Here at Dallington School we focus on promoting cooperation and communication inside and outside the classroom. Be it through games, songs or activities we always encourage our children to support and guide each other in their learning. In order to do this consistently we base our teaching strategies on Kagan structures. Dr Spencer Kagan has been researching how to promote cooperative learning in the classroom for over twenty years and his approach is used in classrooms throughout the world. Through these methods children’s confidence grows and as they are in charge of their own learning they are motivated and enthusiastic.
In our classrooms we use different methods at different times but as an example, in a Nursery circle time you may hear ¨turn to your partner and name all the pink objects on the board.” The children then turn to their pre-arranged partner and take turns naming objects. We make sure that every half term children change partners in order to get to know one another and make new friends.
Another strategy we use here at Dallington is the “Sticky High Five”. The children dance to the music and when it stops they “high five” the person closest to them. The teacher then asks a question and the children give an answer. In order for these strategies to be effective they take time and patience to put into place and are levelled depending on the class.
It is so important that here in Early Years, the children are working together to solve problems, answer questions and test out ideas. In groups, children learn how to be patient, manage their own emotions and be caring towards others and by using these Kagan structures we are promoting these values.