Early years education is a time of awe and wonder. The smells, sights and touch of objects are all around and something that young children use to understand the world around them. Providing authentic learning experiences with real life objects can greatly enhance children in all areas of the curriculum. Using food and tools for grating, peeling and cutting can enhance children’s fine motor skills, perception of size and communication with others as they talk about the experience. Learning new skills and using tools that are unfamiliar to children can be challenging for them and daunting for adults observing. Treating each child as a strong and capable learner can provide them with the ‘can do attitude’ that moves them forwards in their learning and provides children with the ability to persevere when they can not achieve their goals immediately. It is fantastic to see the children following a process, with the beginning being the inspiration of the school goats. Children have been thinking about the foods that goats can eat, preparing goat food using a range of kitchen tools and then observing the goats eating. This process allows children to provide meaning to their learning, whilst learning new skills and being an important part of the nursery community.
As a teacher in EY1A, I have observed the changes and progress in all the children in our class in relation to confidence and expression in front of an audience. To see the EY1A children now having built confidence and other layered skills to be able to role play has been truly rewarding. Besides being enormous fun for children, role play is a vital component in the cognitive, communicative, emotional, and physical development of children in the early years. EY1A educators understand the need to model role playing and by our example provide opportunities for children to absorb social conventions, language, and other nuances. Our team continually encourages children to have a go themselves to build and consolidate their observations into experiential knowledge and understanding. A love of literacy, language and communication can be enriched, practicing various expressions and feelings, important in developing interaction with others, and forming solid relationships. Role play is a wonderful channel for children to discover and try out new scenarios and therefore develop critical thinking and problem solving too.
During indoor discovery, children were unable to contain their excitement to plant "little seeds" in the flower beds, covering them with fresh soil and watering them. Where does the little seed like to live? Before finding a home for them, we decided to get to know the little seeds. Through observing the shape of the small seeds, touching the hard shell and smelling the fresh scent, the children noticed the many differences and began wondering what each one would grow into…
This week children have observed different parts of several flowers using a microscope. The children compared Roses, Daisies, Blossom, Osmanthus, Billy Ball and Carnation using a digital microscope, discovering the components of a flower. Some children wanted to cut the flowers to look at a cross section of each flower and to see the structure inside. Children took photographs of their discoveries for our botany book.
After the theme of exploration, children soon found new interests and started inquiry-based learning projects. Our new project came from a question posed by a child about animals living in the cold regions of the north and south. With the development of children's abilities and exploration in class, we decided to explore the study of large cats in class. Each area provides resources to encourages children's cognitive development. Children are confident and focus on their favourite area, trying, exploring, and learning. They gain success and joy by overcoming difficulties and summarising the experience through their own perspective and in-depth study.