As we are staying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, being creative with the activities we plan for our children and learners can be tricky! Learning through play (Natural Environment; NET) can be very beneficial for our children and ensuring we embed valuable skills within those activities is crucial. Typically we learn through our interaction with the environment and with other people. In early education, teachers may set up activities that are designed to expose their learners to a specific concept, generalise acquired skills or support social skills. Developmental disorders can impact a learners ability to learn from the natural environment. Within an Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) approach, educators use a variety of Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT; Table work) and Natural Environment Teaching (NET; play based) activities. DTT enables teaching to focus on a high number of learning opportunities around language, academic and cognitive tasks. NET focuses on teaching a variety of skills through naturally occurring events or activities, for instance meal times or other routines, community trips or play. NET teaching has been shown to be an effective approach to teaching skills (Hart Risley (1968); McGee, et al (1983); Rosales-Ruiz & Baer (1997); Welch & Pear (1980)).
Hart, B. M., & Risley, T. R. (1968). Establishing use of descriptive adjectives in the spontaneous speech of disadvantaged preschool children. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1(2), 109-120.
McGee, G. G., Krantz, P. J., Mason, D., & McClannahan, L. E. (1983). A modified incidental-teaching procedure for autistic youth: acquisition and generalisation of receptive object labels. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 16(3), 329-338.
Rosales-Ruiz, J., & Baer, D. M.(1997) Behavioral cusps: A developmental and pragmatic concept for behaviour analysis, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 30(3), 533-544.
Welch, S. J. & Pear, J. J. (1980). Generalisation of naming responses to objects in the natural environment as a function of training stimulus modality with retarded children, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 13(4), 629-643.