Prepare students through a whole class
discussion on the purpose of independent
Set out several basic rules for
participation in independent inquiry:
• Must make your own choice of activity.
• Need to respect others and share materials
• If there is a problem, need to try to solve
(These can be revised after a few days with
input from the children.)
Respect and child-initiated problem-solving
should be standard practice in every classroom
environment. Should these qualities not be
prevalent, there may need to be an emphasis
on modelling and providing extra support.
Let children play, and have the freedom to
choose what and with whom.
Children may continue to choose the same
thing over and over. This occurs for a variety
of reasons; they may be comfortable with
this activity or material, they may have
experienced success and want to repeat
the experience, they may be overwhelmed
by choices, or they don’t know how to work
with others, or they are unsure about what
is available. In knowing the individual child,
educators can determine when to provide
guidance and when to invite the child to try
something new that is out of their comfort
Assess the outcome and make
• Is there noticeable improvement in how
the children interact with one another?
• What are the most frequently selected
• What do the children do?
• What are they learning?
• What needs to be changed, (materials,
routines, working areas, …)?
Things to Remember:
• For the first few days to a week, the
children will tend to sample the various
activities before settling into something
substantial. Some children may require
more guidance, particularly if they have no
confidence in themselves or have not had
the opportunity to play or make choices.
This is a time for the teacher to step back
and observe what the children are doing
with as little interference as possible. She
may begin to collect observations in a
journal for later assessment.