The journey of project learning begins on a unique path, full of surprises to challenge and unfold. It is the irreplaceable scenery along the way which makes us proud and cherish what we have experienced. It is the beauty of project learning.
Children have an innate desire to be curious, discover the new and be creative in solving problems. Using independent exploration, peer discussion and mutual support, children begin to unravel new and familiar understandings. To progress to the next stage of learning, the children will collect information via field trips, observations, or references from relative graphic information or books. Additionally, an important key to finding these solutions and ways of facing the challenges is by inviting experts who inspire us by supporting us with their professional skills and knowledge.
As the understanding of project learning of the members of our learning community continues to deepen, members of our learning community, experts or co-explorers emerge and share their passion around the current learning investigations with children. When our EY2U children were exploring how to build a pet hospital, a friend who has an animal research background brought new ideas and relevant professional suggestions to the children's questions that emerged in the process of learning and exploration. While EY3U children tried to build a goat pen, our parents volunteered to work with children, supporting them with their knowledge of using various tools. In the flower shop, a floriculture expert shares beautiful floriculture workshops with children. In the sewing area, an expert on costume design paves the way for children's dream of fashion design. We are appreciative and honoured that our parents and families are experts who are involved in children’s daily learning life, enhancing the school learning environment to be more meaningful and authentic.
We are establishing a wider community of learners that involves more experts and voices from professionals. We look forward to seeing and hearing about the learning narrative from your perspective. If you are interested in being a co-explorer along the way to exploring the world, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Children in EY1 have been showing more and more interest in the Gingerbread Man story. They read the book with teachers and use props to re-enact the story. Parents also participated in bringing the story to life through real world experiences sharing their expertise as bakers in making gingerbread men cookies. We shared in a whole-body sensory experience through touching the different ingredients, smelling their different smells, observing the process through seeing the cookies ‘grow’ as they baked and the best part of all – tasting our hard work! It is always such a joy to share our meaningful nursery experiences with our families and foster a strong partnership in learning.
After our swimming pool activity in October, children in EY2A gradually began to bring different toys into the classroom to determine which ones were able to float or sink. Why are some toys able to float on water but others gradually sink or even disappear?" With our children’s thoughts and ideas recorded, we were able to recognize four key questions for further investigation and exploration. Working socially and collaboratively, children then worked with different media and materials to design and build their own boats. We cannot wait to see our boats in action and to see which one will be able to drift the furthest without sinking.
We have continued to explore plants with the children in EY3A. They have been especially interested in food preparation using ingredients that come from plants, such as fruits, vegetables, and seeds. We have extended this interest by expanding our kitchen area, incorporating real-world materials such as real dishes and utensils, simple appliances, and recycled food cartons. We have even been able to make different foods in class with the children, including fruit salad, chocolate dipped fruit, and snow crisp. The colder weather has also brought about opportunities to observe nature and how our outdoor space changes as the year progresses. While some of our plants have wilted in the cold, others have grown and thrived. Some of our winter vegetables are ready to be eaten; other plants are continuing to grow and will soon need larger containers.
Intentional Mathematics learning is carefully planned for and ‘planted’ all around our nursery. During the recent winter festivities in EY4A, our children actively participated in memorable ways to measure the height of our Christmas tree. Different sized shapes, blocks and other items were carefully placed next to each other, covering the full length of the tree to determine the exact measurement.
Through talks with our friends in EY3Unit, we were all curious about the weight of Little Diamond and Elsa, the Huili Goats and we were keen to find out which one would be the heaviest. Through research and reading up about various suggestions on weighing different kinds of animals, the book “Animal Weighing” had the strategies and ideas we were looking for. Being confident after our research and feeling like true ‘experts’ on the topic of weighing animals, we were able to provide a full report to the children in the EY3Unit. We were able to provide various first-hand suggestions for them to weigh their own animals in future.