Setting goals can provide children with valuable life skills such as commitment, persistence and responsibility. Goals can be used to help extend the capacity of a child and provide a sense of achievement upon completion of a goal. It is also part of the pedagogical practice of educators to develop ‘planned experiences’ in which learning objectives such as goals are used in order to assist children to achieve developmental expectations and milestones¹.
NQF 4.1 Children develop dispositions such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity.
Knowing a child’s strengths, weaknesses and interests is essential in formulating relevant and engaging goals for a child. As an educator it is good practice to use intentional teaching strategies to scaffold and extend a child’s learning to build the necessary confidence and skills to achieve successful outcomes.
NQS 1.2.2 Educators respond to children’s ideas and play and use intentional teaching to scaffold and extend each child’s learning.
Utilising the S.M.A.R.T. system to design well defined goals will assist in the assessment of goal achievement.
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for the 5 steps of: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely goals.
The goal is clear and specific.
The process of achieving a goal must be observable and measurable. To define a goal answer quantifiable questions such as:
The goal should be age appropriate and within the developmental realms of achievement. Further consideration should be given to the individual’s ability to achieve the goal.
Choosing goals that matter and are relevant to a learning proposition.
A goal limited by time will help focus efforts. The time limit must be considered carefully as allowing too much or too little time can de-motivate a child. A shorter time period for younger children is ideal to maintain interest.
Are there other things which need to be considered when setting goals for children? Please feel free to share your thoughts and experience with others in the comments section below.
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