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Leaf colours: playing with language - teaching demonstration

The educator invites children to use their higher order language skills to think of names for a group of coloured leaves.

In this video, the educator invites children to use their higher order language skills to think of names for a group of coloured leaves.

The children are supported to brainstorm a variety of different names for the leaves, rather than just “red”, “green”, or “brown”. Through the experience, children’s concept and vocabulary knowledge is developed, along with their ability to reflect on language, and use it creatively.

Wacth the video on Vimeo : Leaf Colours Playing with Language

Reflective practice


  • The educator’s contextualisation of the need to think of individual names for the leaves.
  • How the experience allows children to reflect on language in a poetic way.
  • The educator modelling language useful for comparing leaves (“which one is darker?”).
  • The educator revisiting all the children’s names at the end of the experience.
  • The inclusion of incidental alphabet knowledge when the child suggests to name the last leaf after all of their names.

Reflection questions

  • How does the educator draw the children’s attention to the similarities and differences between the group of leaves?
  • In what ways does the educator balance between teacher-led and guided learning within the experience?
  • How does this use of teacher-led and guided learning align with the practice in your setting?
  • How would these creative uses of language assist children’s emergent writing?
  • What does the educator mean by the phrase: “Everyday life sings the world?”
  • What did children learn? How do you know?
  • In discussion with colleagues, what would you plan next to consolidate and extend this learning?

Learning experience plan

This learning experience plan relates to:

  • interacting with others
  • language and emergent literacy learners (40-60 months)
  • learning foci: higher order language, concept development and vocabulary
  • teaching practice: discussions and investigations, writing with children.

Outcome 4: learning

Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity:

  • express wonder and interest in their environments.

Outcome 5: communication

Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes:

  • contribute their ideas and experiences in play and small and large group discussion
  • show increasing knowledge, understanding and skill in conveying meaning

Children begin to understand how symbols and pattern systems work:

  • develop an understanding that symbols are a powerful means of communication
  • ideas, thoughts and concepts can be represented through them
  • begin to make connections between, and see patterns in, their feelings, ideas, words and actions, and those of others

Victorian Curriculum levels F-2: Language

  • Understand that language can be used to explore ways of expressing needs, likes and dislikes
  • Understand the use of vocabulary in familiar contexts related to everyday experiences, personal interests and topics taught at school.

Learning intentions

  • Encouraging children to think of synonyms for different colours (red —> rose red, fire red, lava red).
  • Introducing children to figurative/poetical language, that is using language in a creative and descriptive way.

Assessment of learning

This is demonstrated when children:

  • discuss and decide on a name for each leaf, based on its similarities to nature or other aspects of life
  • participate in discussion about the names for each of the leaves.


Fallen leaves with a range of colours, sizes and shapes:

  • ensure there are multiple examples of each colour so that children have the opportunity to create different names to distinguish between similarly coloured leaves
  • A3/A2 poster with leaves attached around the page (with room for adding text)
  • Pens/Textas or other writing implements.

Group size

Medium or small group (2-5 children).

Experience process

Before the experience

Gather the selection of leaves (potentially with children).

Attach the leaves onto a large enough piece of paper or card so that there is space to add words next to/underneath each one.

  1. Introduce the experience, and invite children to participate to help name the leaves.
  2. Encourage children to engage in sensory play with the leaves, using their sight, touch, listening and smell to describe what they are sensing.
  3. Encourage children to think deeply about what certain colours and textures remind them of in their everyday life.
  4. Invite children to take ownership of the leaf naming, and think of their own ideas, either individually, or in collaboration with the group.
  5. Review all the children’s names of the leaves at the end of the experience.

Going further

This experience can be extended by:

  • using the leaf colours in a collaborative storytelling or drama experience
  • encouraging children to collect their own leaves and natural materials
  • work one-to-one with the educator to name and label the colours or descriptive names for each one.

This experience can be adapted to make use of other natural and artificial materials, encouraging children to use language descriptively to name them.


Experience plans