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Responding with challenge

09 Jun 2022

Monica Xu

Early Years Year Group Lead

Early Years Class Teacher



In Huili Nursery Hangzhou, we constantly provide children with new challenges within their Zone of Proximal Development* to stretch their learning and engage them in deep thinking in all learning areas.



Towards the end of EY3, children are very confident in making 2D buildings in different shapes and are challenged to create 3D structures with loose parts and natural materials they have. Making creative 3D buildings leads to the use of glue gun and purposeful choice of fabric being made available. In this process, children will have gained spatial awareness, problem-solving skills and the ability to take reasonable risks by considering making the building stable and using a glue gun safely to protect themselves and others around them.



Similarly, when children are confident in understanding and retelling stories, we challenge their thinking by giving them opportunities to act out roles, create continuation for the story and reflect on the roles from their perspectives. Again, this is preferred rather than telling children what we think they should gain from the story. This new challenge helps children link their own experience to the imaginative world, creates a safe space for children to reflect on themselves without being judged and commented on, increases their critical and creative thinking skills, and serves as an emotional outlet. This is also an excellent opportunity to help children develop their higher-order thinking levels, such as evaluating and creating in Bloom's Taxonomy. 




Children's Day


When celebrating Children's Day recently, we challenged children's thinking by reflecting on why we celebrate this festival and what kinds of behaviours should be celebrated and acknowledged. As a result, children realise that their excellent behaviours contribute to the harmonious social environment and link to Huili Values.


Such challenges are provided through all year groups and targeted at individual children. As a result, Huili children are constantly immersed in a challenging and engaging environment enriched with opportunities to grow and move forward to their following milestones. We, as teachers, take on new challenges together with Huili children, learning new skills and knowledge and celebrating our bravery and courage to move forward and step out of our comfort zone. 


*The Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) from Vygotsky's theory is the distance between what a learner can do unsupported and what they can do supported.