Teaching Planning to Young Children
"Goal Plan Predict Do Review" is well established as an approach to helping older students when coaching them through an assignment or task. The Reggio Emilia approach teaches planning to young children using similar steps in preschool classrooms.
Start out by modeling these steps, using lots of structure until the child is familiar with the routine.
- Use engaging play materials, paper, markers or crayons to motivate the child. Use adult supervision and positive interaction to help guide the student.
- Students must be motivated to use the play materials, but not so motivated that they can't calm down and follow their plan.
- Make a book of student drawings to document progress over time.
- Ask the child to plan what they will play with and what they will do during free time. Purposefully give the child time to think. It helps to model this by "thinking out loud."
- Allow the student free choice of free-time materials or present 2-3 groups of materials that are highly engaging.
- Classroom rules about using materials should be followed.
- Ask the child to draw his or her plan.
- The student tells the plan to a teacher:
- Teacher asks: "What is your plan?" Or, "What will you do?" and "How will you do it?" For children with more experience you can ask: "What might go wrong?"
- Teacher writes the plan down in a sentence under the picture.
- The teacher allows the child time to follow the plan.
- When the time is up the child sits down again.
- Then the child draws what they did or what happened.
- After drawing, the child tells an adult how their plan worked. The adult writes this down on the bottom of the picture.
- Adult can ask: "What did you do?" "Tell me about your picture?" Did you follow your plan?" and "Did your plan work?"
This activity can also be used to teach older children how to break a long term project into smaller tasks. It uses planning, goal setting, memory, and attention skills.
Start this activity in the classroom where the child can be observed easily, and interventions made if necessary. Then, try using the "goal-plan-predict-do-review" in new settings, gradually working up to the play ground. Asking the student to draw their plan first and talk about the plan helps students slow down and spend more time thinking about what they will do and how they will do it.
Cadwell, Louise B.Bringing Learning to Life: A Reggio Approach to Early Childhood Education. New York, NY: Teachers College Press, 2002.