of vocabulary in familiar contexts related to everyday experiences, personal interests and topics taught at school.

Learning intentions

  • For children to use language (verbal and nonverbal) for a range of purposes, e.g. commenting, responding, expressing feelings.
  • For children to understand and use gestures during interactions.
  • For children to listen and attend to others during interactions.

Assessment of learning

Learning is demonstrated when children:

  • share their interest by pointing and/or vocalising, responding to simple questions, or sharing their excitement with others, e.g. pointing, smiling and calling out “bus”.
  • respond to gestures from others, e.g. child looks in the direction of where someone is pointing; use gestures such as nodding, waving and pointing to communicate, e.g. waves at the bus driver.
  • listen and attend during back and forth interactions with others, e.g. child looks, listens and smiles at the educator who is talking to them. 

Resources

  • Whilst specific resources are not required for this experience, it is important to carefully plan the walking route to suit the abilities and interests of the children.
  • Choose a route that has many points of interest for children, remembering that they will find interest in simple things such as post and letter boxes, construction sites and street signs. A shorter route with lots of talking points is ideal.

Group size

Small group (2-5 children) or medium sized groups depending on adult/child ratios.

Note: a risk assessment must be completed prior to undertaking the planned walk.

Differentiation

Differentiation should be based on previous assessment of the children’s communication skills.

Examples of differentiation:

  • for a child who has difficulty with initiating motor movements, educators may provide physical support to help the child achieve the pointing gesture.
  • for a child who is using phrases to communicate their feelings and make comments, educators may focus on supporting this child to ask questions, e.g. “What do you see Mason?”.

Experience process

  1. Clearly introduce the learning experience:
    • explain to the children that they will be going on a walk and that there will be lots of interesting things to see and talk about together.
  2. Going on the walk:
    • model language for the children during the walk using self and parallel talk. For example, “Lucas can see the stop sign,” “Sarah is excited” or “I hear a fire engine.”
    • model the use of gestures for children to see, e.g. shaking head for ‘no’ or pointing up to the sky
    • talk about what is seen, heard, touched and smelt
    • model the use of language for various purposes, e.g. asking questions, commenting on things of interest, requesting help
    • imitate sounds and gestures made by the children and extend upon these
    • take turns in back and forth exchanges with the children remembering that some turns will be nonverbal, so cue in to what the child is looking at, their facial expressions and gestures
    • aim to take equal turns with the children during interactions, remembering that young children may only take one or two turns in an interaction
    • use purposeful pauses and expectant looks to encourage the children to communicate
    • ask children simple questions about what they see to provide opportunities for responding, e.g. “what’s that?” or “where’s the cat?”
    • to support children’s use of eye contact, it may help to stop throughout the walk and interact at the child/children’s level
    • praise the child/children for their listening, singing and talking throughout the walk
    • make up songs and rhymes about the things that are seen, encouraging children to join in where possible
    • expand on what the children have said, e.g. child: “woof” educator: ”that dog is going for a walk”.
  3. After the walk – consolidating the learning experience:
    • continue the discussions with children about what was seen on the walk. This can be done by linking ideas and discussions back to what the children were interested in, e.g. diggers, helicopter, bird nest.

Going further

This experience could be extended by:

  • children collecting various natural materials during the walk and bringing them back to set up a nature table and continue discussions. Collected materials could be incorporated into the ‘Making Sculptures’ learning experience – see Related Learning Experiences below.
  • encouraging parents to go out walking and talking with their children and for children to share their experiences with the group, e.g. they may bring in photos of themselves out walking in the community.

Reflect/review

Reflective questions for educators may include:

  • what learning has occurred? How do you know?
  • what have you realised about the child’s interests, knowledge, and capabilities?
  • indiscussion with colleagues, what would you plan next to consolidate or extend children’s learning?

Additional/alternate resources for this learning experience

  • I Went Walking by Sue Machin
  • Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins

Related learning experience plans

Links to sections