The children collected leaves, grass and flowers from the garden and made arrangements with them on clear tacky back paper. We used the opportunity to introduce the children to key words to describe the flowers: “petals, stalk, leaf and pistil.” The children were given digital microscopes to observe the flowers more closely. They began to make comparisons between the experiences. The practitioners then took the activity inside and placed the tacky back on top of a table to create a different perspective. They noticed that the children displayed an interest in the different smells. The children were then able to combine and transform scents of a range of natural materials such as flowers, herbs, fruits and essences.
Weight and Capacity
The children have been displaying an interest in filling and emptying as they investigated weight and transferring materials. The children attempted to lift a variety of differently sized bowls.. The children developed their problem solving skills as they emptied sand from the containers, making each bowl lighter and easier to carry. The practitioners introduced a pulley system within the sandpit. Scales and tubing were also added for the children to develop their understanding of weight, capacity and velocity.
The Under 3s children have been taking part in the RSPB bird watch. They have used binoculars to spot birds and looked at information books to identify the birds that visit our garden. The children are using their bodies to explore how the birds move and practitioners have introduced bird yoga.
Inside the children have been investigating the various ways they can mark make. They explored spinning objects and how they can create marks with them.
The children have also being using microscopes to investigate vegetables in closer detail. The children have been making comparisons between what they observe and their experiences.
Practitioners have introduced the artist Cy Twombly and Wassily Kandinsky. The children have been encouraged to create their own interpretations of their paintings.
The children have been making close observations of cabbages. They have begun to find various ways to deconstruct and reconstruct the cabbages.
Your junk is our treasure - we would be grateful to receive donations of: pots and pans, biscuit cutters, cooking utensils, TV remotes, telephones, mirrors, calculators, egg cartons, costume jewellery – bracelets and necklaces.
Teaching and Learning
The children have been exploring the tree in the garden. They have been using digital cameras to take images of the tree from different perspectives. Practitioners also introduced paper and pencils for the children to make representations of the tree. The children’s images were projected on to the cube, this inspired them to reflect and talk about the images they had created. Practitioners have taken the children to Hartington Park to collect leaves. They explored and used these leaves in a variety of ways. The children appear to tune into the sound of the dry and crispy leaves created. Practitioners introduced films of weather and explored how the trees moved. They offered them natural resources such as logs, moss and leaves, so they children could recreate what they could see.
The investigation of spiders has continued; the children have used a range of media and materials to create spider webs in the willow tunnel. Practitioners have also introduced digital microscopes and encouraged children to pay attention to detail and talk about what they can see. They have been given opportunities to make representations of the spiders and webs. Practitioners have offered a wide variety of resources such as glue, paint, string, and wool. The children are beginning to make links in their experiences as they use glue and paint to create sticky spider webs
Practitioners have been taking children on weekly visits to Hartington Park.
The children have been exploring the space and using digital cameras to take photos of what interests them. We have put up the children’s photographs and thought about some questions we could research. We have put up these questions on the park side of the fence for park users to read and consider.
Spiders and Webs
The children have been showing an interest in spiders, so we have been taking the children on spider hunts in the garden. We spent a long period of time trying to find spiders in different areas of the garden. Practitioners have spoken about how strong webs are and the sizes and various colours of the spiders and what they eat.
Practitioners offered the children pencils and paper to draw what they had observed; they made representations and gave meaning to their marks. "Spider web...Big spider!"
Practitioners have begun to introduce other media and materials such as wire, glue and string for children to develop their interests and find others ways of investigating spider webs.
Practitioners and children have been exploring the properties of clay. They first investigated the clay dry and used their senses to explore the weight and hard bumpy surface. The children then problem solved the various ways they could break down the clay.
Practitioners then introduced spray water bottles for the children to discover what would happen when they added water.
The children showed awe and wonder as they explored the clay. They have shown an interest in exploring the various ways they can make marks in the clay.
Practitioners have introduced natural resources they found on the nature walks.
Children have pressed leaves and conkers into the clay and observed the marks and patterns they can create. They extended their exploration by experimenting with different shaped and sized leaves.
The children have been showing an interest in the concept of gravity. We used rice and tubing to explore this area of learning. The children enjoyed exploring the sounds the rice created as they dropped it from various heights. The children explored cause and effect as they spent time tipping the tube up and down to make the rice come out. Practitioners continued the children’s exploration of speed and height in the paddling pool by rolling balls down various size tubes and observing the splash the balls created.
Practitioners and children have continued their exploration of nature; they have been harvesting herbs and vegetables from the growing garden. They have used them to create dressings and tea and spinach muffins. Practitioners are beginning to use technology to further develop the children’s investigations by introducing the projector and digital microscopes.
The children have been exploring water and air. They have explored tubes, sponges and plungers and the various ways they can create bubbles. They have talked about how they looked and felt. They developed their problem solving skills as they tried to release the plungers from the bottom of the water tray.
The Reggio Approach
The children have been exploring the theme of nature. Practitioners have offered cabbages for the children to investigate. They initially used their senses to explore how they looked, felt and smelt. Some children were particularly interested in the layers of the cabbage; as they spent time carefully pulling off the leaves. They described how the inside of the cabbage looked, “I can see a snake.” They were offered a range of tools to enable them to develop their investigations. The children used cameras to take photos of the cabbages from their perspective.
They were then offered paper and pencils to document the cabbages from their own point of view; this has allowed practitioners a deeper insight into what the children’s interests are, as the children focused on size, patterns and the colour of the cabbages. They soon discovered that the red cabbages could leave marks or patterns. They then manipulated the cabbages in various ways to create marks. Practitioners have offered flowers and onions to further develop the children’s curiosity and investigations. Practitioners have found that the children are approaching these materials in a similar way. They have valued individual children’s ideas and have shared this with a wider group of children. E.g. by making arrangements with flowers.
Sian and parent volunteers have had a focus on the garden. The children have been taught how to care for the plants and what they need to grow. The garden has developed and we now have sweetcorn, strawberries, a range of herbs and some daffodils thriving.