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.