Resource Overview

  • Explorations K
  • Explorations 1
  • Explorations 2

Explorations K - Resource Overview

Learning Areas

The learning environments in Explorations are the physical areas children visit, both indoors and outdoors. They are spaces within the school, neighbourhood, and community. In these spaces, children make choices, take risks, interact with others, solve problems, and make discoveries. These safe areas inspire learning, promote independence and self-regulation, and encourage participation and collaboration.

Explorations offers examples of the following learning areas:

Language Math Science
The Outdoors Blocks and Building Dramatic Play
Visual Arts Sand Water


Each learning area is introduced with suggestions for Setting up the Learning Area with accessible and varied materials, and Recording the Learning in a variety of ways.

Case Study

Inquiry: From Play to Project showcases how children’s play and exploration may initiate a focused area of interest or raise questions—ones that are sustained over time. This illustrated example demonstrates how you can support children in making decisions about ideas they want to explore and materials they may need to collect.


Each learning area in Explorations is centered around a suggested collection of materials. Some areas offer one collection, while others offer two or three.

Each Collection includes the following sections:

Open Exploration presents examples of children at play they have initiated, either alone or with others. These examples illustrate and acknowledge different types of play: object play, pretend play, social play, and physical play.

Extending Open Exploration is the primary section in Explorations that illustrates how questions and discussions based on children’s play at a learning area can point to appropriate intentional activities. These prompts are clustered to show how to connect the play to specific areas of the curriculum.

Sharing the Learning focuses attention on giving children the space and time to present orally and/or through demonstration.

Activity Menu presents a bank of intentional activities to introduce to children after reflecting on your observations.

Throughout the collections, photo vignettes and captions illustrate how children engage with their environment, materials, each other, and ideas. Watch For comments elaborate on how to use your observations to plan future learning.

Home Connection

Explorations values a partnership between home and school. To augment your communication with families, the Home Connection feature suggests ways to support, connect, or continue learning through the home environment.

The Explorations Website

Explorations offers a website to extend the use of the resource. There you will find a dedicated section for each of the learning areas. Each section includes

  • a list of children’s books relevant to the learning area
  • additional technology activities to extend your use of the resource
  • customizable line masters to support your use of the resource in your classroom
  • connecting home and school letters

Explorations 1 - Resource Overview

There are 5 units included:
Our Changing World
Patterns and Cycles
Our Communities
Sharing Stories and Information
Plants Are Living Things

Big Idea

  • a conceptual framework that connects the work children do
  • a statement that encapsulates what children come to understand in a deep way
  • weaves through children’s inquiries and is a focus throughout the unit
  • is revisited as inquiries unfold

Essential Understanding

  • defines clusters of learning experiences that contribute to developing the unit Big Idea


  • an activity, experience, question, or problem that launches children’s thinking and accesses prior knowledge
  • an experience that captures children’s interests, prompting questions, exchange of ideas, and dialogue about what they think, know, and wonder
  • Engaging in the Big Idea: one or two suggested experiences to engage children in thinking about the unit’s overriding concept and the Big Idea
  • Engaging in a Cluster: suggested experiences to engage children in thinking about the Essential Understanding of each cluster


  • an opportunity for open inquiry as children gather information through first-hand observations, experimentation, and problem solving
  • children direct their exploration of materials, resources, and ideas to connect to both the Big Idea and the Essential Understandings
  • offers photos and descriptions of what children might do, and highlights what you might Watch For as you observe children at work


  • offers vignettes to illustrate how questions can help to guide and deepen children’s thinking and extend their inquiry in different directions
  • models how to start with children’s current interests or explorations and focuses on ways to extend the experiences to give children opportunities to
  • observe more closely
  • research topics of interest in more depth
  • plan and conduct experiments to test ideas and theories
  • communicate their learning and questions to their classmates or an extended audience

Inquiry Circles Meet

  • a time when children come together to share and collaborate on their learning
  • a discussion that focuses on contributing and improving ideas, resolving problems, exchanging and building knowledge, sharing questions, and establishing next steps

Invitations to Inquire

  • experiences that engage and invite children into the inquiry process and guide them toward deeper thinking
  • invite children to commit to a topic and develop questions before proceeding further in the inquiry process
  • you choose, adapt, and extend these experiences based on the needs, interests, and input of children to promote a responsive flow between open and guided inquiry
  • integrated, holistic, organic learning is at the root of these experiences as children bring and develop skills and knowledge within

Wrapping Up an Inquiry

  • suggestions for inviting children to reflect on their experiences and learning through discussion and/or writing
  • suggestions for a culminating activity that communicates and/or consolidates learning, often but not always engaging an extended audience

Choices and Decisions

  • dotted lines on the unit map indicate choice, reinforcing that planning is
  • responsive and flexible
  • inquiry does not follow a linear path but is fluid and responsive to the questions
  • and interests of the children and the curricular demands of your region


The Explorations 1 Website

Explorations 1 offers a website to extend the use of the resource. There you will find a dedicated section for each of the units of inquiry that includes

  • customizable Line Masters to support your use of the resource in your classroom
  • lists of relevant children’s books
  • additional technology activities and links
  • a list of professional resources that we and other educators have found valuable over time

This logo appears in the pages of Explorations 1 to direct you to the website. You will see it when a specific Line Master is suggested for an activity or experience, when there is an opportunity for online exploration to support or extend an activity, or when an additional technology activity is available to extend the classroom experience. You can get to the website by scanning the QR code on the back cover with your smart phone.

Explorations 2 - Resource Overview

Coming Soon