Saturday, 4 April 2015

'The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery' - Mark Van Doren

There have been meteorologists, inventors, entomologists, horticulturists and environmentalists at Brambles this second half of the spring term!  The role play area was changed weekly to keep up with all the different areas of discovery over the past five weeks!

It started off with Miss Emma and her group of meteorologists who turned the role play area into an outside area and each day the weather and seasons changed. Monday it was autumn with sun, showers, umbrellas, hedgehogs and squirrels followed on Tuesday that had turned into winter with snow and warm clothes to put on.  Wednesday saw the season change to spring with the sun shining, rainy showers and flowers with gardening implements and seeds to plant.  By Thursday is was summer complete with sunshine, deckchairs, sunglasses and sun cream!

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The second week, Miss Michelle stayed outside in the 'wooded area' complete with grass, tree bark and a variety of insects (plastic) complete with magnifying glasses, and check lists to enable the entomologists amongst the children!  Miss Michelle's group also had a fun snack that week or 'dirt and worms' (chocolate Angel Delight, crushed Oreo biscuits and a gummy worm) and some of the children were really unsure about eating them!

Miss Clare turned the role play area into a workshop with a tool box and various objects to 'fix', 'mend' and 'invent' alongside the old fashioned typewriter to type up the invoices and ideas for those children who wished to become inventors. On the small world table was a collection of loose parts where the children were left to their own devices to invent, create and discover.  The children really enjoyed this table and came up with some fantastic creations!

'A bee and beehouse' (red bottle top and mini pegs for the beehive) & a face using assorted parts

The 'potting shed' was the next theme for the role play for the budding horticulturists complete with pots, seeds (black eyed peas), compost (coffee flavoured playdough), flowers (fake) and watering can as well as seed packets to design their own plant or vegetable with Miss Sallie.  Miss Sallie's group also took a walk down to the local garden centre to choose some seeds and bulbs to plant back at Brambles later on that week.



The fifth and final week saw Miss Joan and her team of environmentalists learn how to look after the environment by recycling in the 'Brambles recycling centre' (role play area) and composting the uneaten food from snack times in the outdoor compost bin.

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EYFS Links
Planning these types of real life experiences are important in early years.  It encourages active learning through real life situations through investigation and play.  Brambles staff have an important role during these types of play and experiences. Each member of staff ensures interactions in developing, supporting and monitoring each child's development through scaffolding and supporting each child's learning.
  • Teacher scaffolding to support learning:
    • facilitating e.g. modelling strategies
    • collaborating as a learning partner e.g.negotiating learning experiences
    • making learning explicit e.g.verbalising thinking aloud
    • building connections e.g.linking prior knowledge to new knowledge
    • extending children's thinking to develop deeper understanding e.g. questioning
These are the types of scaffolding that Brambles staff provide to move children towards their Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky).

"Early childhood can be a time of delight, discovery and wonder. Central to the EYFS is an uncompromising view of the child as capable of co-constructing knowledge and understanding."

"Using a social constructivist approach, early childhood educators make decisions about co-constructing learning based on the recognition that:
  • learning takes place in authentic and real-world situations
  • learning involves initiation, negotiation and mediation
  • content and skill development is understood within the framework of the child’s prior knowledge
  • learning is assessed formatively, with the child actively involved in the process educators facilitate and encourage multiple perspectives and representations of realities and futures."

"Learning which engages and challenges children’s thinking using real-life and imaginary situations." 

Opportunities for learning are presented via:

  • spontaneous play
  • planned, purposeful play
  • investigating and exploring
  • events and life experiences
  • focused learning and teaching
"..supported when necessary through sensitive intervention to support or extend learning. All areas of the curriculum can be enriched and developed through play."

Play is especially important in early childhood education. It provides opportunities for children to
  • express and test themselves and their ideas,
  • make decisions, 
  • solve problems, 
  • explore, 
  • negotiate,
  • learn to regulate their own behaviour and that of others

"Early learning needs to be rich, contextualised, developmentally appropriate and connected to young people's worlds and their community experiences."

  • the importance of building on the child's prior learning experiences, 
  • knowledge and 
  • skills 
  • in close partnership with families. 
  • The role of hands on learning experiences through play is central for children to develop an understanding of themselves as learners and of the world in which they live.

    The Spring term has come to an end and the children were all looking forward to some family time over the Easter / Spring break.  Over the two weeks at home, the children and their families were encouraged to see if they can find and bring back to Brambles their spring treasures to share with staff and their friends. 
      Something fuzzy
    Something straight
    Something smooth
    Something rough
    A chewed leaf
    A beautiful rock
    A piece of man made litter
    Something round
    Something that makes a noise
    Something you think is beautiful

The summer term starts back with a fun packed week of  'Celebrate good times, come on let's celebrate!' followed by five weeks of 'Near, far, where ever you are' where the children will be looking into our local and wider communities.

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