Approaches to Play and Learning Foundation: 3 - Attentiveness and Persistence

Topic: APL3.1 - Demonstrate development of sustained attention and persistence

The development of sustained attention and persistence allows children to recognize the importance of completing a task and to develop internal self-regulation to follow through despite distractions and frustrations.

Children are encouraged to explore and discover together and on their own. This promotes experimentation, risk taking and collaborative learning in the environment. Children then use this curiosity to begin to build attention and critical thinking skills.

Looking Ahead to Kindergarten Family Engagement Special Populations
As children make the transition to K-12 education, development of executive function skills become a key factor to success. In order to meet expectations, children need to be able to focus on and complete tasks with minimal assistance and begin to problem solve issues that occur. Kindergarten students will also be able to demonstrate a willingness to learn, especially when faced with challenges or following a failure (SEL Competency 7A). Encourage families to:

*Play interactive games with their child (i.e. finding games where children can develop coping skills for experiencing wins and losses).
*Read to their child (e.g. continuing a book that the family wasn’t able to finish in one sitting).
*Create age appropriate responsibilities for the child in the home (e.g. taking dishes to the sink, cleaning up toys, etc.).
*Promote a growth mindset by giving specific praises on the process and effort (e.g. “You put a lot of time and effort into that!”).

Educators can:

*Provide materials for the child’s individual developmental level to promote learning.
*For DLL and exceptional learners, introduce, model, and reinforce vocabulary needed to communicate with peers and educators.
*Provide visual supports to aid in vocabulary and overall skill development.

Powerful Practices
Across all developmental stages, educators can:

*Provide an environment that is interesting and inspiring for children, adapting as their interests evolve.
*Be flexible in adapting the schedule to focus on children’s interests and meaningful learning opportunities (i.e. avoid interrupting when children are actively engaged in play).
*Encourage children to persist by acknowledging their effort in a positive, calm, and supportive manner in close proximity and at the child’s level.
*Be flexible in their expectations by recognizing individual children’s attention span limits.

Infant

Engage in serve and return interactions in close proximity (e.g. educator responds positively to infant’s coos verbally and nonverbally)

Recognize and respond to infant’s cues (e.g. when infant expresses discomfort)

Provide a variety of interesting, engaging materials (e.g. shakers, books that can be mouthed and cleaned, and mirrors)

Recognize and value repetition in actions as learning (e.g. fill and dump, dropping spoon)

Younger Toddler
Provide books and read with children one-on-one or informally to a small group regularly, using vocal fluctuations throughout the story

Provide materials that are achievable but challenging (e.g. stacking cups, encouraging children to climb over a climber or tree stump)

Follow a child’s lead in play to extend their learning and attention (e.g. “You dumped out all the blocks. What should we do with them? Let’s build together.”)

Older Toddler
Provide access to books and read with children (individually or in small groups) regularly, using vocal fluctuations throughout the story

Provide materials that are achievable but challenging (e.g. shape sorters and inset puzzles)

Model repetition play (e.g. building a tower and knocking it over several times in a row)

Create invitations to play by placing materials out for children to explore, like placing puzzles at the table, and encourage persistence by scaffolding learning (e.g. “Try turning the dog so his head is at the top and see if it fits.”)

Younger Preschool
Provide engaging books that are easily accessible to children

Use a variety of techniques while reading to children (e.g. using vocal fluctuations, asking open-ended questions, puppets, flannel boards, etc.)

Provide support based on child’s needs to encourage completion of activity

Provide materials that are achievable but challenging (e.g. interlocking puzzles, magnet tiles)

Intentionally plan activities that require sustained attention (e.g. Hokey Pokey, Going on a Bear Hunt)

Older Preschool
Provide engaging books that are easily accessible to children

Use a variety of techniques while reading to children (e.g. using vocal fluctuations, asking open-ended questions, puppets, flannel boards, etc.)

Provide support based on child’s needs to encourage completion of activity

Provide materials that are achievable but challenging (e.g. increasingly complex interlocking puzzles, matching games)

Intentionally plan activities that require sustained attention (e.g. Simon Says, Going on a Bear Hunt)