Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Jigsaw Play

We went to our local Toddler group today! Once we had helped set up 'M' chose to sit with the jigsaws initially. Spotting a simple shapes one she proceeded to take each shape one at a time, take it out, have a look at it and then put it back in it’s spot.

After she had done this a couple of times with each shape I wanted to challenge her a little more. So I took two pieces out of their spots and placed them on the table next to the board. She easily put them both back in their correct places.

After seeing how easily she managed this she was happy to help me take all 4 shapes out onto the table and then she proceeded to put them back.

We did this a number of times, 'M' seemed to enjoy the challenge. Occasionally she would get a bit stuck on the rectangle or the triangle and after giving her a chance I would say “turn it round a bit” and it would fit back into the correct place. She rarely went to the wrong space with a piece, perhaps already having recognised the colour correlation, she just needed to try it a different way round.

 Characteristics of Effective Learning
'M' is definitely a child who likes a bit of a challenge! She seems to enjoy working things out and seems to notice details that other children may perhaps miss. She persevered in placing the shapes over and over. I mixed and spun the shapes around but 'M' was happy sat for quite some time repeatedly placing the shapes back into their correct spots, not getting frustrated but determined to get it right!

Next Steps

'M' already enjoys playing with my shape sorter I have at home but she just takes the top off! Bit of a cheat! Sit with her to encourage she uses the shapes around the sides. Present her with slightly harder jigsaws, perhaps two or three piece images too.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Three Little Pigs

 An activity day was organised to explore the story of ‘The Three Little Pigs’

We listened to the story during lunch, some of the older ones repeating phrases such as ‘Huff and Puff’ while we encouraged the little ones to try to blow the house down!

We spent some time playing with Play-Doh and the different materials the pigs used to make their houses! 

'E' was able to retell parts of the story remembering the wolf came along to 'Huff and Puff' because he wanted to "eat that piggy"

'H' and 'M' explored sticking the 'building materials' into the dough 'H' saying "oh no!" as the bigger sticks kept falling over. They used some pig and wolf animals to stick into the dough and we looked at the foot prints they made. I used one of the wolfs to re-act parts of the story saying "I'm going to huff and puff and blow your house down!"then we all blew at the buildings and said "gobble gobble gobble" and the wolf ate up a piggy!!

Lastly we made some Pig masks! Mark-making practice on a plate to colour it in pink like a Pig. Then we cut out some eyes and helped put some detailing features on before we all practiced our Piggy snorting!

The older ones obviously understood this quickly and enjoyed colouring in their masks trying to cover up all of the white bits

The younger ones needed a bit of encouragement, but enjoyed taking part in the activities with the older children and lots of snorting and giggling at the end!!

Characteristics of Effective Learning – All children enjoyed listening to the story sitting quietly or joining in with familiar lines. 'H' took his cue from us and the other children to practice blowing the house down, 'M' chose not to take part in this. While sat with Play-Doh the younger children looked around the table to see what the other children were doing and followed their example. They chose different sticks and bricks to stick into the dough, testing which ones stayed stood up and saying ‘oh!’ when the bigger ones fell over.
All the children are familiar with Mark-Making but we were using new paint sticks which the younger ones wanted to scratch at to explore and feel the texture of the paint between their fingers before we then gave them a bit of encouragement to colour in their pig faces

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Duplo Building

'E' pulled out the Duplo blocks today, they have been out for a while but there hadn't been much interest in them until today. After she had tried to force them together a couple of times and announced "I can't do it!" We spoke about how they fit together, I showed her how the lumps need to fit inside the hollow side of another piece. They need to line up square and click together, then she got it and started making some short towers.

A couple of days later the blocks came out again, 'E' has mostly remembered how they go together, I had to remind her just a couple of times to turn one of them over. She announced she wanted to make a really tall tower!
I showed her how to put the bigger pieces at the bottom so it balances better, we made a tower so tall 'E' could hardly reach the top!!

Characteristics of Effective Learning
'E' tried to have a go at first but being a bit tricky she needed a demonstration on how they fit together. After she had learnt how to do it she came up with ideas of what she wanted to do

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Nature Painting

We started the morning talking a walk around the park to collect leaves, sticks and any other natural objects we could find

Throwing some leaves around and watch them flutter to the floor

Picking some good leaves for painting

Beautiful autumn skys

Lets get painting! We demonstrated how to paint one side of a leave and then turn it over to stamp the image on the paper. 'E' picked this up very quickly and made a few good prints!

Mixing some colours together to make autumnal combinations.
'E' also had a go with some sticks, dipping them in the paint and making marks on the paper.

'M' and little 'E' explored the paint and objects with interest. 'M' made some circular prints with acorn caps and 'E' rolled a conker around on the paper leaving painted tracks

Great exploration and she wasn't worried about the mess either!

Characteristics of Effective Learning
'E' joined us after we had done our collecting and just joined in with the painting. She usually enjoys painting greatly but today she wasn't all that interested in the activity and after one quick picture she wanted to go off and play. She understood direction of what we were doing (leave printing) and was able to replicate our demonstration quickly. She extended what had been demonstrated by picking up a stick and dipping it into the paint too.

'M' and Little 'E' explored the paint and objects with interest. Trying different movements with objects and the marks they leave. Little 'E' spent some time running her fingers through the paint, feeling the texture of the paint mixed with some bits of bark.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Lets Go Walking!!

'M’s mobility has been coming along great, here are a few more shots along her journey!

18th June – Creating uneven terrain for 'M' to manage

23rd July – Pulling herself up to stand at every opportunity

26th August – Exploring different levels and climbing opportunities outside

27th August – Standing and taking some steps with minimal assistance

23rd September – SHE’S WALKING!! Fantastic achievement for her, she’s also very quickly mastered getting herself stood up without any assistance. Well done 'M'!!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Water Play and Potions in the Garden

A lovely morning spent in the outside kitchen, some water, a few different sized containers and a bit of bubble mixture. Lots of scooping, pouring and exploring!

'M' demonstrated great pouring skills, seeing the water miss the container to start off with and then she moved her arm to get it going in the right place. Lots of transferring between different cups and jugs over and over, scooping up bubbles and stirring round and round. 

Friday, 4 July 2014

Small World Play

With me today is little ‘X’. He has been with me for a couple of months now and I am fascinated by his *usually* gentle nature and amazing imagination! While the younger girls were having their morning naps 'X' invited me to play with him; "Perhaps you can come play Dinosaurs?" How can you say no to that?!

He began by pulling out the rocks and stacking them up behind the tray and then placing the dinosaurs behind them telling me "They like rocks to hide behind". He then decided the dinosaurs were in danger from the volcano so started throwing the rocks to knock it over.
"Now that girl dinosaur is saved because it hit it off"

"Now they are tired" he tells me laying them each down "This is his bed, this is his bed"
"And that's the end of the story"

He then changed his mind and continued the story with "The next day...now they are eating plants. T-Rex's don't eat plants"
I asked him "oh what do they eat?"
"They eat meat. Not the Diplodocus, that one eats plants"

'X' then moved on to play with another toy for a short while before coming back and picking up a dinosaur again.
"Is this a T-Rex" he asks me holding up a red dinosaur
I replied (rather sheepishly as dinosaurs is not something I am all that knowledgeable on!) "It could be"
X "It has 3 claws; not a T-Rex"
Me "Oh, how many claws does a T-Rex have then?"
X "two, like that one"  Pointing to a smaller figure

He then resumed his small world play. All the smaller dinosaurs had been placed onto a blue Stickle Brick board earlier in the play. As 'X' was moving them off the blue board he told me "When they were in the water they were very sad because they were hungry but mummy and daddy didn't give them any food because they had been naughty. That's what happens when they are naughty, they get no food and they get their TV broken."

At this point I felt 'Xs' attention and interest was dropping in this play so I asked him if he wanted to have some Play-Doh for a little bit before the girls woke up and we had lunch. He asked if he could bring the dinosaurs too, "Of course! The dinosaurs definitely need to come explore the Play-Doh with us!"

We began by rolling out some Play-Doh and looking at the different foot prints the dinosaurs made
 'X' decided to see "How many can fit on there together" as he placed them around fitting in as many as he could
 This one is eating some of the Play-Doh "He is getting his head right in there Heather!!"
 With some of the smaller ones he then started pushing the whole body in sideways telling me "This Stegosaurus has spikes down it's back"

At this point I got up to start putting lunches together for the hungry girls who would surely be waking up soon! As I was pottering around I heard 'X' begin singing to his toys "Oh dinosaurs, my little dinosaurs"

In this short period we can see 'X' is developing or has secured a number of the Early Years Outcome points:
- Focusing attention - still listen or do, but can shift own attention
- Shows understanding of prepositions such as 'under', 'on top' or 'behind'
- Initiates conversations, attends to and takes account of what others say
- Explains own knowledge and understanding, and asks appropriate questions of others
- Suggests how the story might end
- Uses positional language
- Sings to self and makes up simple songs

- Builds up vocabulary that reflects the breadth of their experiences
- Introduces a story line or narrative into their play
- Beginning to be aware of the way stories are structured
- Builds stories around toys

Characteristics of effective learning:

X shows a clear engagement in his play. Showing interest in his Dinosaurs, drawing others in to his play and initiating activities. He is motivated by his own interest, maintaining a high level of focus and interest on his chosen activity. He is playing creatively with his Dinosaurs and then moves on to trying out ideas with the playdough. Thinking critically about how they might all fit on to the dough, making predictions as to how many might fit and changing strategy as needed.