This week is National Walk to School Week when all around the country we encourage people to walk to school. Walking to school has lots of benefits for children and adult's health. It is good exercise so it is good for your heart, and for your fitness level. It is good for the environment because it means less pollution in the air which means the air is cleaner and that is better for everyone's lungs. It's good for the planet too. It's good for mental health and wellbeing too. And there's lots to notice and talk about on a walk to school so it's great for learning as well.
The children have made some wonderful drawings about walking to school this week and we hope to use their drawings and ideas to create a leaflet to promote walking.
Well done if you managed to walk to school this week. If you didn't, try next week instead. It's never too late!
We have hatched chicks from the eggs that came from our local farm. We had to keep the eggs warm in the incubator whilst the baby chicks grew inside. They take 21 days to grow big enough to be ready to hatch. Then they start by 'pipping' using a little tooth on its beak to break a hole in the egg shell. It uses its wing as a guide and its legs to push and it works in a circular motion to create a hole which will eventually be large enough for it to squeeze its legs through! It can take many hours for a chick to hatch and it is hard work! When the chick finally gets out of the shell it is exhausted and it is very wet. Slowly it dries off and its feathers fluff up. It is not long before it is walking around and eating and drinking in the brooder with its friends. The children have learned a lot about caring for living creatures and also about growth and change through this experience. The video shows the process of a chick hatching so you could watch this together and talk about what is happening.
Yesterday many of our families celebrated Eid with their friends and family and today we had a party in school. We shared some delicious food together and then we had time to dance! Sitting down and eating together is a time when children have opportunities to talk and to get to know each other. We are reading the story Samira's Eid this week so children will be learning about the festival and hearing some of the vocabulary. Celebrating and valuing cultural, religious and community events is part of the Early Years curriculum for Understanding the World. We like to encourage children to listen to a range of music and to move and dance to it. This forms part of the Expressive Arts and Design curriculum and also because it involves a range of movements it is part of the Physical Development curriculum too. Here are some of the photos from our party and at the end a link to the Samira's Eid story. Maybe you would like to watch this at home over the weekend.
Many children are fascinated by dinosaurs and we offer opportunities to play with the small world dinosaurs and also to read both fiction and non-fiction books about them. Why not try learning some of the dinosaur names and you can try clapping out the syllables or finding out some facts about them? We created a fantastic indoor sand pit with dinosaurs which the children loved exploring and which encouraged both sensory play and imaginative play. Adults could help children develop stories about dinosaurs and could also help them learn about what they ate and what special features they had. As part of home learning we are adding some fact videos about different dinosaurs so please do watch them together. There are a couple of examples below and you will find more on the Learning at Home Blog posts.
Expressive Arts and Design is one of the seven areas of learning in the Early Years curriculum and we explore it in many different ways and with many different resources. Here the children have worked on a shared piece using a combination of paint and collage using sparkly materials. They had opportunities to make choices - deciding which colours to use and which collage materials to add - and were supported to talk about the materials and to enjoy the effects. Shiny materials are particularly interesting as they reflect the light. At home you could look around and find all the materials in your house that are shiny and sparkly. Have a look in the kitchen, the bathroom and the sitting room. Also look for shiny materials on the way to and from school.
It's important children have the opportunity to make marks about things that are important to them. Then they will be motivated to write. They will understand that their writing is meaningful and that it can be used to tell other people about things that matter to them. Some of the children are starting to learn to write words and here you can see that this child has learned to write mum's name. "mum" is a good word to sound out as well - m - u - m. The picture is also full of detail and look how well it is laid out on the paper. I think there is a balloon with a heart on it and you can see really good control in the way the petals of the flowers are coloured in.
We took part in a Gender Action project earlier this year and we have been thinking about gender stereotyping and how this can limit children. We found that a lot of books have boys as the main characters and we wanted to make sure there are girl main characters as well. So we have created different versions of some of the stories we use. This week, for example, we watched Jill and the Beanstalk as well as Jack and the Beanstalk. Once a week, usually on a Friday, we watch a story or two on the whiteboard together and these videos are also available on the website so you can look at them again at home and talk about them with your child. Please do read books and share stories at home - it makes such a difference to your child's development.
If you click the image below, you can watch this particular video!
Mark making on the floor is a fantastic way to engage children in writing and drawing and can even encourage some children who are reluctant to make marks on paper or to write and draw inside. It lets children work on a big scale and with a different kind of tool - chalk - which can be very satisfying. Children can decide what they want to represent and can respond to the work of others. You can see in these examples that children have thought about their drawings, used the space really well, and added details. This kind of activity is part of the Expressive Arts and Design curriculum. The Early Years Curriculum Guidance has recently been reviewed and there will be a new document in use from September. Most of the things we want the children to learn will stay the same of course. 3 and 4 year olds will be learning to create closed shapes with continuous lines, and begin to use these shapes to represent objects and will draw with increasing complexity and detail. They will also explore different materials freely. You can see all this learning happening in this activity!