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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           36 pages of clear activity ideas, links to EYFS and ideas to extend learning.
          Colouring pages and activity sheets included.
          All this for just £4.35! 

          All you need is a paypal account and to register with TPT which takes less than 2 minutes!

          Download your pack here!



          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.


          Monday, 15 September 2014

          EYR PLAYCOLOR SOLID PAINTS- PRODUCT REVIEW


          Early Years Resources asked me to try out some new solid paints that they now stock. We very much looked forward to them arriving as painting is something that all the children in my setting enjoy. These were particularly appealing as they would not take long to set up and use so could be brought out at times that I would have normally said no to  painting due to time restrains. The set available to buy at EYR can be found here for £8.50.

          The product description on the site describes them as "Waterbased, solid poster paint with high covering power. Can be used on paper, card and wood. Clean and easy to apply - no water or brushes required. Does not wrinkle paper and dries quickly to a give a silky, smooth finish. Age; 3 years+ (small parts)."

          We introduced the paints to the toddlers. The description does say not suitable for under 3 year but that is true of most paints on the market. With supervision I find that the babies enjoy painting or at least exploring the paints as much as the older children. The toddlers do enjoy picking at the paints with their nails and trying to eat them. Once you get past this fascination and spend some time modeling how to use them, they very quickly pick up the idea of pushing them across the paper.



          The older children found them easy to twist and make the paint pop up. They are used to using glue sticks so this is a familiar and well practiced skill for them. 

           

          The paints work well and feel a lot like drawing with a Lipstick! Creamy and smooth. The skill is actually very different to painting so although these are marketed as paints, I would say that they are somewhere between paints and pastels.
          The different sets I received to test all had their own merits. The Metallic set are our favorites. They worked especially well on black paper and we look forward to using them for Fireworks paintings around November 5th.
          The fluorescent set worked better on white paper. The colour is not as strong but they make a nice change to the primary colours that we often paint with.
          The 2 sets of Primary colours that we received were fantastic on white paper and the two sizes were fun to have. Like using a thinner brush and a thicker one!
          The thicker size worked especially well with the younger children. They seemed a bit more robust!


          They washed well off of our clothes, the oil cloth on my table and the children's hands. I even tested the purple on my kitchen wall and after an hour it wiped off with no trouble and did not leave a stain.





          These would be ideal for taking on holiday as they make very little mess and can be used as easily as pens or crayons. The paper is not wrinkled by them as it often does with standard paints.


          These would be great to set up with a easel as the paints do not drip or run down the paper and they dry within minutes. These would be a nice place to start when introducing paint to children with sensory issues or who dislike getting messy.

          We got a little carried away in our testing and thought we would see how good they are on glass. My sister painted this lovely Rainbow on the window in the playroom using them. It dried quickly, the children can not smudge it but it will wipe off easily and could be scratched off with finger nails.


          My only negative point for these is that children do not experience the mixing of colours that you get with standard paints. They do not mix together to make new colours which I think is a shame. Painting is always a very natural way for children to experiment with colours and the mixing of new colours.

          Another good point to these is that they can be left with their lids off, outside and in the sun for quite some time and they still work. They will get a rubbery skin over the top after several hours but if you rub it along the paper this will come off and the paint beneath is fresh and usable!

          I would like to make it clear that I am not being paid to write this review and I want to be completely honest in reviewing them

          I am very pleased to have been given the opportunity to test these out and I would highly recommend them to anyone working with or caring for children. They were enjoyed by our 1 year olds as well as my 12 year old! To be very honest.... the adults had a lot of fun with them too!

          EYR currently have a "Try before you buy" offer on these if you would like to give them a go for yourselves. they also have a Bulk saver offer on to buy 4 packs of 12 sticks for £30.00!

          So a big thumbs up for these, from all the children at Worms Eye View!
          (And the adults too!)




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