Term 6 in the Tigger Room
Being outdoors can be an exciting sensory experience in the early years and the past few weeks have been the perfect time to explore and learn in our outdoor learning environment, which is why we have introduced Monday mornings being dedicated to outdoor learning.
Because children like to imitate adults, the mud kitchen has proven to be a favourite. I can imagine many parents’ flinch at the thought of their child getting plastered in mud, but mud really is considered a fantastic sensory resource. Having been handed a "mint-choc chip ice cream", garnished with a sprig of fresh mint, I had to admire the children’s creativity and imagination. It was lovely to see children’s imaginations being stimulated by the objects around them, away from the constraints and confinement of indoor play. As you can imagine, the staff are never hungry!!
Term 6 has seen the children learning through stories. I can hear you ask, what learning? Well stories play a vital role in children’s growth and development, and influence learning in many ways. For instance; stories introduce new words and ideas into children’s language, encourage listening and speaking skills as well as improve concentration.
During the previous weeks we have used storytelling in a very interactive way, encouraging children’s curiosity and encouraging them to ask questions because this makes the children think. Children learn to associate images in the book with the story and this develops their visualisation capacity and imagination.
Learning through stories
It has been lovely and sometimes amusing to watch and listen to children’s play which is often stimulated by the objects around them. Relating to the story ‘The Three Little Pigs’, the children worked in collaboration retelling and acting out the plot, the dead grass under the climbing frame was quickly made into a house of straw, while another child found sticks. Which then left them with a problem, what could they use for bricks? The problem was quickly solved, as a house of bricks was quickly built by a one child using playdough.
Another popular story has been ‘The Gingerbread Man’. The children scavenged in the garden for ingredients to make a Gingerbread Man, mixing and kneading the resources together before placing in their oven. Imagine their surprise and squeals of delight when opening the oven door they found real gingerbread men. Each child then took their gingerbread man on a journey, meeting various characters before running away shouting “run, run as fast as you can. You can’t catch me. I’m the gingerbread man”. The children were thrilled by the chase. On meeting the sly fox at the river (a large tray of water), the children were faced with the decision, how to cross. Deciding to cross with the help of sly fox was a fatal mistake for the gingerbread man, but clearly a highlight as the children gobbled their gingerbread men. One child excitedly told me “we were all foxes, we runned after the gingerbread man”.
Creative storytelling has been the basis for us in exploring different activities, a big hit was Gingerbread man BINGO. This fun game assisted in nurturing children’s ability to focus and lengthen their attention span as well as maths skills; matching/recognising numerals 1-6. As well as using different techniques such as story stones, puppets, sequencing story cards and acting in helping the children to recall the plot and characters.
So remember w,hen your child tells you they "just played", remember children are constantly learning through play without realising.
It's not "just playing"(but it is fun)!
To support our interactive story telling we had a visit from a storyteller. The children enjoyed learning about a dog called Pojo who went on an adventure to Costa Rica. Exploring the rainforest the children learnt about the animals, and how the destruction of the forests are affecting the animal’s homes. A highpoint for the children was producing their own puppets enabling them to interact with the story.
It is quickly approaching for many children in the Tigger room an end to learning at Vorda Preschool. Although this is a sad time, it is also exciting. Staff are committed to ensuring children have a positive transition into school. For that reason, this term we have been preparing the older children for their transition into school by talking about which schools they are going to and doing lots of activities in preparation for big school. Please remember it is not about assessing his/her academic skills. It is about helping him/her to develop positive self-esteem and confidence. A positive disposition will promote a child’s readiness for school.
The children had a BIG surprise arrive in the post, a letter from Kensington Palace. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex sent the children a thank you note and wedding photograph, as you can imagine the children were delighted their hard word had been acknowledged.
For children leaving, one big task has been preparing for the leavers assembly. The children’s fascination with the story ‘The Three Little Pigs’ was a big surprise to the staff, and resulted in the original leavers play being scraped and replaced. Never let it be said we don’t follow the children’s interests!
To this traditional tale we have added percussion sound effects and catchy songs and chants. So catchy, we can often here Miss Buttery singing “ha ha ha, he he he, three little pigs are we we we…” I’m sure you will agree this story telling activity has been a wonderful way for the children to explore sounds and effects of different instruments, and a fun way for them all to be involved in the story. I would like to add all the children chose their parts, with surprisingly no fall outs. I’m sure parents who attend the leavers assembly will agree, the children have worked extremely hard. Well done to our budding actors and musicians!!