Creativity, Communication and Collaboration: The Identification of Pedagogic Progression in Sustained Shared Thinking

Iram Siraj-Blatchford
page. 3~23 / 2007 Vol.1 No.2


The central purpose of this paper has been to provide a conceptual model that is capable of supporting the development of appropriate early childhood practices for the 21st Century. A strong consensus has emerged regarding the importance of devel- oping Communication, Collaboration and Creativity during the early years. The paper argues that these three principles are related to each other very closely at the level of theory and in some of the very best early childhood education practice. It is argued that, at the level of practice; creativity, communication, and collaboration are all combined in ‘sustained shared thinking’, which has been identified as a particularly effective pedagogic strategy in the qualitative case studies conducted to support the longitudinal study Effective Provision of Pre-School Education in England (Siraj- Blatchford and Sylva, 2004). These ‘three Cs’ (Communication, Collaboration and Creativity) are also explicitly prioritised in each of the five international models of early childhood education (ECE) identified in the 2004 Starting Strong: Curricula and Pedagogies in Early Childhood Education and Care Report (OECD, 2004). But it is extremely important to recognise that the pedagogic form that ‘Sustained Shared Thinking’ takes with children under age two is quite different from that most appro- priate for three to five year olds when, in their socio-dramatic play, young children are quite naturally separating objects and actions from their meanings in the real world and giving them new meanings. By around age five, children’s powers of ex- pression and abstraction may also be enhanced when they are encouraged to commu- nicate these creative representations in the play room (van Oers, 1999). The paper concludes by identifying some key principles to be applied in developing effective ‘Pedagogic Progression’ in nurseries and kindergartens that often cater for a broad age range of young children. These were illustrated at the PECERA conference with con- crete examples of practice drawn from popular training materials

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