Wednesday, 22 October 2014

DIWALI ART


Today is Diwali. I thought it would be fun to introduce the children to the story of Rama and Sita. I told the children a simple version of the story while the were working on the Rangoli pattern pictured below. We used a little Diwali board book to familiarise ourselves with key Diwali images.


I bought this stencil from a charity shop earlier in the summer with Diwali in mind. The idea is to use a quarter section,turn it and then redo the same section. This will make a symmetrical pattern. We cheated though and just used it as one pattern.
Little "L" did this blue design all by herself after helping make the joint pattern!


This wa the Rangoli that everyone worked on together!


We spent some time at the park as well today and took the mandala maker and chalks so that we could draw some patterns outside in the sun!



Everyone took a turn and after watching the pthers, even little "M" worked out where she needed to draw!

LEARNING INTENTIONS AND IDEAS FOR EXTENDING LEARNING: 
  • To introduce the children to a cultural festival that is celebrated in India. To help them learn about life and traditions outside of their own community and experience some of the traditional activities and stories.
NEXT STEPS: 
    • The Rangoli patterns were very much enjoyed. I would like to continue this style of art by offering similar activities. Maybe collage style using dried lentils and beans on a paper plate. I will look for some mandala patterns to print out and place in the drawing caddy.
    • Explore symmetrical patterns using mirrors with the children.
    • Offer "M" some play with mirrors so that she can start to experience reflection and repeating patterns.

    CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE LEARNING:

    The children had a great time working together to make one large piece of art. They shared the pencils, asked to swap pencils, talked about colours they were using. They were actively learning and showed high levels of concentration and engagement. By telling the the story to the children as they coloured, it helped the children to listen. Many children learn well when they are actively doing. So by working on this pattern they found it much easier to listen to the story of Rama and Sita and take in the details.
    They were so happy to see their large Rangoli patterns cut out and displayed in the playroom and excited to share the colour and beauty in the park as they created them on the tarmac. They were proud of themselves and the others who had worked with them to create the finished art!


    Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
    • Personal, Social and Emotional
    • Communication and language
    • Physical Development
    • Literacy
    • Mathematics 
    • Expressive Art and Design
    • Understanding the world.


    Wednesday, 8 October 2014

    WHAT'S THE TIME MR WOLF?

    Wednesdays are a great day here. I have all my pre-schoolers together and we can enjoy some older play and activities.
    This is just one example of a child initiated and child led game that happened this week. The children talked to each other and decided together that this is what they wanted to do. They worked out who took on what role and even agreed to 2 wolves at one point!


    They shouted out the time and "X" took the corresponding number of steps towards them. After a couple of goes, he worked out that he should take smaller steps so  that he had a better chance of running away!


    DINNER TIME!!!


    Then they swapped roles and started all over again.



    RUN AWAY!!


    LEARNING INTENTIONS AND IDEAS FOR EXTENDING LEARNING: 
    • This observation was to note how X, L and I interact with each other and initiate their own play ideas. How they work out the small details of their games and work through disagreements.
    NEXT STEPS: 
      • Teach them some other simple games that they can play without adult interventions. Such as Simon Says, Hot Potato, Red light Green light.
      CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE LEARNING:

      All three children were trying to agree on a game to play. There was discussions and clear views as to why they each wanted to go with their own ideas. They used persuasive reasoning to talk the others around. This shows good critical thinking skills. Having their own ideas and planning their play, Eventually they came up with a new idea and all jumped up to play. There was a little chat about who would be the wolf and it was agreed that "X" could have this role first, as he is good at being a tiger and can roar! This would be good for a wolf too! This was a fantastic example of working together to make decisions, solve problems and achieve their goal.
      This came was played several times over and each time someone was caught, they happily changed roles. They adapted the rules to suit their own play. The girls wanted to stay together so at times there were 2 wolves telling the time. They maintained focus on their chosen game and showed a high level of energy and interest.


      Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
      • Personal, Social and Emotional
      • Communication and language
      • Physical Development
      • Mathematical


      AUTUMN FUN IN THE OUTDOOR KITCHEN.

      The outdoor kitchen area is still a big hit with each child who attends this setting. We are currently enjoying a very mild Autumn and thankfully we can keep the back door open which really does encourage the free flow play that I love to offer.
      Little "I" and "L" are using this area and enjoying being able to incorporate some of our Autumn treasures that we have collected. We also found some weeds and small pea plants that we thought would be nice to include.


      Little "X" was keen to transfer water from the water tray and bring it back to the kitchen for the girls potion.


      The children used a number of skills in this play. Working together, sharing the resources, mixing, lifting large heavy pots.
      The language that came out of this play was wonderful. There was a lot of cooperative, idea sharing. The children listened to each other and took on board what others were saying.



      Little "L" seemed to be head cook and the other children came and went with cool ingredients that they had foraged from the garden.


      This is easily the best resource I have made for my setting. I am really looking forwards to seeing how it is used in the winter. With a bit of luck we might just get some snow. that would be a cool material to use!



      LEARNING INTENTIONS AND IDEAS FOR EXTENDING LEARNING: 
      • Natural play session outside. Enjoying fresh air, using imaginations and exercising our bodies.
      • Make observations to help plan further play experiences.
      NEXT STEPS: 
        • Use the observations made and us them to plan further play activities for the children.
        • Provide more outdoor play activities to build on this cooperative play that the children showed today. Outdoors seems to be a good place for this to happen as there is more space for the children to move in and less chance of individuals feeling cornered or threatened in their play.
        CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE LEARNING:

        "L" was very keen to spend her time mixing and creating her potion. She was happy for the other children in the setting to join her and add items to the pot. She maintained focus on her play for a long time and was not easily distracted,
        "I" came and went in this activity. She dipped in and out, spending some time doing her own thing, such as using the water tray, building a bridge of loose parts and painting pebbles with a paint brush and water. 
        "X" happily selected his own role in this activity. He is very much in to transferring and moving objects. Water in particular is a favorite. He enjoys watching how it moves as it pours from one pot to another and often holds a hand under the stream so that he can feel it fall on his fingers and watch as they disrupt the stream. He was very content to run back and forth with pots to refill "L"'s large potion pot. He also asked me to fill the sink with bubbly water so he could wash the dishes!

        Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
        • Personal, Social and Emotional
        • Communication and language
        • Physical Development
        • Expressive Art and Design
        • Understanding the world

        AUTUMN WRITING ACTIVITY

        The older children in my setting are getting very good at writing their own names now. We started off with tracing over name cards and then moved on to independent writing. They are now asking to write new words. I try and use words relevant to their interests or the season we are in. I printed off some Autumn word sheets this week and lay them out on the kitchen table with some colouring sheets, pencils, plain paper and stickers. They all asked to do the writing first!


        Little "X" is working on his pencil grip and we are doing different activities like threading and tweezer activities to try and improve his pencil grip. He recognises many letters and is attempting to sound out words because of this but writing is quite tricky for him.


        Little "L" has been working on her colouring and does really well at staying in the lines. She has very good pencil control  now. We are going to start working on following a line from left to write across a page and work with some horizontal waves, zig zags and bump lines to practice the movements needed to form letters easily.



        LEARNING INTENTIONS AND IDEAS FOR EXTENDING LEARNING: 
        • To work on pencil control and letter formation.
        • To assess what stage the children are at in their early writing skills and how to support their progression/ plan for next steps.
        NEXT STEPS: 
          • More tweezer activities and threading for X. Also more large controlled movement for his arms and hands. Writing large letters outside with chalk. 
          • I will purchase some triangular pencil grips which might help "X" to hold his pencils in a more effective way for writing and drawing.
          • Offering "L" some activities where she starts to make common letter shapes. Spirals in a clockwise motion. Waves and bumps across a page and working left to right.

          CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE LEARNING:

          The children chose the Autumn worksheets from a selection of materials available to them. The self selection of this activity meant that they were engaged and interested from the onset. They had a desire to write each word and colour in the pictures. They had set their own challenge to achieve and this motivated them.
          "X" allowed me to re-position his pencil for him a few time s and you could see that he really wanted to learn to hold it in an easier way. He self corrected a few times which showed that he was able to continue with an activity even when it challenged him and that he could seek solutions for himself. Showing a strong "can do" attitude.
          "X" recognised many of the letters as he wrote them and even linked some of them to familiar words.
          "L" recognised significant letters such as "L" for her name or "E" for her brothers name.


          Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
          • Personal, Social and Emotional
          • Communication and language
          • Physical Development
          • Literacy

          LOOSE PART BRIDGE!


          I have recently added some old car tyres and wooden decking squares to the play area outside. I am not sure how the children will use them and feeling quite excited to find out.

          As we played outside I brought the tyres on to the patio and started to lay them on their sides. "I" started to pull them in to a line. She told me they could be a bridge. I said I had something that might make a good top to a bridge and fetched the planks.

          "I" worked at lifting them one by one and trying to get them to balance on the tyres. I helped her to turn them so that they were resting on their wooden beam rather than the uneven edge. This made them more stable.

          Very quickly Little "M" climbed on top of the tyres and planks and started to crawl along it.



          "I" started to walk along the bridge she had made. Starting at one end and working her way along it.


          She used her arms stretched out on either side to hold her balance. She told me that she can now balance along the beams at the park by herself.



          LEARNING INTENTIONS AND IDEAS FOR EXTENDING LEARNING: 
          • Offer loose parts in the garden to see how the children use them. How do they use them to enhance their play?
          • Make observations to help plan further play experiences.
          NEXT STEPS: 
            • Use the observations made and us them to plan further play activities for the children.
            CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE LEARNING:

            "I" showed a keen sense of exploration when offered these loose parts. She knew what she wanted to make and tried hard to role the tyres in to place. She was flexible in her thoughts and happily took on my suggestion to add the planks as a walk way. She showed me where she wanted them to be laced and together we aligned them so that they were safe to walk on. She was engaged in her play and was finding out about how items could be used. Motivated by her own curiosity and imagination. Was was keen to try out her bridge once built and happy to share it with little "M".


            Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas:
            • Personal, Social and Emotional
            • Communication and language
            • Physical Development
            • Expressive Art and Design
            • Understanding the world

            Monday, 6 October 2014

            HALLOWEEN EYFS ACTIVITY PACK AND TOPIC PLANS!


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            Thursday, 18 September 2014

            INTRODUCING MICHAELMAS!

            Dragon Bread for Michaelmas.



            I have heard of Michaelmas in the past but never really known anything about it or realised what fun I have been missing! After reading lots of Waldorf Steiner books and Blogs from families who were looking forward to their Michaelmas celebrations, I thought I would give it a go!
            Michaelmas is celebrated on the 29th September and is the feast of St Michael the Archangel. It falls nicely with the start of Autumn, the end of Harvest and the day’s becoming shorter. We tell the story of how Lucifer was banished from Heaven and thrown out by Michael. Lucifer fell to earth and landed in a blackberry bush. Because of this we should not pick Blackberries after this date, as it is said that he cursed the brambles he fell in. Even if you are not very religious, the story is one of good winning over evil and all children seem to love stories like this!
            So on the week of Michaelmas, we colour and paint pictures of St Michael slaying a Dragon (the image portrays good defeating evil), Look at the Bible story of Michael throwing Lucifer out of Heaven and also read about St George and the Dragon. Being English, this is a nice reminder of our patron saint! We have Dragon dressing up out and the children enjoy much Dragon slaying! 


            The children all look forward to the highlight of our week…. Baking the Dragon bread!
             It is wonderful for strengthening the muscles in the children’s little fingers as they kneed the bread dough and shape it in to a dragon. Fine motor skills are improved as they add the delicate fine details to their Dragons, using raisins for the eyes and sunflower seeds for the spikes and claws!


            You can make fresh bread dough from scratch with the children and use it as an opportunity for mathematical language and investigation as you follow the recipe and measure out the ingredients! Using language such as more and less. Lighter and heavier.  We also talk about why we must wash our hands before we cook and touch on good food hygiene and how germs can make us poorly.
            Once the dough has been worked and left to rise you can break it up in to separate balls for each child to work with. The dough is stretchy and fun to use. We often have many creations before the final Dragons are created. The children talk about how their dragons are going to look. Sharing their ideas and talking about the size of his wings or claws. No two Dragons are ever the same!

            This activity can be altered to accommodate children with wheat allergies by using a bread mix that is gluten free.

            Once the Dragons have all been made, place them on a greased baking tray in a pre-heated oven at 220C/425F/Gas 7 for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

            This activity covers the following Prime and Specific areas of the EYFS:
            • Physical Development
            • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
            • Communication and Language
            • Literacy
            • Mathematics
            • Creative Art and Design
            • Understanding the World.


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