February 2021 Newsletter: Taking Advantage of Teachable Moments – Examples of Teachable Moments

There are hundreds of seemingly routine moments that can turn into teachable moments if you have a watchful eye and are willing to make time for them.  While you can’t necessarily plan a spontaneous teachable moment, you can promote teachable moments through the types of explorations and interactions you bring to the learning environment.  Here are a few examples of events that are likely to trigger teachable moments:

  • Asking questions during read-alouds – Pre-read new books before reading them to children. Determine 2-3 questions that you want to ask at the beginning, middle, and end of the story. Rather than asking children to recall parts of the story, ask them questions about how they feel about the events or characters in the story… follow the conversation where ever it leads.
  • Field trips and visitors (when it is safe to do so) – Any time children can explore a new space or interact with a new person, there are opportunities for teachable moments. Again, come prepared with a few questions of your own to prompt children’s thinking and boost their engagement in the activity.
  • Loose parts, art, and sensory play – Open-ended materials present many chances for children to make discoveries, which can lead to teachable moments if you are observant.
  • Meaningful mealtime conversations – Sit with children during mealtimes and model for them how to engage in turn-taking conversations. Tell stories about your childhood or something funny that happened to you on your way to work. Ask and answer questions. Wonderful teachable moments can arise from these meaningful conversations.
  • Address gender stereotypes – It is common for teachers to have to address gender stereotypes, such as, “Girls can’t play with trucks,” or “Boys don’t play with baby dolls.” When you hear children say things like this, you have been presented with a powerful teachable moment. Be sure to talk with children about their misconceptions. Present real-world examples of dads who take care of babies and the milk delivery person, who is female. Remind children that in the classroom, anyone can play with any of the materials, regardless of their gender.
  • When children express strong emotions – Early childhood is filled with moments that are emotionally charged. These moments present opportunities to help children build self-regulation and self-calming skills. Hopefully, you have introduced these strategies before needing to use them, so that the teachable moments can be about putting familiar strategies to work. You won’t have much luck introducing a new skill to a child who is overwhelmed with emotion.
  • When children make mistakes – Whether they messed up their artwork or a block tower fell over, mistakes are great teachable moments. Talk with children about how they could fix their mistake and how revising and trying, again and again, is part of learning.
  • When accidents happen – Sometimes milk spills. Sometimes children don’t make it to the bathroom in time. Having quick, positive discussions with children about what they can do differently next time are common teachable moments in child care.
  • When conflicts arise – Children who are working and playing together are likely to have differences of opinion about how the play should proceed. This is common in most environments where people collaborate, so conflict resolution is an important skill to learn early in life. Helping children resolve conflicts as they arise is yet another example of a powerful teachable moment.

For the main article Taking Advantage of Teachable Moments, CLICK HERE

For the article Capitalizing on Teachable Moments with Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Teachable Moments with Families, CLICK HERE

For the article Teachable Moments with Coworkers, CLICK HERE