Challenging Early Learning : Helping Young Children Learn How to Learn book cover
1st Edition

Challenging Early Learning
Helping Young Children Learn How to Learn

ISBN 9780429397929
Published May 3, 2019 by Routledge
210 Pages 57 Color & 21 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

What are the goals of Early Years education? A lot of people ask this question and receive answers ranging from keeping children safe; introducing them to the values of society; encouraging a love of language; giving them experience of socialising, harmonising and behaving appropriately. This book shares the best strategies to help children grow into even more curious, resilient, happy, articulate and thoughtful learners.


Challenging Early Learning takes James Nottingham's tried and tested and acclaimed 'learning to learn' methodology and applies it to teaching three- to seven-year-olds. Each chapter includes:

  • Colourful and stimulating learning activities that will help children learn how to learn.
  • Practical 'Now Try This' sections that encourage readers to think about current practice and explore new ideas.
  • A Review section that focuses on building a broad tool kit of teaching strategies.


Covering a range of key topics such as feedback, dialogue, growth mindset and the Learning Pit, this book is aimed at all pedagogues, teachers, parents and leaders wanting to challenge the way in which we learn and make learning more challenging.

Table of Contents

Foreword  Preface  The Language of Learning  Chapter 1: Creating the Conditions for Early Learning  1.0 Challenging Early Learning  1.1 Encouraging Growth in A Nursery  1.2 Learning How to Learn  1.3 The ASK Model  1.4 ASK Model: Attitudes  1.4.1 The Marshmallow Experiment  1.5 ASK Model: Skills  1.6 Learning Detectives  1.7 Chapter Summary  Chapter 2: Children’s Response to Challenge  2.0 Which Path Would You Choose?  2.1 Why Do Children Pick the Easier Path?  2.2 Persuading Children Out of Their Comfort Zone  2.3 The Learning Challenge  2.4 Learning Challenge Stage 1: Identify Concepts  2.5 Learning Challenge Stage 2: Creative Cognitive Conflict  2.5.1 Wobblers  2.5.2 Comparisons  2.5.3 Prepared Questions  2.6 Learning Challenge Stage 3: Construct Understanding  2.6.1 Concept Targets  2.6.2 Ranking  2.6.3 Venn diagrams  2.6.4 Opinion Lines  2.6.5 Opinion Corners  2.7 Learning Challenge Stage 4: Consider the Learning  2.8 Chapter Summary  Chapter 3: Developing Dialogue with Young Children  3.0 Using Dialogue to Develop Children’s Language  3.1 Different Types of Talk  3.2 Cumulative Talk  3.3 Disputational Talk  3.4 Exploratory Talk  3.5 Encouraging Exploratory Talk  3.6 Repeating, Reflecting, Rephrasing, and Extending  3.7 Chapter Summary  Chapter 4: Engaging Children’s Thinking Skills  4.0 Learning How to Think  4.1 Transporter  4.2 Odd One Out  4.3 That Is What I Was Thinking  4.4 The Three Whys (Men)  4.5 A Reasonable Holiday  4.6 What If?  4.7 Storyboarding  4.8 Fortunately; Unfortunately  4.9 Chapter Summary  Chapter 5: Listening, Thinking and Questioning  5.0 Patience for Listening  5.1 Trust and Respect  5.2 Listening and Thinking (rather than Listening and Talking)  5.3 Developing Questioning  5.4 Open Questions  5.5 Socratic Questions  5.6 Who, What, Where, When, Why, How  5.7 Question Stems  5.8 Thinking Progress  5.9 Chapter Summary  Chapter 6: Making Progress  6.0 Focus on Progress  6.1 Progress in Terms of The SOLO Taxonomy  6.2 The SOLO Taxonomy and Learning  6.3 The SOLO Taxonomy and The Learning Challenge  6.4 Progress and a Growth Mindset  6.5 Mindset and Praise  6.6 Ways to Praise  6.7 Other Ways to Build a Growth Mindset  6.8 Self Efficacy  6.9 Chapter Summary  Chapter 7: Feedback and Learning Goals  7.0 The Impact of Feedback  7.1 What Is Feedback?  7.2 Feedback and Praise  7.3 Learning Goals and Feedback  7.4 Timing  7.5 Sitting Beside Your Children  7.6 Encouraging the Right Type of Feedback  7.7 Seven Steps to Feedback Success  7.8 The Seven Steps to Feedback – Some Final Thoughts  7.9 Chapter Summary  Chapter 8: Early Learning Activities  Activity 1: What Is a Toy?  Activity 2: People Who Help Us  Activity 3: The Gingerbread Man  Activity 4: Why Is Teddy Feeling Unwell?  Activity 5: Decisions, Decisions  Activity 6: Shape  Activity 7: Fairy Tales  Activity 8: Being A Good Friend  Appendix 1  Coded Transcript Relating to Section 3.6

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James and Jill Nottingham started an educational company in 1999 to support local nurseries and schools with the development of Philosophy for Children. This evolved into a multimillion-pound social regeneration project to raise the aspirations and abilities of young people in North East England. With the success of this project, early childhood centres across Scandinavia, Australia and New Zealand wanted to get involved in the Nottinghams’ award-winning approaches to challenge, dialogue, feedback, questioning and progress. To meet this demand, Jill and James set up companies in Australia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the UK and the USA, and now employ 30 educational experts who lead, demonstrate and guide practitioners and parents in the best ways to enhance young children’s learning.