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Using Floorbooks With Children In Early Childhood

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Using Floorbooks With Children In Early Childhood

Floorbook is a documentation approach that uses a large book with blank pages for children to record different aspects of their learnings in small groups or as a whole group.

It is called a ‘floor book’ because the book is used on the floor so that the children have close access to it. It explores the shared thinking in a more formal way so that children recall each others ideas and record them through writing, drawing and photographs.

Features of a Floorbook

Floorbooks explores the shared thinking in a more formal way so that children recall each others  ideas and record them through writing, drawing and photographs. Features include:

  • Children’s ideas and thoughts
  • Open ended questions - Questions are posed as a part of a conversation and are designed to stimulate thought and not test knowledge.
  • Higher order thinking
  • Depth of learning - Collating children’s ideas in a book form ensures that the group focus on continuity and progression over longer blocks of time. Collaborative learning - floor books are designed to be a large size to allow children to gather around them and engage in a learning dialogue around the content of the pages.
  • A variety of methods to represent thinking - adult scribing the questions and conversations, children’s drawings, photos, adult observations.
  • Collates child centred ideas that are taken forward by the early years staff - the floor book is an integral part of planning.
  • Children draw/write on separate pieces of paper which the adult glues into the book
  • Notes taken from group time can be typed and glued into the floorbook
  • A conversation with an individual child can be included in the book
  • The books are available to children at  all times.

Child-Centred Approach

What makes Floorbooks a particularly useful way of documenting is that it is entirely learner-led. Children draw pictures of what interests them or related to what they have been learning; they put stickers or cut out pictures and then glue on the book; they write about their favourite topics, objects or feelings. Such images and drawings make children’s ideas clear and visible while their writings help them refine their own concepts.

Uses Collaboration

By its very nature, a Floorbook is a shared document and hence invites collaboration and exchange of ideas. As children sit on the floor and work together on the same book, they discuss aspects of the topic at hand, recount memories, ask questions, add to or even content each other’s opinions and observations. Such a give and take process is not only stimulating for young minds and teaches some very valuable social and interpersonal skills through negotiating, taking turns and working in groups.

Comprehensive Nature

Since Floorbooks can be used over an extended period time, they evolve into comprehensive learning documents. Children use it to explore a concept or topic over an extended period of time, thus promoting a deeper level of learning. It can be also be used to reinforce previous learning or anticipate new areas of exploration even as an educator can invite different children to contribute at different stages of learning a concept, keeping the process varied and interesting.

How Educators Can Use Floorbooks 

While using Floorbooks to document children’s learning:

  • begin by assessing what children know already
  • be ready to scribe your young learners’ comments, ideas and inputs
  • use provocations to get your learners discussing, for example say, “Tell me about this blue caterpillar that you have drawn”; such open-ended questions will help children talk about related concepts like birth, growth, flowering, change and so on. 
  • identify possible new learning; for example if children have been finding out more about butterflies, see if you can explore other objects that ‘fly’ like, clouds or airplanes, and then perhaps the water cycle or air pressure
  • mark progression in children’s conceptual understanding or changes in ideas by using different colour sticky notes in the book
  • wrap up the learning with a graphic organizer perhaps on the last page of the book for an easy visual representation of the learning topics, processes and inter-connections.

Thinking and talking floor books create a child centred approach, which records the evidence of the process of play and the learning that comes from it.

  • Updating the floor book in consultation with children is important because:
  • It creates closer match between the child and the curriculum they are experiencing
  • It builds self esteem and positive attitudes when the learner is involved in the decision making
  • It increases intrinsic motivation,  that stays with a child throughout life.
  • Children have a right to be treated with respect by valuing their thoughts and opinions.

When using a floorbook it is designed to create a balance between intentional teaching and child autonomy and enables children to be engaged  and develop the dispositions for lifelong learning. Floorbooks allow educators to consult deeply with children during the planning and documentation process.

References:
Claire Wardens Floorbook 
Alison Trew and Caroline Skerry "Floorbooks", Why and How 

Created On February 19, 2022 Last modified on Saturday, February 19, 2022
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